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A leafy cabbage as a part of the Mediterranean diet from ancient times

The Mediterranean diet includes all types of cabbage. And on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, the most ancient type of cabbage is used - this is the "wild" leafy cabbage, called rashtan. As everyone well understands, the original wild plant, created by God and nature, contains a maximum of beneficial substances for health, in contrast to those artificially bred for the sake of commercial results. Therefore, here we describe rashtan - the best holder for the content of vitamin C and calcium among plants. And when you come to Montenegro, especially Herceg Novi, ask about rashtan and enjoy a variety of rashtan dishes. If anything, ask us, we will suggest a restaurant where they will cook.

The powerful plant rashtan is one of the best sources of calcium, a mineral necessary for health, especially for the elderly, pregnant women and children.

Few people really know about the benefits of rashtan, and there are certainly many who have never even heard of this vegetable, let alone tried it. Nevertheless, we are talking, without exaggeration, about one of the healthiest plants on the planet, which was also valued by ancient peoples. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks considered rashtan sacred, attributing to it various miraculous powers, because of its medicinal properties, as well as its specific taste.

Why is rashtan so healthy?

Rashtan or rashtika is a perennial plant with bluish-green leaves, which is eaten throughout the winter and in early spring, while during the summer it becomes tough and its taste loses its intensity. It has a low caloric value, only 27 kcal per 100 g, but it is rich in potassium, calcium, beta-carotene, lutein, vitamins C, B1, B2, B9, it is an excellent source of dietary fiber, as well as substances with powerful anti-cancer effects, such as diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and selenium. It is interesting that sulforaphane is formed only when chopping the rashtan or during chewing, in the places where the plant is cut, and it is recommended to cut the rashtan ten minutes before cooking. It is believed that people who regularly eat this and other vegetables from the cabbage family are exposed to a much lower risk of lung, colon, bladder, prostate, breast cancer...

As you can see, rashtan has been an integral part of the Mediterranean diet since ancient times.

Rashtan is rich in vitamin A and zinc, which have a positive effect on strengthening immunity, while vitamin C, which it is also rich in, strengthens immunity, prevents cell damage and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis. Manganese activates enzymes, among others, and one that helps the body use vitamin C. Due to its strong cellular structure, this plant has more nutritional value when cooked than when it is raw, unlike most other vegetables. The juice obtained by squeezing fresh leaves and stems is popularly known as a remedy for gout, bronchitis and circulation problems.

Rashtan is an excellent source of calcium

Rashtan is one of the best sources of calcium, a mineral necessary for bone and muscles health, so regular consumption of this plant can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a disease that involves a decrease in bone density and increases the risk of fractures, especially in menopausal women.

In addition to being rich in calcium, which is very important for both mother and child during pregnancy, rashtan also contains folic acid, which is especially important in the first trimester of pregnancy. Namely, this nutrient participates in numerous processes in the body, and is especially important during pregnancy, because it participates in the formation of the fetal neural tube.

For eye health

Vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin, which the rashtan plant contains, are known as protectors of the eyes against damage caused by free radicals, while rashtan carotenoids prevent the development of cataracts.

For heart health and blood pressure regulation

Since the Mediterranean diet is aimed at maintaining health, rashtan must be included in the Mediterranean diet for its properties. Experts advise people with hypertension to necessarily include rashtan in their diet, since it has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. It is rich in vitamin B6, which lowers the level of homocysteine, an amino acid whose high levels in the blood can increase the risk of heart disease and damage bone structure.

Against ovarian cancer

Rashtan is rich in the flavonoid maempferol, and research has shown that women who consume enough of this ingredient are exposed to a 40% lower risk of ovarian cancer. Apart from rashtan, maempferol is also found in broccoli, spinach, leeks (also included in the Mediterranean diet), green tea and blueberries.

How rashtan is prepared

For the easy Mediterranean diet recipes, only the leaves of rashtan are used, which are best cooked in steam or in water, but they should not be overcooked, so that they do not become bitter and lose nutrients. Make sure that its leaves are firm, intense green, never yellow or brown. It should be boiled for only five to ten minutes and seasoned with olive oil, sea salt and lemon juice, garlic and, if desired, pepper. It goes well with potatoes, and housewives often prepare it with dried meat.

So, here is one of the mediterranean diet recipes:

Lenten sarmica with rashtan (raštan)

They say that whenever the slave owners had rashtan on their table, the slaves who prepared it drank the water in which the rashtan was cooked, and were healthier than the slave owners.

Be that as it may, rashtan is known for its exceptional nutritional value and significant amount of vitamins and minerals.

Here is a simple recipe that will make our stomachs happy.


20 leaves of rashtan

1 stalk of leek

1 carrot

1 cup of rice

half a glass of white wine




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Wash the rashtan, remove the hard part from each leave with a knife and blanch it. Leave the water from cooking the rashtan to the side.


Wash leek and carrot and finely chop. Sauté them in a little oil. Then add the washed rice and stir-fry for a few more minutes. Season with salt, pepper, add finely chopped parsley and remove from heat.


Fill each sheet of rashtan with a full spoonful of filling and twist it into a roll. Arrange in a greased fireproof bowl. Mix half a glass of white wine with a glass of water from cooking the rashtan and pour it over the sarmica (rolls). There should be enough liquid to soak the rolls.


Cover with the refractory lid and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for about half an hour. Towards the end of baking, remove the lid and leave the rolls in the oven for another five minutes to brown nicely.


You can also fill these rolls with minced meat and serve them with sour milk. We chose the lean version, with a nice salad.


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