Home / friendly / plants / vegetables / leafy / Is Napa Cabbage Keto-Friendly?

Is Napa Cabbage Keto-Friendly?

Napa Cabbage on a kitchen counter

Embarking on a ketogenic journey often comes with a basket-load of questions, especially regarding which foods align with this low-carb, high-fat eating approach.

Among the cornucopia of vegetables available, one question that frequently arises is, 'Is Napa Cabbage Keto-Friendly?' Well, strap in, as we are about to unveil an exploration into the nutritional landscape of Napa cabbage within the context of a ketogenic diet.


  • Yes, Napa Cabbage is indeed compatible with a ketogenic diet due to its low carb content and nutrient-rich profile.
  • Napa Cabbage is not only keto-friendly but also provides an array of nutrients, aiding hydration and digestive health, and supplying essential vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Discover unique and delicious keto recipe ideas featuring this versatile green.

Is Napa Cabbage Keto-Friendly?

Napa cabbage is indeed compatible with the ketogenic, or 'keto', diet. The ketogenic diet is characterized by high intake of fats, moderate proteins, and very low carbohydrates. Fundamentally, this diet aims to shift the body's metabolism from using glucose as fuel to utilizing stored fats; a state termed as ketosis.

When it comes to Napa cabbage, it's one of the cruciferous vegetables boasting low carbohydrate content. In one cup of raw, chopped Napa cabbage, which is about 109 grams, there are around 2 grams of total carbohydrates. Out of this, approximately 1 gram is dietary fiber, effectively bringing down the 'net' carbohydrate count to just 1 gram per serving. 'Net carbs' is a term often used in the context of ketogenic diets, which refers to the total carbohydrate content minus the fiber content. Since fiber is a type of carbohydrate the body doesn't digest, it's subtracted when calculating overall carbohydrate consumption.

Adding to this, Napa cabbage also holds a modest amount of protein (about 1.2 grams per cup) and a minuscule amount of fat (around 0.2 grams per cup), which complements the nutritional requirements of a ketogenic diet.

However, it's important to note the nutritional specifics of other ingredients in your meal or recipe, as they can cumulatively contribute towards your daily recommended carbohydrate intake. In a ketogenic diet, the carbohydrate intake is typically restricted to about 20-50 grams per day.

Can Napa Cabbage be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

Yes, incorporating Napa cabbage into a strict ketogenic diet is plausible and can be managed effectively with careful planning and monitoring. On a tighter ketogenic framework, the carbohydrate consumption can fall to as low as 20 grams per day. It's here where the low net carbohydrate content of Napa cabbage - 1 gram per serving - becomes of significant advantage. This makes Napa cabbage a desirable ingredient for adding volume and nutritional value to meals while keeping carbohydrate intake in check.

As with any dietary regime, portion control plays a critical role. Despite being low in carbohydrates, consuming exceptionally large quantities of Napa cabbage could potentially push the carbohydrate intake beyond the daily allowance. Therefore, it's essential to keep track of the quantity consumed and balance it with other food items part of the menu, especially when following a strict keto diet. Also, one must not neglect that carbs will be nullifying from other foods, so a careful composition of meals is required to stay below the strict carbohydrate limits.

Moreover, to simplify adherence to a strict keto diet when incorporating Napa cabbage and other vegetables, it might be beneficial to use digital tools or mobile applications designed for tracking carb consumption. These tools can help monitor and calculate 'net carbs', assist in managing portion sizes, and provide a comprehensive view of daily nutrient intake. Apps such as MyFitnessPal, Carb Manager, and FatSecret offer such capabilities and can play a pivotal role in planning a ketogenic dietary regime.

Incorporating Napa cabbage into a strict keto diet is possible and can contribute towards reaching nutritional goals, provided the overall intake of carbs remains within permissible limits. The key lies in maintaining a balance, tracking intake, and employing portion control.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a low carbohydrate vegetable, making it an appealing choice for those following a ketogenic diet. To understand this in detail, let's delve deeper into its carbohydrate content.

