Kale (Brassica oleracea) is a versatile vegetable that, through its nutritional properties and health benefits, has made its way into the super foods list (so called because they have a high nutrient content superior to classic foods). Kale (collard greens) is a green leaf plant belonging to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collard cabbage and Bruxelles cabbage. Kale and similar vegetables have gained attention everywhere because of the content of sulfur-rich phytonutrients and health benefits.
A source of antioxidants, fiber, calcium and even small amounts of healthy fats, an unusual quality for vegetables, cruciferous can increase the nutritional level in any diet. A research published in July 2011 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed the health and diets of over 134,000 adults in China and demonstrated that there is a strong link between high intake of vegetables, especially cruciferous, and low risk of death , especially caused by heart disease (the leading cause of death in Western countries).
Start the day with a smoothie with organic kale powder
Reducing inflammation from the body can be easily accomplished by simply replacing the breakfast roll with a smoothie with organic kale cabbage powder. Although most fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties, kale is particularly rich in antioxidants that support immune function and decrease inflammatory response. Many diseases involve inflammation, including arthritis, cardiovascular disease and sinusitis.
Kim McDevitt, a licensed dietician and a national pedagogue in a large area of New York City, recommends the preparation of a smoothie with kale, bananas or frozen fruits, water and avocado, a smoothie that provides healthy fibers and grease. We also recommend adding a teaspoon of flaxseed powder and fiber from buckwheat, plum and apple peel. The fibers in these powders will balance the intestinal transit.
How we prepare Kale. Suggestions for inclusion in food style
- Kale fresh can also be found in stores that have a good supply of green herbs. A proper preparation is the sure way to enjoy the maximum of nutrition and flavor that it can provide. We recommend cooking steam for 5 minutes. To ensure quick and uniform cooking of the kale, cut the leaves into 1 cm slices and the stems in lengths of 0.5 cm. Before steaming them, leave them aside for at least 5 minutes to increase their health benefits.
- If you cook it, the kale may offer some special cholesterol-lowering benefits. Kale fiber components are more effective in attaching bile acids to the digestive tract when steamed. When this attachment process occurs, it is simpler for bile acids to be excreted and the result is to lower cholesterol levels.
Kale – Major Health Benefits
- The benefits of decreasing the risk of cancer of kale sprats have recently been extended to at least five cancers. These types include bladder, breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancer. Isocyanates (ITCs) obtained from potassium-containing glucosynolates play a major role in achieving these risk-reducing benefits.
- Kale is now recognized for supporting the detoxification system of the body. Recent research has shown that ITC obtained from kale glucosynolates can help regulate detoxification at the genetic level.
- Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale cabbage. Along with kaempferol and quercetin at the top of the list, kale flavonoids combine antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits so that kale obtains the primary role in avoiding chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Kale has important concentrations of vitamin K. Vitamin K stimulates proteins in the body to activate cell production in the bones, lungs and heart. Vitamin K is beneficial to the body because it prevents both thickening and stiffening of the arteries as well as certain types of cancer. In a study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, it has been discovered that “K vitamins can inhibit the survival of certain pancreatic cancer cell lines.”
Although it is not as studied as other related crucifers, such as broccoli or cabbage, kale is a food that you can rely on for some untapped health benefits for no other reason than its exceptional nutritional wealth.
Kale, 1 cup (130 grams), cooked
Glycemic Index: Very low (this is also recommended for diabetics or people who have slimming, hypocaloric regimen).
% Nutrient DZR (Percentage of Recommended Daily Dose)
- vitamin K 1180%
- Vitamin A 98%
- Vitamin C 71%
- manganese 27%
- Copper 22%
- Calcium 9%
- potassium 8%
- iron 7%
- Vitamin E 7%
- vitamin B complex 27% (vitamin B6 11%, • vitamin B3 4% • vitamin B1 6% • folat 4%)
- 6% magnesium
- 5% protein
- phosphorus 5%
- omega-3 fat 5%
Why are the antioxidants in the kale important?
The richness of nutrients in kale stands out in some categories:
(1) nutrients with an antioxidant role,
(2) nutrients with an anti-inflammatory role
(3) nutrients with anti-cancer properties in the form of glucosynolates.
Without a sufficient amount of antioxidants, metabolism in the presence of oxygen can be compromised and we can deal with the so-called metabolic problem “oxidative stress”. In the absence of sufficient nutrients with an anti-inflammatory role, the regulation of the inflammatory system can be compromised and thus we can deal with the problem of chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation (and the combination of these two metabolic problems) are risk factors for cancer development. Studies show clearly the properties of cancer prevention of kale consumption and, in some cases, the benefits of treatment.
The kale cancer prevention properties have been clearly linked to its unusual concentration of these two types of antioxidants, namely carotenoids and flavonoids.
Of carotenoids, lutein and beta-carotene are the antioxidants that stand out in kale. Researchers have sought the passage of these two carotenoids kale from the digestive tract into the blood stream of the human body and kale cabbage showed the ability to increase the level of carotenoids in the blood nutrients. The discovery is important because lutein and beta-carotene are key nutrients in protecting the body from oxidative stress and related health problems. The increased risk of cataracts, atherosclerosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) represent three of these problems. Cancer also joins these three chronic health problems, since the overall risk that our body’s cells become cancerous is partly related to oxidative stress.
Among the flavonoids, kaempferol is the focus of kale sprouts, followed by an important flavonoid called quercitin. But recent research has also clarified that kale cabbage supplies at least 45 different antioxidant flavonoids in measurable quantities. Most likely, this wide spectrum of flavonoid antioxidants is the key to the benefits of kale, which prevent cancer and which we expect to be investigated for other health problems caused by oxidative stress.
Choose balance and variety
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, depending on the calorie requirement, which varies according to activity level, sex and age, you probably need five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This is equivalent to 250 grams of fruit and over 250 grams of vegetables consumed daily in a 2,000 calorie diet. To maximize health benefits, consume them regularly in a variety of colors and types, choosing especially nutrients such as kale cabbage, broccoli, berries, and citrus fruits.
Kale can not be found fresh during the year. But there is also the organic powder that can be consumed more conveniently in any season. Kale cabbage is dehydrated and chopped to be easily consumed in smoothies, protein shakes, or sprinkled over salads and any dishes.