Kale is a chart topper when it comes to super foods- loaded with cancer fighting antioxidants, and substances that can help protect you from things like emphysema, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Kale may not be a staple in your family’s kitchen, but I hope after reading this article, it becomes one!
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that is a member of the brassica family. This group of vegetables includes other more popular super foods like cabbage and Brussels sprouts. In all of these leafy green vegetables, It is thought to be the organosulfur phytonutrients that pack the punch. Recent research indicates that these phytonutrients in vegetables like kale work at a much deeper level, signaling our genes to increase production of enzymes involved in detoxification.
Organosulfur compounds are a particularly potent antioxidant that help the body to produce cancer destroying enzymes and aid in inhibiting carcinogenesis. Scientists have recently discovered a compound in kale, sulforaphane, that when chopped or chewed, works by altering gene expression to help clear carcinogenic substances from the body more quickly. It is also believed that this compound triggers the liver to produce detoxification enzymes which help neutralize cancer-causing substances. Sulforaphane also helps to support a healthy immune system, which is a key component to fighting off any invader.
In addition to the organosulfur compounds, kale is high in vitamins A, C, and K- boasting well over the 100% mark for daily value in each of these. Kale can provide a significant amount of your daily requirement for calcium without the oxalic acid many greens also contain. Oxalic acid prevents the absorption of calcium. Without this compound, the calcium from kale is easily absorbed, helping to keep your bones healthy and strong. Kale also provides visual and healthy heart benefits with its wealth of carotenoids.
There are several varieties of kale to choose from- curly leaf kale, “dinosaur” or lacinato kale, and ornamental. Curly leafed kale has ruffled leaves, is bright green in color, and has a more bitter and peppery taste. Lacinato kale has darker, blue-green leaves and is sweeter and more delicate tasting. Ornamental kale is a more recently cultivated variety and can be white, purple, or green in color. This variety has a more mellow flavor and tender texture. For tips on selecting, storing, and preparing kale check out last weeks article on preparing mouthwatering greens by Leah Shuchter.
This article was written by Kathryn Davis. Kathryn has a bachelors degree in dietary science, is a registered yoga teacher, and in school for massage therapy. She can be found at zenana Spa and Wellness Center and contacted through email: firstname.lastname@example.org