In a typical serving of Napa cabbage, which is about 1 cup of raw, chopped cabbage (approximately 109 grams), there are roughly 2 grams of total carbohydrates. However, the figure to focus on here for ketogenic diet followers is the 'net carbs'. Net carbs are essentially the carbohydrates that your body can digest and convert into glucose, which then impacts your blood sugar levels.

To compute net carbs, you deduct the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrates. Fiber, a type of carbohydrate, passes through the body without being digested or affecting blood sugar levels, thereby not interrupting the process of ketosis. With approximately 1 gram of fiber in the same 1-cup serving of Napa cabbage, it effectively brings the net carbs down to just 1 gram per serving.

The importance of 'net carbs' cannot be overemphasized for those on a keto diet. When following this dietary practice, individuals try to limit their carbohydrate intake considerably to coax their body into a metabolic state called ketosis, where fat is burned for energy instead of glucose. People on a ketogenic diet usually aim for a limit of around 20-50 grams of net carbs per day, although this number can vary based on various factors such as age, sex, activity level, and individual metabolic health.

Now, to give a real-world example, let's imagine you are preparing a salad using 2 cups of chopped Napa cabbage. This amount of Napa cabbage would yield approximately 2 grams of net carbohydrates. This is a relatively insignificant portion of your overall net carbohydrate budget, highlighting how easily Napa cabbage can fit into a ketogenic eating pattern.

Nutritional Snapshot of Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage provides a host of nutrients in a low-calorie package, making it a versatile ingredient for those pursuing health-conscious dietary practices. According to the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system, a 100g sample of Napa cabbage houses an array of both macro and micronutrients.

Beginning with the macronutrients, Napa Cabbage is predominantly composed of water (92.18g per 100g) which lends to its low-calorie profile of just 25.0 kcal. It contains modest amounts of protein (1.28g), a low level of total fats (0.1g), and a very low amount of carbohydrates with 2.5g of total dietary fiber. The fiber content bolsters digestion and contributes towards feeling fuller, without adding to the net carbohydrate tally significantly - an attribute particularly beneficial for keto-diet followers.

In terms of micronutrients, Napa cabbage is particularly high in Vitamin C (36.6mg) and Vitamin K1 (76ug), both of which play numerous roles in ensuring bodily functions run smoothly. Vitamin C aids in maintaining skin health, wound healing and supports the immune system, whereas Vitamin K1 is crucial for blood clotting and bone health.

Also noteworthy is the presence of Folate (43ug), Calcium (40mg), and Potassium (170mg). Folate, or Vitamin B9, supports cellular function and tissue growth. Calcium is crucial for bone health and cell function, and Potassium aids in muscle functioning and maintaining the balance of body fluids.

Furthermore, the cabbage also provides a spectrum of amino acids, such as Leucine, Lysine, and Valine, which are essential building blocks of protein and have crucial roles in supporting the body's growth and repair mechanisms.

Of particular interest is the presence of compounds like Beta-carotene and Lutein + zeaxanthin. Beta-carotene is used by our body to make Vitamin A, necessary for immune function and good vision. The combination of Lutein and Zeaxanthin might aid in eye health.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Threonine 0.035 g
Total fats 0.1 g
Isoleucine 0.03 g
Methionine 0.012 g
Leucine 0.041 g
Water 92.18 g
Histidine 0.022 g
Lysine 0.044 g
Tyrosine 0.019 g
Calories 25.0 kcal
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.034 g
Cystine 0.011 g
Glutamic acid 0.294 g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.017 g
Protein 1.28 g
Tryptophan 0.011 g
Valine 0.042 g
Aspartic acid 0.122 g
Phenylalanine 0.032 g
Arginine 0.075 g
Glycine 0.03 g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.017 g
Serine 0.053 g
Alanine 0.042 g
Proline 0.048 g
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 36.6 mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.15 mg
Vitamin A 5.0 ug
Copper, Cu 0.019 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.212 mg
Thiamin 0.061 mg
Phosphorus, P 26.0 mg
Selenium, Se 0.3 ug
Vitamin K1 76.0 ug
Choline, total 10.7 mg
Magnesium, Mg 12.0 mg
Potassium, K 170.0 mg
Folate, total 43.0 ug
Zinc, Zn 0.18 mg
Calcium, Ca 40.0 mg
Vitamin B-6 0.124 mg
Riboflavin 0.04 mg
Iron, Fe 0.47 mg
Niacin 0.234 mg
Manganese, Mn 0.16 mg
Beta-carotene 42.0 ug
Betaine 0.4 mg
Lutein + zeaxanthin 30.0 ug
Sodium, Na 18.0 mg
Fluoride, F 1.0 ug
Fiber, total dietary 2.5 g
Nutritional data is sourced from the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system. Please see Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards for more information.

