Eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables every day!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kale

Kale is a form of cabbage (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group), green or purple, in which the central leaves do not form a head. 

  • In fact, kale is probably the closest relative of wild cabbage in the entire cabbage family. Kale and collards are essentially the same vegetable, only kale has leaves with curly edges and is less tolerant to heat. Other greens of the cabbage family, such as mustard greens, turnip greens, kohlrabi, and watercress, offer similar benefits as kale and collards and can be used similarly.
Kale is packed with carotenoids and flavonoids, two powerful antioxidants that protect your cells from free radicals.


It also provides a heaping dose of vitamin K (1327% of our daily required value in just one cup!), which has been proven to strengthen our bones.
  • Kale, and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane , a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Kale turns sweeter in cold weather, so it’s at its best from mid-fall through early spring.
  • Some quick stats on kale. It has 3x more calcium, 4x more vitamin A, 10x more Vitamin C, and 4x more Vitamin K, 4x more Omega 3, 14x more Omega 6, than spinach.
What precautions are advised for eating kale (collards)?
  • Kale is a powerhouse vegetable that is full of nutrients.  However, since it is a rich source of Vitamin K, if you are on an anticoagulant medication/blood thinner, eating Kale in large quantities might cause an interference.  If you are on an anticoagulant medicine, important to enjoy kale after discussing this with your physician.  Also, Kale is naturally high in oxalates which can interfere with calcium absorption.  It is best to avoid eating a calcium-rich food at the same time as kale.
  • Members of the cabbage family contain goitrogens, naturally occurring substances that can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Dietary goitrogens are usually of no clinical importance unless they are consumed in large amounts or there is coexisting iodine deficiency. Cooking helps to inactivate the goitrogenic compounds. Individuals with already existing and untreated thyroid problems may want to avoid consumption of cabbage-family vegetables in their raw form for this reason. 
  • Kale also contains significant amount of oxalate. Individuals with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid overconsuming kale and other oxalate-containing greens.

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