An easy way to boost your health is to start eating kale and other cruciferous vegetables at least 2-3 times a week. Just one cup of kale will ‘flood’ your body with disease-fighting vitamins K, A, and C, along with good amounts of manganese, copper, B vitamins, fiber, calcium, and potassium.
With each serving of kale, you’ll find more than 45 unique flavonoids, which have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In terms of green leafy vegetables, you really can’t go wrong!
But kale is definitely worthy of its reputation as “the king of veggies.”
And here’s a secret: kale’s flavor gets sweeter after it has been exposed to a frost, making winter the ideal time to eat it (and it is in season starting mid-winter). When the temperatures go down you might not feel like eating a raw kale salad, but what about a dish of warm delicious kale soup?
The recipe below will not only warm you up and build up your nutrition profile, but also it will give you a ‘respectable’ energy boost as well.
Super Energy Kale Soup Recipe (Serves 4)
Pay attention: Kale might fight at least 5 types of cancer
Kale is a good source of cancer-fighting sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol just like other cruciferous vegetables. Kale has also been found to lower the risk of at least 5 types of cancer, including:breast, bladder, colon, ovary and prostate cancer.
The glucosinolates present in kale and other cruciferous vegetables break down into products that help protect DNA from damage, as noted by the George Mateljan Foundation.“Kale’s special mix of cancer-preventing glucosinolates has been the hottest area of research on this cruciferous vegetable.
Kale is an especially rich source of glucosinolates, and once kale is eaten and digested, these glucosinolates can be converted by the body into cancer preventive compounds. Some of this conversion process can also take place in the food itself, prior to consumption.”
While some research recommends that raw kale is best for cancer prevention, other studies suggest lightly cooked is better, in part because it improves kale’s ability to bind with bile acids in your digestive tract. This makes the bile acids easier for your body to excrete, which not only has a beneficial impact on your cholesterol levels, but also on your risk of cancer -bile acids have been associated with an increased risk of cancer.
According to one study in Nutrition Research: “Steam cooking significantly improved the in vitro bile acid binding of collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage compared with previously observed bile acid binding values for these vegetables raw (uncooked).
Inclusion of steam-cooked collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage in our daily diet as health-promoting vegetables should be emphasized. These green/leafy vegetables, when consumed regularly after steam cooking, would lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, advance human nutrition research, and improve public health.”
Eating kale Supports natural detoxification
Foods that support both Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification are the key to supporting your body’s daily removal of harmful substances from your body.
Phase 1 detoxification is when toxins are broken down into smaller particles, while during your body’s
Phase 2 detoxification process, the broken down toxins are expelled out of your system.
If you eat foods that support Phase 1, but not Phase 2, the broken-down toxins may begin to accumulate in your body. But the isothiocyanates (ITCs) in kale help to promote both Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification.
The George Mateljan Foundation explained: “In addition, the unusually large numbers of sulfur compounds in kale have been shown to help support aspects of Phase II detoxification that require the presence of sulfur.
By supporting both aspects of our cellular detox process (Phase I and Phase II), nutrients in kale can give our body an “edge up” in dealing with toxic exposure, whether from our environment or from our food.”
Kale rightfully earns its reputation as a ‘superfood’
Kale is one vegetable that lives up to its nutritional hype. It is loaded with both lutein and zeaxanthin at over 26 mg combined, per serving, for starters. Of all the carotenoids, only zeaxanthin and lutein are found in your retina, which has the highest concentration of fatty acids of any tissue in your body.
This is because your retina is a highly light- and oxygen-rich environment, and it needs a large supply of free radical scavengers to prevent oxidative damage there.
It is theorized that your body concentrates zeaxanthin and lutein in your retina to perform this duty, and consuming these antioxidants may help to ward off eye problems like age-related macular degeneration. And as far as calcium is concerned, one cup of kale will give you 90 milligrams of calcium in a highly bioavailable form. One calcium bioavailability study found that calcium from kale was 25% better absorbed than calcium from milk.
What else do you gain when you eat kale?
- Anti-inflammatory agents that may help prevent arthritis, heart disease and autoimmune diseases.
- Plant-based omega-3 fats for building cell membranes, protecting against heart disease and stroke, and regulating blood clotting.
- An impressive number of beneficial flavonoids, including 32 phenolic compounds and 3 hydroxycinnamic acids to help support healthy cholesterol levels and scavenge free radicals.
Choose organic kale over its inorganic counterpart
When choosing kale, look for firm, fresh deeply colored leaves with hardy stems. Avoid leaves that are brown or yellow or that contain holes. Kale with smaller leaves tends to be more tender and milder than larger-leaved kale.
Choose organic varieties (or grow your own ones) since the kale is frequently sprayed with particularly toxic pesticides. One study by the Environmental Working Group detected 51 pesticides on kale, including several they described as “highly toxic.”
For best results, store kale in your refrigerator (unwashed) in a plastic storage bag. Remove as much air as you can. Ideally, eat kale as soon as you can because the longer it sits in your storage space the more bitter the flavor becomes.
– George Mateljan Foundation
– Nutrition Research
– Environmental Working Group