Health Implications of Napa Cabbage on a Keto Diet

Napa cabbage, also known scientifically as Brassica rapa pekinensis, is an enriching component of a ketogenic diet due to its unique nutritional profile and potential health benefits. Not only is this leafy green vegetable low in carbohydrates - a critical factor in maintaining ketosis - but it also houses a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and health-enhancing compounds.

The potential health benefits of consuming Napa cabbage on a keto diet are numerous. Firstly, Napa cabbage possesses a high water content, promoting hydration, an essential aspect of overall health, particularly under a diet that may induce diuresis like the ketogenic diet. It is also worth noting that Napa cabbage is high in dietary fiber, which aids in improving digestive health and has been associated with a reduced risk of certain chronic diseases, including heart disease and some forms of cancer.

The nutrient-dense nature of Napa cabbage, rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and folate can contribute to overall wellness, as these nutrients are essential for body system functions. Most specifically, Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect the body against oxidative stress, Vitamin K plays a crucial role in blood clotting and maintaining bone health, and folate supports cell and DNA synthesis.

Napa cabbage’s rich nutrient content aligns with the health benefits observed in a ketogenic diet. While a ketogenic diet is traditionally high in fats and low in carbohydrates, it does not mandate a scarcity of micronutrients. Consuming nutrient-dense low-carb foods such as Napa cabbage, allows those on a keto diet to maintain this delicate balance, enjoying the benefits of ketosis while ensuring they get the required vitamins and minerals for optimal health.

Additionally, Napa cabbage contains phytochemicals such as sulforaphane and indoles, which have been researched for their potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. While inflammation is a natural healing process, chronic inflammation can lead to various health problems. Consuming Napa cabbage may help mitigate this risk, supplementing the anti-inflammatory properties of a ketogenic diet.

In summary, Napa cabbage's unique nutritional profile makes it a beneficial addition to a ketogenic diet. While it dovetails with the fundamental principles of the diet, it also bridges the gap by improving nutrient consumption without sacrificing carbohydrate restrictions. Like all aspects of health and wellness, it's important to remember that balance is key - and the addition of Napa cabbage to a ketogenic diet may assist in achieving this balance. Although it does not directly affect weight loss, it plays a vital role in maintaining overall wellbeing while on such a dietary regimen.

Artfully Incorporating Napa Cabbage into Your Keto Meal Plan

Integrating Napa cabbage into a ketogenic meal plan can be both a delightful culinary adventure and a stride towards healthful eating. This versatile green can be incorporated into a variety of recipes, offering up unique flavors while abiding by the principles of a low-carb diet like keto.

As you venture into incorporating Napa cabbage into your keto diet, remember that variety and portion control play pivotal roles in maintaining a balanced meal plan. Even as Napa cabbage offers a bouquet of nutrients, it's important to pair it with other keto-friendly foods for a well-rounded diet.

Let's now delve into some practical tips, methods, and recipe ideas for adding Napa cabbage to your keto-friendly diet.

