The Truth About Kale

Kale is a Nutritional Powerhouse!

By WebMD Expert Column

 

Eating a variety of natural, unprocessed vegetables can do wonders for your health, but choosing super-nutritious kale on a regular basis may provide significant health benefits, including cancer protection and lowered cholesterol.

Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. A leafy green, kale is available in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

Kale is a Nutritional Powerhouse

One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.

truth kaleCarotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

Super-Rich in Vitamin K

Eating a diet rich in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K can reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin K is abundant in kale but also found in parsley, spinach, collard greens, and animal products such as cheese.

Vitamin K is necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health.

But too much vitamin K can pose problems for some people. Anyone taking anticoagulants such as warfarin should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K may interfere with the drugs. Consult your doctor before adding kale to your diet.

Kale might be a powerhouse of nutrients but is also contains oxalates, naturally occurring substances that can interfere with the absorption of calcium. Avoid eating calcium-rich foods like dairy at the same time as kale to prevent any problems.

Eat More Kale

In summer, vegetable choices abound. But during the cooler months, there are fewer in-season choices — with the exception of kale and other dark, leafy greens that thrive in cooler weather.

To find the freshest kale, look for firm, deeply colored leaves with hardy stems. Smaller leaves will be more tender and milder in flavor. Leaves range from dark green to purple to deep red in color.

Store kale, unwashed, in an airtight zipped plastic bag for up to five days in the refrigerator.

California Agriculture Provides Healthy Choices for World Kidney Day!

Today is World Kidney Day, and California agriculture provides most, if not all, of the typicality recommended foods for those with kidney disease. While one in ten adults living in the U.S. has kidney disease, most don’t know it because there are often no symptoms. Kidney disease challenges kidneys to remove protein waste and minerals. Kidney diets generally limited include protein, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.

Drink plain water without sodium, potassium or phosphate and home-brewed tea or homemade lemonade.

Protein – Choose fresh poultry and pork while avoiding products that contain sodium, phosphate and potassium additives. Choose egg whites and high omega-3 fish to get essential amino acids.

Vegies – Eat meatless or modest amounts of meat and make low-sodium homemade soup.World Kidney Day

Choose Dairy foods low in phosphorus, and consider the non-fat or lowfat versions such as butter and tub margarine, cream, Sherbet and strong-flavored natural cheese in limited amounts. Consider substituting saturated fats such as shortening, animal fats and hydrogenated margarine with healthy fats, such as olive oil and trans fat–free margarine.

Go Heavy on the Antioxidants – Powerful compounds called antioxidants found in certain foods may help protect you against kidney disease, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Eat antioxidant-rich apples, berries, cherries, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums, tangerines, watermelon, red grapes, cabbage, cauliflower, red leaf lettuce, garlic, onions and red bell peppers to help decrease chronic inflammation associated with kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Avoid fruits that have high potassium levels.

Antioxidants neutralize harmful molecules in your body called free radicals, so they are good for your health. Use colors in fruits and vegetables to identify antioxidants, and eat a daily variety of colorful foods.

  • White/Green = Allyl sulphides, quercetin
  • Yellow/Green = Lutein, zeaxanthin
  • Green = Indoles, sulforaphanes, lutein
  • Red = Lycopene
  • Red/Purple = Anthocyanins, polyphenols, resveratrol
  • Orange = Beta-carotene
  • Orange/Yellow = Cryptoxanthin, flavonoids 

Add flavor to food with antioxidant-rich spices such as cinnamon, pepper, curry powder, turmeric and oregano.