So, kale is one of my favorite superfoods, and I try to consume a fair amount on a daily basis. Kale has many benefits including:
- Digestion - One cup of kale contains 20% of the RDA for dietary fiber (good for me because I don’t have an appendix), which promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar, and curbs over eating. Kale contains a chemical called glucosinolate ITC which inhibits the formation of Heliobacter pylori, a bacterial growth in the stomach lining that can lead to gastric cancer. Once you begin eating kale on a regular basis, you will probably notice very positive changes in your morning constitution – yes, you’ll produce bowel movements you can be very proud of! Please don’t post pictures on Facebook.
- Antioxidants – Kale is loaded with antioxidants including carotenoids and flavonoids. These guys protect you from free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Actually, more than 45 flavonoids have been found in kale. Other antioxidants include: vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese. Kale keeps your cells from oxidizing (rusting).
- Anti-inflammatory - Kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids. Other sources include fish oil and flax. Most of us can’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids. They help regulate inflammation in the body. Inflammation is like heating your home with a wood-burning stove – in the proper amount, fire is good. If it gets out of control and your house begins to burn, it’s devastating. Omega-3 fatty acids act to keep the inflammation under control, like the wood-burning stove. Vitamin K also works to reduce inflammation helping with conditions such as arthritis, asthma, and auto-immune disorders.
- Cancer – Properties in kale have been shown to prevent colon, breast, bladder, prostate, ovarian, and stomach cancers. Thank you, kale, I’ll eat you every day!
- Cardiovascular and Cholesterol Support - Kale is very high in fiber, and that fiber binds with bile acids that the liver produces from cholesterol for digesting fat. Because many of the bile acids are coupled with fiber, the liver is charged with producing more bile acid to digest fat, and therefore requires more cholesterol to do so. Ultimately, cholesterol is lowered in the body.
- Detoxification – Properties of kale have been shown to aid in both Phase I (collecting the garbage) and Phase II (eliminating the garbage) of the body’s natural detoxification processes. Kale is also high in sulfur which has been shown to be essential for Phase II of detoxification.
- Vitamin K - One cup of kale provides 1327% of the RDA of vitamin K, which is necessary for creating a protein that strengthens bones. Vitamin K also prevents calcium build-up in our tissues that can lead to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Those are worth preventing, eh? As if that’s not good enough, vitamin K is essential for synthesizing a lipid that is needed to create the sheath around nerves.
- Vitamin A – One cup of kale provides 192% of the RDA of vitamin A. Kale is an excellent antioxidant, boosts immunity, maintains healthy bones and teeth, prevents urinary stones, and is essential for reproductive organs.
- Vitamin C - One cup of kale provides 88% of the RDA for vitamin C. vitamin C helps to lower blood pressure, ensures a healthy immune system, and fights age-related conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
So there you have it, there you are. Kale, it’s cheap, and loaded with health benefits. The trick is finding ways to eat it. I find that kale chips and kale shakes are the best ways. My friend, Barb, makes a great kale salad. Kale chips and shakes are easy, tasty, and a great part of a healthy diet