Heavenly Kale How Do I Love Thee?

Let me count the ways! I have to tell you kale has become one of my favorite superfoods. Mostly I eat it raw, in juices and smoothies, but kale is also delicious steamed and can even be baked into kale chips. (If you are curious about kale chips you can find a recipe and video at Kath Eats Real Food.)  So what is kale exactly and why should you eat it?

Kale is a member of the Brassica family which includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, trunip, and mustard.  Quite an amazing vegetable family really, providing edible  roots, leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers.  To me kale has a taste that is in between cabbage and broccoli, but a bit mellower.  That’s why it makes a great addition to my juices.  There are three types of kale: curly, dinosaur and ornamental and each are supposed to have a slightly different flavor.  I’ve only seen curly in my stores, so I haven’t tried the others.

So now for the healthy benefits. Kale is high in vitamin K, A, C, calcium, and manganese.  One cup of kale provies 89% of your daily requirement of vitamin C.  Kale contains 45 flavonoids which provide ample antioxidant benefits, namely anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.  Next are the caretenoids and glucosinates which also provide anti cancer and detoxification support at the cellular level.  Wow!  Let’s break that down into the specific benefits of kale.

Detoxificaiton

Kale supports both Phase I and Phase II detoxification, which basically means that it helps your body during the entire process to help remove toxins and rebuild at the cellular level.  Read more about detoxification phasesJuice cleansing with kale is a great way to kick start detoxification.

Anti-cancer

According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, kale lowers the risk of at least five types of cancer:  bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate.  Kale’s high concentration of carentenoids and flavonoids, both antioxidants.  In addition to lowering risk factors, kale has shown some promise to aid the treatment of cancer as well.

Anti-inflammatory

Chronic inflammation leads to many health related problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and even risk for cancer.  Both the omega-3 and antioxidant content of kale helps to reduce inflammation and provide some immediate relief as well as long term health benefits.

Cardiovascular Support

The cardiovascular benefit of kale is seen in it’s cholesterol lowering ability.  Kale binds with bile acids in the digestive system so that they do not get reabsorbed.  The liver then uses stored cholesterol to help create more bile acids.  Note here that the fiber in kale is beneficial to this process, so consuming the whole food (steamed or in smoothies) may provide more support.

Note:  A couple of items you should know about kale. The vitamin K content in kale is very high, which is a good thing.  Vitamin K helps keep the blood thin.  However, if you are currently taking blood thinning medication the combination may be too much.  So please consult your doctor on that.  Secondly, kale does contain a considerable amount of oxalates, a naturally occuring substance.  If they become too concentrated in the body they may crystalize.  Therefore if you have kidney or gallbladder problems, you may also want to consult your doctor.  Moderation and common sense is the key here.  Eating a variety of foods is best and will provide the most balanced health benefits.

How about you.  Have you tried kale?  Do you sing it’s praises?  What is your favorite way to eat kale?

image by Quinn Dombrowski

Related posts:

Comments

      • Carey says

        Kale doesn’t produce as much juice as say an apple, but it’s still vitamin packed. Are you juicing the whole stalk? Try putting several stalks into the juicer at once to make it more dense.

  1. AEMalakai says

    I’m on day 2 of my juicing fast… and I can’t abide by this. Kale is disgusting. It’s bitter, it taste like rancid pepper and mustard to me.
    The sad thing about it is I LOVE peppers and mustards. But kale is a no go.

    • Carey says

      Everyone’s tastes are different. Try cutting back on the kale and adding some romaine lettuce. Or find some other leafy green vegetables that you do enjoy :)

    • Alex says

      I agree bud. Kale has a truly disgusting taste and smell. However, its benefits cannot be denied. This vegetable is the poster child of “whats good for you usually tastes like dung”. So, in the end, I’ll still be juicing with it but holding my nose as I power-gulp the entire glass in 3 seconds.

  2. Josh says

    Hello, Love the website, it is a great help.
    Just one comment about the above info on Vit K and blood thinners. I am a Cardiac RN and as far as I know Vit K reverses the effects of blood thinners. We give injections of Vit K to people when they have taken too much Coumadin and their INR levels are too high. Vit K causes INR levels to lower. That is why people have to discuss with their Dr. the levels of Vit K in their diet when they are on Coumadin; It might make the Coumadin less efective.

    • Jaimee Marie says

      Hi Josh – just curious would you happen to know if it’s true about the gallbladder issue? I have gall stones but am trying to just eat healthier and when I do I don’t have any pains so I was thinking having a lot of Kale and juicing was my answer but now I’m concerned – I’ll probably ask my doctor to be sure but just curious your thoughts or knowledge as a RN??

      • Renee Chapin says

        DO NOT REMOVE YOUR GALLBLADDER! THERE ARE SPECIFIC RECIPES THAT DISOLVE GALLSTONES. I have to find it in one of my books I found it afer removing my gallbladder. I will look for this recipe for you. I believe its in my healing with whole foods book.

      • Renee Chapin says

        “Gall Bladder Flush: One can often quickly purge the gall Bladder of stones and other sediment with a one-day ritual commonly called the “gall Bladder flush”. There are many variations on this, but one of the simplest and most effective is the following:
        Beginning in the morning and throughout the day, eat only apples, preferably organic, as many as desired, but at least four or five. Apples of the green variety seem most effective, although all apples will help soften the stones. at bedtime, warm up two-thirds of a cup of virgin olive oil to body temperature and mix in one-third cup of fresh lemon juice. Slowly sip the entire mixture, and then immediately go to bed, lying on your right side, with the right leg drawn up. In the morning all stones should pass in the stool. This flush should be done with the guidance of an experienced health practitioner. his remedy has undoubtedly made gall-bladder operations unnecessary in thousands of likely candidates. An added benefit is that the gall-bladder cleansing clears residues of excess from the liver as well.” -Healing with whole foods- by Paul Pitchford Juicing the apples would probably make it even more effective!

  3. natasha says

    I drink kale smoothies every day and have noticed my sugar cravings have disappeared. Also, I do not need coffee in the morning. I liked the information and hope more folks will add Kale to there diet.

  4. eldonna edwards says

    I have been juicing with kale, but after reading this have concerns about the effect on kidney health. I donated a kidney about a year ago, so I only have one and I need to take really good care of it. Should I avoid kale? Are there any other veggies I should be careful about overusing?

  5. Veronica says

    Kale is great and all, but unfortunately for anyone with a thyroid condition, raw cabbage family veggies have to be eaten blanched. In other words, you have to interrupt the cellular makeup of certain calciferous foods to prevent goiter. Which sucks, because I have loved broccoli and cauliflower my entire life! Check with your doctor before juicing and do your research. And you can always warm any juiced recipes to soup. ;-)

  6. Yvonne says

    My favorite way to drink kale is my local Nature food &Juice bar. A kale date shake, consisting of : bananas, dates, kale, spinach, blueberries and coconut milk! Yummy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>