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Benefits of Kale – A Real Superfood

kale Did you ever wonder why they bother putting those green garnishes on your salads or your lunch plate? Well, those greens with the deep blue-green color and curly edges are in reality a superfood called kale.  That’s right, that green embellishment that most people lay to one side is really edible. It’s also flavorful and just bursting with nutrition, one of the healthiest vegetables you can find.

What exactly is it that makes kale a superfood? Let me list the ways.

Kale is a vegetable that contains sulfur, putting it in the same family as collards, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Kale is a valuable contributor to your good health because it supplies a variety of vitamins and minerals and is a cancer preventative.

This family of superfood vegetables all contain between ten and fifteen sulfur-containing organic compounds that effectively guard against several types of cancer, including stomach, colon, breast, and ovarian cancers.

Eating these vegetables initiates the production of enzymes by the liver that disable agents that cause cancer in the body. Tumors in animals that ingested the sulfuric compounds contained in cabbage, collards, and brussels sprouts actually decreased in size.

Besides the organosulfurs that guard against cancer, kale also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that are beneficial to the eyes. These phytochemicals (beneficial plant compounds) help by preventing cataracts and damage to the eyes from sunlight and ultraviolet light. Research showed a fifty percent decrease in cataracts for people who included foods rich in carotenoids in their diets.

More Health Benefits Of Kale

Other beneficial components contained in significant quantities in kale are vitamins A, C, and B6, calcium, manganese, potassium, and copper.

There are only 36 calories in a cup of kale, but it supplies 192% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, and there’s no danger of getting too much vitamin A from kale because it’s a plant source.

kale leaves on a plate One cup of kale will also supply approximately 90% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps in preventing damage to cells because it removes free radicals from the body. Vitamin C also helps oxidize cholesterol, renews and strengthens collagen in the skin to give you a young and healthy appearance, fights infections, and reduces damage from inflammation, a chief cause of autoimmune and heart diseases.

Manganese is a mineral used in the production of fatty acids which are needed for the nervous system and for sex hormones. It also is an effective fat-burner because it aids in metabolizing and using energy from carbohydrates and protein.

Calcium, working in unison with vitamin A and vitamin K2, found in butter from grass-fed cows, strengthens bones and even helps reverse osteoporosis. Including calcium in your diet is an effective means of strengthening teeth and bones and cleaning blood vessels.

Something else that you should know is that including three servings of dark green leafy vegetables in your daily diet is effective in retarding the mental slowdown that commonly occurs in older people. These green leafy vegetables, including kale, can slow this mental deterioration by a significant forty percent! That’s been equated with an age reversal of five years, more or less. Just think, a tasty vegetable that also improves your health and lets you function like a person five years younger – now that’s a superfood!

And we’re not through yet, because there’s still more that kale does for you. Kale also contains a chemical known as indole-3-carbinol (referred to as I3C), that reduces secretion by the liver of a chemical that carries LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) to blood vessels and tissues. Research has shown that I3C fights the effects of xenoestrogens, compounds responsible for making stomach fat persistent. Other vegetables in the Cruciferous (mustard) family, of which kale is a member, also help to reduce that potbelly too. Check out the other veggies which do that here: vegetables that burn abdominal fat

Just so you know what to look for, kale is a leafy vegetable with a dark blue-green color that has firm stalks and curly leaves. Don’t buy it if it is wilted or limp. Select kale that has smaller leaves, because they are milder tasting.

Kale can be sautéed with olive oil, butter from grass-fed cows, and a little lemon juice and garlic, or raw kale can be chopped up for use in salads in small amounts. You can also chop kale and tart apples and braise them. Serve them with balsamic vinegar and walnuts sprinkled over the top.

I hope you’ve seen that kale is indeed a highly nutritious vegetable that offers multiple health benefits and should be part of your Fat Burning Kitchen, so instead of throwing it aside when it garnishes your lunch, eat it – it’ll probably be the healthiest part of your meal, a true superfood!

Image credit: Salim Virji

Date published: July 8, 2010. Last modified: December 24, 2011

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