You’ve probably noticed those frilly green leaves on your plate and at the salad bar. You’ll be surprised to know they are not merely adornment, but the superfood kale. You can — and should –eat it, as few people realize. This vegetable is a superfood packed with nutrition, and it is very tasty and edible if prepared correctly.
So why all the fuss about kale? Pay attention now…
There is a plant family in which each member contains sulphur, be it collard greens, cabbage, broccoli or brussels sprouts. The rich supply of vitamins and minerals in kale helps you protect your health, and may work to prevent cancer.
Ovarian cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer are the forms of the disease these superfood vegetables are most effective against (1), with the ten to fifteen organosulfur compounds they are rich in.
There are enzymes in the liver which have been shown to disable agents in the body which can cause cancer, and the production of these enzymes is triggered by chewing or eating chopped kale. Researchers have found that tumors shrank in animals that ate the sulphuric compounds contained in collard greens, brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
Kale also contains zeaxanthin, lutein, and carotenoids which protect the eyes (2), another benefit offered by this organosulfur-rich vegetable which also guards against cancer. Eye health can be adversely affected by ultraviolet light and sun damage and in addition to helping protect them from these environmental factors, these phytochemicals also prevent cataracts. Risk for cataracts dropped by an amazing 50% for those people who included a lot of carotenoids in their diet.
And that’s not all kale offers, as it contains huge amounts of potassium, copper, calcium, manganese, as well as vitamins A, C, and B6 (3).
You can’t get too much vitamin A from a plant source, and kale provides a whopping 192% of this important daily need while containing only 36 calories per cup.
Your vitamin C needs are also provided by that one cup of kale, almost 90% of them. Damage is prevented both inside and outside of your cells by this super free-radical scavenger. The skin’s collagen, which makes us look younger, is renewed by vitamin C with other benefits including fighting infection, oxidizing cholesterol, and reducing damaging inflammation, a big cause of autoimmune diseases and heart disease.
Your nervous system and sex hormones need fatty acids, which are are helped to synthesize by the trace mineral manganese. Manganese is also the ideal element to burn fat as it helps in utilizing and metabolizing energy from your diet.
Even osteoporosis can be reversed and bones strengthened as the calcium in kale combines with vitamins A and K2 for a healthy boost (4). Clean blood vessels and strong teeth and bones are among its many benefits.
Kale is in low calorie and high water, so it’s a low energy density food. As per study (5) eating food with low energy density affects long-term weight loss. So it helps in weight loss.
The mental decline that comes as we grow older can be effectively slowed by just eating dark green leafy vegetables three times a day. An astounding 40% of this decline can be helped to slow just by eating kale and other dark green leafy vegetables. It is not at all unlike a five year reversal in age. Who wouldn’t want to increase their intake of these vegetables if they could function as if 5 years younger?
As if this wasn’t enough, there’s more good news about kale… Lower the liver’s secretion of the chemical which distributes the bad kind of cholesterol throughout your body with the phytochemical indole-3-carbinol (13C) found in kale. That stubborn, hard to lose belly fat can be fought with 13C, it’s been shown in studies. Abdominal fat can also be fought by ingesting other cruciferous vegetables.
When you shop for kale, look for firm stocks, curly leaves and a dark blue-green color. You don’t want to buy it if it’s wilted or limp-looking. The smaller the kale leaf, the milder and better the flavor.
Make your mouth water with a salad in which you’ve chopped up raw kale and sauteed it with butter, olive oil, garlic and lemon. Chop up tart apples and braise them with kale for a real treat. Or how about topping with a bit of balsamic vinegar and walnuts?
Ironically enough, the nutritional powerhouse of kale usually decorates our meal when it is probably much better for us than any of the other food on the plate — so eat it!