  1. Napa Cabbage Stir Fry: Stir fry is an uncomplicated and flavorful way to incorporate Napa cabbage into your diet. For a keto-friendly spin, sauté Napa cabbage in a pan with other low-carb vegetables like broccoli and bell peppers, toss it with some olive oil or avocado oil, and season it with your favorite herbs. Remember to maintain portion control.
  2. Hearty Cabbage Soup: A comforting option for colder days, a hearty cabbage soup can be easily made keto-friendly. Start with a bone broth or a vegetable stock, add in chopped Napa cabbage, and other low-carb vegetables of choice. Season with pink Himalayan salt, freshly ground pepper, and herbs. Serve it hot and savor the nourishment.
  3. Cabbage Salad: A refreshing and crunchy Napa cabbage salad is another simple yet delectable option. Mix in raw, thinly sliced Napa cabbage with a medley of other suitable low-carb veggies like cucumbers, radishes, and a dressing made of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and herbs. Top it off with some seeds or slivered almonds for that extra crunch.
  4. Napa Cabbage Wraps: An excellent low-carb alternative to corn or flour tortillas is Napa cabbage leaves. You can use them as wraps to hold your meats, fish, or grilled veggies. Add a dollop of guacamole, some freshly chopped jalapenos, and cilantro for an amazing keto-friendly version of traditional tacos.

When experimenting with these recipes, strike a balance between Napa cabbage and other low-carb foods to maintain dietary diversity. Balance is a cornerstone in any diet plan, including keto. These ideas should provide a starting point, but remember, the realm of nutritious culinary creativity is boundless. Napa cabbage is a multi-faceted ingredient that can be integrated into numerous keto-friendly dishes, all while contributing to your well-being. It's time to enjoy the journey!

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Napa Cabbage

While Napa cabbage holds a unique place in a keto meal plan due to its nutritional profile and taste, there might be instances where you'll seek alternatives. These can be due to personal preference or availability. Here are a few keto-compatible substitutes for Napa Cabbage you could consider, each offering their distinctive attributes.

  1. Bok Choy: This Asian leafy green brings a crispy texture and mild flavor similar to Napa cabbage. It's an excellent low-carb alternative, rich in vitamins A, C, K and essential minerals. You can stir-fry, steam, or sauté Bok Choy, making it a flexible substitute in a keto dish. For instance, you can replace Napa cabbage in the stir-fry recipe mentioned earlier with bok choy.
  2. Kale: Touted as a superfood, kale has more fiber and protein in comparison to Napa cabbage. It's also rich in vitamins A, K, C, and B6, and pairs well in soups, salads, or even as kale chips for a healthy crunchy snack. Try swapping Napa cabbage with kale in the hearty soup recipe for an equally nourishing meal.
  3. Spinach: A nutritious powerhouse, spinach is high in vitamins A, C, K1, and folic acid, besides being a good source of iron and calcium. Additionally, it is significantly higher in potassium. This verdant leafy vegetable is fantastic as a salad base, sautéed, used in a frittata, or added to a smoothie. Instead of using Napa cabbage wraps, you can substitute with spinach leaves for a keto-friendly wrap filled with your favorite proteins and veggies.
  4. Romaine lettuce: Crisp, watery, and subtly sweet, romaine lettuce is another low-carb choice. Its sturdy leaves can be used similarly to Napa cabbage in wraps or chopped for salads. Romaine lettuce, while not as nutrient-dense as other substitutes, still offers a decent amount of folate, vitamin A, and potassium.
  5. Collard Greens: Collard greens are thick, slightly bitter, and packed with fiber, making them an exceptional low-carb option. The nutritionally dense green is high in vitamins A, C, K, B6, and calcium. They can be cooked into stews or used as a wrap substitute.

By choosing any of these Napa cabbage alternatives, you can still maintain the low carbohydrate requirement of a ketogenic diet, enjoy different flavors and textures, and receive a variety of vitamins and minerals. Remember to consider your personal dietary needs, preferences, and the specifics of the recipe when choosing a substitute. It's also essential to acknowledge that each of these green vegetables, while similar, does have its unique nutritional profile and may impact your meal plan differently.

