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Benefits of Kale
51. Other Health Related Benefits
Kale has a definite role to play in support of the bodys detoxification processes. The isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from kales glucosinolates have been shown to help regulate detox activities in our cells. Most toxins that pose a risk to our body must be detoxified by our cells using a two step process. The two steps in the process are called Phase I detoxification and Phase II detoxification. The ITCs made from kales glucosinolates have been shown to favorably modify both detox steps (Phase I and Phase II). 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.
52. How to Select
Look for kale with firm, deeply colored leaves and moist hardy stems. Kale should be displayed in a cool environment since warm temperatures will cause it to wilt and will negatively affect its flavor. The leaves should look fresh, be unwilted, and be free from signs of browning, yellowing, and small holes. Choose kale with smaller sized leaves since these will be more tender and have a more mild flavor than those with larger leaves. Kale is available throughout the year, although it is more widely available, and at its peak, from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring.
53. To store
place kale in a plastic storage bag removing as much of the air from the bag as possible. Store in the refrigerator where it will keep for 5 days. The longer it is stored, the more bitter its flavor becomes. Do not wash kale before storing because exposure to water encourages spoilage.
54. Tips for Preparing Kale
Rinse kale leaves under cold running water. Chop leaf portion into 1/2 slices and the stems into 1/4 lengths for quick and even cooking. To get the most health benefits from kale, let sit for a minimum of 5 minutes before cooking. Sprinkling with lemon juice before letting them sit can further enhance its beneficial phytonutrient concentration.
55. The Healthiest Way of Cooking Kale
We recommend Healthy Steaming kale for maximum nutrition and flavor. Fill the bottom of a steamer pot with 2 inches of water. While waiting for the water to come to a rapid boil chop greens. Steam for 5 minutes and toss with our Mediterranean Dressingand top with your favorite optional ingredients. For details see 5 Minute Kale.
56. Kale and Oxalates
Kale is among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating kale. Laboratory studies have shown that oxalates may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body.
57. Kale and Pesticide Residues
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in their 2014 report, Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce, conventionally grown kale are contaminated with concentrations of organophosphate insecticides, which are considered to be highly toxic to the nervous system. While they were not among the 12 varieties of produce most concentrated in overall pesticide residues (and therefore not part of the EWGs traditional Dirty Dozen), the EWG felt that this organophosphate concentration was relevant enough to bring attention to kale. They actually renamed their produce category of concern from Dirty Dozen to Dirty Dozen Plus with kale, collard greens, and hot peppers being the Plus conventionally grown produce. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of kale unless it is grown organically.
58. Kale as a Goitrogenic Food
Kale is sometimes referred to as a goitrogenic food. Yet, contrary to popular belief, according to the latest studies, foods themselvesandkale included and are not goitrogenic in the sense of causing goiter whenever they are consumed, or even when they are consumed in excess. In fact, most foods that are commonly called goitrogenic and such as the cruciferous vegetables (including kale, broccoli, and cauliflower) and soyfoods and do not interfere with thyroid function in healthy persons even when they are consumed on a daily basis. Nor is it scientifically correct to say that foods contain goitrogens, at least not if you are thinking about goitrogens as a category of substances like proteins, carbohydrates, or vitamins. With respect to the health of our thyroid gland, all that can be contained in a food are nutrients that provide us with a variety of health benefits but which, under certain circumstances, can also interfere with thyroid function. The term goitrogenic food makes it sound as if something is wrong with the food, but that is simply not the case. What causes problems for certain individuals is not the food itself but the mismatched nature of certain substances within the food to their unique health circumstances.
59. Nutritional Profile
Kale is a nutritional standout in three basic areas: (1) antioxidant and anti inflammatory nutrients, (2) much needed micronutrients (in which the average U.S. adult is currently deficient), and (3) cancer preventive nutrients called glucosinolates.
60. Fiber and Anti Inflammatory Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Fiber and omega 3s are two macronutrients largely deficient in the U.S. diet and provided by kale in impressive amounts. It only takes 200 calories worth of kale to provide 14 grams of fiber and substantially more than the average U.S. adult gets in an entire day after a diet of 2,000 calories. And while kale is not as concentrated in omega 3s as some of the other cruciferous vegetablesandand certainly not in the same category as walnuts or salmonandit still provides us with a significant amount of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), the basic building block for all omega 3 fats. From less than 100 calories worth of kale, we can get over 350 milligrams.
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