The Health Benefits of Kale

health-benefits-of-kale


Kale is the cruciferous vegetable du jour for the health aficionado. Kale’s meteoric rise to popularity amongst healthy types has caused it to become a nearly ubiquitous item in grocery stores and restaurants specializing in healthy fare, alike. Thought to have originated in Asia, kale is in the same family as other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. There are multiple varieties of kale, including ornamental kale and dinosaur kale. Ornamental is more colorful and dinosaur has an embossed texture. Dinosaur kale also has a sweeter flavor. Kale made its way through Europe and was brought to the United States by English settlers in the 1600s. It is available year round, for the most part.

Among the benefits of kale, it is noted for its anti-inflammatory effects. Kale has a high amount of Omega-3 in the form of alpha linolenic acid, which certain studies have shown to help combat inflammation. It has an exceptionally high level of vitamin K, which is also thought to regulate inflammatory processes.

Adding to the benefits of Kale, it is also high in a number of anti-oxidants, giving it strong, anti-cancer properties. The carotenoids lutein and beta-carotene tend to be found in great volume in kale. Found also in high amounts are the flavonoids kaempferol and quercitin. Among other cancer preventing compounds inherent in kale are thought to be the glucosinolates, which have been found to lower the risk of colon, breast, bladder, prostate and ovarian cancer.

Some studies show that kale may aid in lowering cholesterol. Certain types of digestive bile are synthesized from cholesterol by the liver and stored as a fluid in the gall bladder. Eating kale actually binds to digestive bile, allowing it to pass through your system instead of getting reabsorbed in the intestines. The liver must then draw on existing cholesterol reserves in order to synthesize new bile, causing cholesterol levels to drop. Nutrients in kale also aid in detoxification processes within the body.

Doug often talks on the show about how while many nutrients may exhibit certain characteristics or support certain bodily functions, most of them are anti-fungal, as well. As such a nutrient dense food, the benefits of kale are likely to include a strong anti-fungal function, which would be very beneficial in your fight against pathogenic fungi.

Kale has been featured in a number of Dining with Denni Segments and included in a number of recipes within the two cook books available in our store. One of the easiest ways of preparing kale while maintaining the maximum nutritional potency of it is by steaming it. (Cooking it likely actually stimulates some of the health-giving benefits of kale.) Steam for 5 minutes, then toss with olive oil and other salad accouterments. (But as with in anything, how you eat or prepare it is only limited by your imagination!)

Kale may be the bandwagon vegetable today, but it’s not without reason – kale’s rich

nutrient content make it a winner for the Phase 1 Diet. Include a generous amount of kale in your diet, and enjoy the benefits within!

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