Concluding Thoughts on Napa Cabbage and Keto

Navigating a keto-friendly diet journey with Napa cabbage lends itself to both exciting culinary exploration and the pursuit of good health. The amalgamation of Napa cabbage's low carbohydrate content, high density of beneficial nutrients and vitamins, along with its hydration and fiber content, wraps up well into a keto-supportive food choice.

These attributes, linked with the potential health benefits tied to the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, help to spotlight the richness of the Napa cabbage's potential, making it an intriguing addition to a ketogenic diet framework.

The versatility of Napa cabbage also opens doors to a range of culinary creativity, from being the star in stir-fries and soups to playing the humble, crunchy hero in fresh salads and wraps. The aforementioned replacements for Napa cabbage - Bok Choy, Kale, Spinach, Romaine Lettuce, and Collard Greens - reinforce that the keto dietary landscape is indeed vast, varied, and nutritious.

Now, a unique idea to consider - fermentation. Napa cabbage, when fermented - as in traditional Korean kimchi - can introduce a different flavor profile and augment your gut health, as it turns into a reservoir of probiotics. The tangy and spicy kimchi can be used as a side dish or worked into other low-carb recipes to extend your culinary repertory and take your keto diet experience up a notch.

As it's been emphasized, balance is key in any diet plan, including keto. Hence, Napa cabbage could be a remarkable resource to help strike a harmony between the staples of a high-fat, low-carb diet and the vital micronutrients the body requires for overall health.

Explore our Is It Keto Knowledge Hub.

Are Collard Greens Keto-Friendly
Is Gai Lan Keto-Friendly
Is Rapini Keto-Friendly
Is Wild Cabbage Keto-Friendly
Are Leafy Keto Friendly

Cast Iron Keto's Editorial and Research Standards

Certain rare or exotic food items may not have nutritional profiles in the FoodData Central database. If an exact match is not found in the FoodData Central database, then, the Cast Iron Keto team utilizes a three-prong approach to provide readers with the closest relevant nutritional data, where possible.

First, in the event that nutritional profiles for a rare or exotic food item is not available in the FoodData Central database, we investigate alternative names for that particular food item and use that data, when possible. Second, in cases where no alternate names exist, Cast Iron Keto will use nutritional data for a close relative or similar food item. Finally, if no close relatives or similar items exist, we refrain from publishing nutrient data tables.

When making dietary or health decisions based on FoodData Central's data, we suggest readers consult with a nutritionist or other health experts, particularly if the food in question has a significant role in your diet or if you are using the food item to treat any health disorder(s).

Furthermore, it is important to note that even if a close relative or similar item is used to approximate the nutritional data, different food items can have varying levels of nutrients due to factors such as soil quality, farming practices, and regional differences.


The information on this website is only intended to be general summary information for public use, designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. This information does not replace written law or regulations, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions about a medical condition or are seeking to evaluate the health merits of certain food items for the treatment of any medical condition, you should seek the advice of a doctor or other qualified health professionals.

The views expressed at, or through, Cast Iron Keto are for informational purposes only. Cast Iron Keto cannot guarantee the validity of the information found here. While we use reasonable efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information, we make no warranties as to the accuracy of the content and assume no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this website are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided "as is;" no representations are made that the content is error-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Napa Cabbage is low in carbohydrates and can be a good addition to a ketogenic diet. It contains about 3g of carbs per 100g, most of it is fiber leading to even fewer net carbs.

Napa Cabbage is a rich source of vitamins K and C, and also carries a healthy dose of folate and Vitamin B6, magnesium, and manganese. These nutrients are beneficial for overall health while following a ketogenic diet.

Napa Cabbage has notably lower carbohydrate content compared to many vegetables. For example, potatoes contain approximately 17g of carbs per 100g, which is significantly higher.

Napa Cabbage doesn’t have significant variations that would affect the carbohydrate content in ways that you'd have to consider for a ketogenic diet. Whether a cabbage is organic, conventional, or is grown in different regions, the carb content remains similar.