The Health Benefits Of Kale

The Health Benefits Of KaleMany people ask, what is kale?  The health benefits of kale are being reported in major outlets, whether the general media or scientific journals.  The light that is currently being shed on kale is that it is one of the most potent health promoting vegetables known to man.  Kale is similar to other nutritional powerhouses, especially cabbage relatives like broccoli.  However, it doesn’t resemble broccoli in appearance, having lovely dark green leaves instead of a miniature tree-like look.  Kale is also a low-glycemic food. If someone is trying to lose weight, then this vegetable should be part of their diet.

Why Kale Should Be In Your Diet?

The health benefits of kale are attributed to sulfur-containing phytonutrients.  These substances, according to research, appear to be able to reduce the occurrence of numerous types of cancers.  The exact mechanism is unclear….but researchers have concluded that such compounds in kale may trigger enzymes in the body that help to counter cancer promoting substances.

Kale, therefore, seems a great addition to any anti-cancer diet.  Its benefits don’t just end there, however.  Kale is also an excellent source of fiber, which is an important consideration for the millions of people who suffer from elevated cholesterol levels and in helping cleanse the colon.  Many people, when they think of sources of calcium, believe dairy products are the best choice.  But the truth of the matter is that dark leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach are better sources of calcium.  Another important consideration is that kale is extremely sparse on calories, has no saturated fat, and does not cause widespread allergic reactions like many diary products do.  In short, with kale, you can obtain your needed calcium without the guilt.

Kale And Calcium?

Absolutely!  The body more readily absorbs calcium from kale than calcium from cow’s milk or spinach, as reported by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Calcium-blocking spinach oxalates should be leached into boiling water and drained before consumption.  In 1939, E. F. Kohman of Campbell’s Soup Company first observed that although spinach increased the total amount of dietary calcium, spinach oxalates blocked absorption.  Kohman noted that calcium from low-oxalate kale, turnip greens, mustard greens and collards was readily absorbed, and to get comparable results from spinach would require supplementing calcium as much as 900 percent.  So If your not into drinking milk, give Kale a try!

Kale And Vitamin K:

Eating a diet rich in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K can reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Vitamin K is abundant in kale but also found in parsley, spinach, collard greens, and animal products such as cheese.

Vitamin K is necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health.

But too much vitamin K can pose problems for some people.  Anyone taking anticoagulants such as warfarin should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K may interfere with the drugs.  Consult your doctor before adding kale to your diet.

Kale might be a powerhouse of nutrients but is also contains oxalates, naturally occurring substances that can interfere with the absorption of calcium.  Avoid eating calcium-rich foods like dairy at the same time as kale to prevent any problems.

The Health Benefits Of KaleHow Is Kale Prepared:

Kale can be eaten raw or cooked.  Some varieties of kale can be quite fibrous when raw so many people prefer to eat this green cooked. Whether raw or cooked, the stiff, slightly woody stem should be removed before consuming.

Raw kale is often added to salads and may utilize an oil based dressing to help soften the ridged leaves.  Raw kale has a slightly bitter flavor, which can be a nice contrast to sweet or nutty flavors like honey ortahini.

Kale can also be steamed, sautéed, boiled, baked, or stir fried.  For a simple side dish, kale can be quickly sautéed with garlic, salt, and pepper until wilted.  Kale is a popular additive to soups and stews because its sturdy leaves hold up well to boiling, it adds a great deal of nutrition, and it adds a pop of color and texture.

In Asia, kale is a common ingredient in vegetable stir fries.  Again, the hearty leaves stand up well to the high temperatures, ensuring that they stay intact and do not wilt away during the cooking process.

In the United States, kale is often combined with other greens such as collard or turnip leaves, and braised for hours with a ham hock until tender.  Kale has also become a popular ingredient in fruit and vegetable smoothies because it offers a lot of fiber and nutrients. Baking kale until it forms a crisp “chip” has become a popular healthy potato chip alternative.

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Category: Diet, Healthy Foods

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Originally born and raised in Woburn Massachusetts (love my Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins!) I made my trek northward to the beautiful state of Maine back in October 2003 after marrying my college sweetheart. We began a family in 2004 and I am happy to say that we have 4 happy, healthy, beautiful children that bring an amazing amount of joy to our lives! I am also a type 1 diabetic. Diagnosed back in 2006 (out of the blue), at a routine doctors visit. Diabetes has single handed-ly been the biggest obstacle that I have faced in my life. At the time I had no idea of what a roller coaster ride I would be in for, I mean really, what's a couple finger sticks a day and a couple shots of insulin for food...this will be easy, I got this! Well 2 ER visits later, I quickly found out that this was no joke, and if I wanted to see my little ones grow up, this was something that I needed to take seriously! Little by little as we began to digest all of the information that was being thrown at acting insulin, short acting insulin, lancets, test meters, test strips, ketone sticks, carb counting, food groups, glucagon emergency kits, insulin pumps, glucose monitors...OMG, my head was spinning like a top!! After a couple of crazy years, I can happily say that I am well controlled and feel absolutely amazing! Not to be lost in all of this either is the amazing support of my wife. She has been my rock! She has been with me every step of the way, from 2am finger sticks to helping me change out a failed pump in the middle of a crowded restaurant. She truly is an amazing wife and mom and I can't imaging my life without her love and support- love you babe!

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