Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It contains many plant compounds with medicinal benefits. Like blueberries and spinach, kale contains many essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Its high nutrient values packaged with low calories and anti-cancer chemicals makes it the “King of Super Greens.”
A single cup of raw kale offers only 33 calories while providing 6 grams of carbs (including 2 carbs from lush prebiotic fiber that feeds the probiotics in the gut lining), and 3 grams of protein. For those with diabetes, it has a low glycemic index and is low in glycemic load.
Here are five reasons you should add kale to your diet:
- Kale provides many vitamins and minerals for our bodies. It is a rich source of vitamin C containing 4.5 times more than spinach and one cup provides 10 times more than the Daily Value (DV), 2 times the DV of vitamin A, and 7 times the DV of vitamin K. It also provides vitamin B6, iron, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, and magnesium. These are all bonuses for cancer patients—especially those going through chemotherapy who need vitamin C to rebuild their immune systems, and iron and vitamin B6 to rebuild their red blood cells. Kale is also a lutein-rich food. Lutein is known for its ability to protect different parts of the eye from potential damage by light or oxygen.
- Kale helps prevent and control cancer. Kale comes from the cruciferous vegetable family which includes broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts. This family contains sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting substance. Research shows that sulforaphane inhibits breast cancer stem cells. This research encouraged me to eat two cruciferous vegetables daily. As a breast cancer survivor, I also take a cruciferous vegetable supplement called DIM or Indolplex. I don’t want this nightmare to return! For those breast cancer patients who are no longer taking the estrogen-blocking pills or who can’t take them due to the side effects, kale and cruciferous vegetables are an inexpensive and easy remedy to reduce estrogen dominance in the body.
- Kale contains high antioxidants, which counteract oxidative damage done by free radicals. Kale is loaded with quercetin and kaempferol which help to counteract oxidative damage, protect the heart, lower blood pressure, and also offer anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-depressant, and ANTI-AGING properties. NOW I’VE CAPTURED YOUR ATTENTION!
- Kale can help lower cholesterol. Kale contains bile acid sequestrants which can help lower cholesterol. These substances can bind bile acids in the digestive system and prevent them from being reabsorbed in your system thereby reducing your total cholesterol. This can be a much better alternative than using statin drugs which have side effects.
- Kale contains plant compounds called isothiocynates (ITC’s) which help your body detox. Kale is a natural detoxifier that helps remove and eliminate toxins from our bodies. ITC’s, which are made from glucosinolates, actually help your body detox at the cellular level. As toxins in our environment rise, so do the toxins in our bodies and cells increasing our risk for many diseases.
There are a few cautions with eating kale. Although kale is a great alternative for those who must limit their intake of spinach due to oxalates, it does have a down side. Kale can suppress your thyroid when eaten raw. This is why I rotate my greens and switch them up in my smoothies. It also helps to lightly steamed them as cooking inactivates the substances that impact the thyroid. Steaming also improves its digestibility.
For those who have Intestinal Bowel Syndrome (IBS), kale may irritate your already irritated digestive tract. So gauge what is right for you. Since kale is heavily sprayed with pesticides, it’s best to eat this one organic. The cost for organic kale is only a little more expensive while offering higher nutrients and less chemicals.
Is it any wonder that kale is gaining status and is one of the main ingredients used in juicing and smoothies. There are many benefits to adding kale to your diet, and it goes beyond just preventing cancer. The impact of kale on our entire body is one of many reasons it is viewed as the “King of Super Greens.” Hail to King Kale!
What are some ways you get this much needed green in your diet? Please feel free to share some recipes. And here’s a link to recipes using kale , a link to growing lacinato kale , and a complete list of cruciferous vegetables.
For Your Health,
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