Corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day may serve up some nutritious benefits


St. Patrick’s Day holiday menus often include the traditional corned beef and cabbage meal. Despite the calories and fat content, some nutritional experts say there may be certain health benefits to this savory dish.

“With any special meal and holiday such as St. Patrick’s Day, we should not deny ourselves these delicious meals,” Karina Chiddo, a registered dietician and pediatric nutritionist with Cohen Children’s Medical Center at Northwell Health on Long Island, New York, told Fox News Digital. 

We should be mindful that special meals can be a part of a healthy lifestyle when eaten in moderation,” she said.

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The cornerstone of the traditional meal — which is a nod to Irish heritage — is corned beef, which is a cut of meat cured with salt, much like brisket. 

It is typically served with cabbage on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day holiday menus often include the traditional corned beef and cabbage meal. (iStock)

“Cabbage has some great benefits as an affordable vegetable,” Chiddo pointed out. 

“It is a good source of vitamin C, manganese and folic acid, and is great for phytonutrients and antioxidants.”

Those antioxidants can help to reduce the inflammation that is linked to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases, she added.

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Red cabbage can also raise levels of heart-protective antioxidants and has other benefits, according to Chiddo.

“Cabbage can be beneficial for our gut, especially when it’s fermented as kimchi or sauerkraut,” she said.

Corned beef can be a great source of protein, zinc and B vitamins — although it’s important to watch your portions, Chiddo advised.  

corned beef cabbage potatoes

A festive St. Patrick’s Day dinner of lean corned beef with cabbage, carrots, and baby Yukon Gold potatoes, garnished with a shamrock made of baby spinach leaves. The serving size for corned beef is about 3 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards, a nutritionist said. (iStock)

“Be mindful that the serving size is about 3 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards,” she said.

“Like any animal protein, it can be high in saturated fats.”

Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic Center for Human Nutrition, commented on this Irish tradition as well. 

She said cabbage is high in vitamin C, vitamin K, polyphenols and sulfur compounds, while corned beef is a source of vitamin B12, iron, selenium and protein.

How to make corned beef and cabbage healthier

The traditional corned beef and cabbage served on St. Patrick’s Day can be high in saturated fat and sodium, Zumpano noted, but there are ways to reduce those levels and make the meal healthier.

“If you’re preparing the meal, choose a lean cut of beef and trim all fat, limit the amount of sodium added, and include additional vegetables, such as carrots and parsnips,” she told Fox News Digital.

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Cabbage may contain high amounts of sodium as well as saturated fat from butter or meat drippings because of the way it is prepared in a traditional St. Patrick’s Day feast, Zumpano warned, adding the suggestion to limit portion sizes.

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In general, health experts recommend limiting consumption of red meat and processed meat due to its association with a higher risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, according to a report on the American Heart Association website.

corned beef cabbage veggies

“If you are preparing the meal, choose a lean cut of beef and trim all fat, limit the amount of sodium added, and include additional vegetables, such as carrots and parsnips,” a nutritionist advised. (iStock)

“The major nutritional drawback of corned beef and cabbage is the amount of salt in contains,” Laura Feldman, a registered dietitian nutritionist and an assistant professor of nutrition at Long Island University in Brookville, New York, told Fox News Digital.

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“A person who is affected by salt would be advised to keep portions small. However, if you follow a generally healthy diet, the impact of one holiday meal should be minimal.”

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.





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