You can improve your health condition very easy if you eat kale and other cruciferous vegetables two to three, or even better, four to five times per week. Just a cup of kale is an excellent and a rich source if vitamins C, A and K, as well as copper, manganese, calcium, potassium, fiber and vitamins from the B group, all of them beneficial in fighting different illnesses.
Every serving of kale also contains over 45 unique favoniods, known to have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. All green leafy vegetables are extremely beneficial, but there is a reason why the kale is called “the king of veggies”.
This is a little known fact: the lower the temperature is, the sweeter the kale becomes. This means that kale is the sweetest when exposed to frost, and that winter is the ideal time for eating it. Even its season starts in mid winter. Maybe you won’t like to eat a salad in winter time, but we are sure you will all like a portion of warm kale soup.
The following recipe is coming from the George Mateljan Foundation and is good not only for warming up in the cold days, but for improving your health as well. It also provides energy for your body.
Super Energy Kale Soup
4 chopped cloves of garlic
a medium chopped onion
one cup of diced celery
one medium carrot, diced into cubes of Â¼ of inch
2 tablespoons of dried thyme
2 tablespoons of dried sage
5 cups of chicken or bone broth
2 red potatoes, diced into cubes of half an inch
3 cups of kale, washed, with the stems removed and well chopped
salt and pepper to taste
- first chop the onion and the garlic and leave them for 5 minutes which they need to bring out their health benefits
- take a tablespoon of broth and heat it in a soup pot of medium size
- sautÃ© the onion in the broth at medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring
- add the garlic and go on cooking for another minute
- add the carrots, the broth and the celery and boil them all at high temperature
- when the ingredients come to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and go on cooking 5 more minutes. Then, add the potatoes and cook 15 minutes more
- add the kale and all remaining ingredients to the soup and cook for another 5 minutes. If you want to simmer the mixture for a longer period and for some extra taste, you would need to add more broth to it.
This soup serves four.
Kale May Fight at Least Five Types of Cancer
Not only the kale, but the remaining cruciferous vegetables as well are great spring of sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, substances that are beneficial for fighting cancer. Kale has been proven to fight even 5 types of cancer: breast, colon, bladder, and prostate and ovary cancer.
The glucosinolates that kale and the rest of the cruciferous vegetables contain break down further into substances that protect the DNA from harm. According to the George Mateljan Foundation, the kale is an extraordinary mix of glucosinolates that prevent cancer and this is what makes it the hottest area of studies on this cruciferous vegetable.
The kale is abundant in glucosinolates, and after the kale is being consumed and digested, they are turned into cancer preventive compounds by the body. A part of this process is being done in the food itself, before it has been consumed.
According to some studies, the kale is best when consumed fresh and raw, and according to others, when it is lightly cooked, because this process improves its ability to bind with bile acids in the digestive tract. Anyhow, it is beneficial when it comes to preventing and fighting cancer.
For your body, it is better that the bile acids are excreted, because this affects the cholesterol levels in a positive way, but also reduces the risk of cancer, since bile acids have been related to an increased risk of cancer. A study in Nutrition research says:
Steam cooking is significantly beneficial as it has been shown in the in vitro bile acid binding of collard greens, mustard greens, kale, broccoli, cabbage and green bell pepper when compared to the previously observed bile acid binding values for the same vegetables when used raw and uncooked.
You should include the steam-cooked mustard greens, collard greens, green bell pepper, cabbage, broccoli and kale in your diet as often as possible, since these vegetables are promoting your health in so many ways.
If you consume these steam-cooked vegetables on a regular basis, you will lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer and improve your overall health.
Eat Kale to Support Natural Detoxification
Foods that support detoxification of both phases are crucial for your body’s daily removal of dangerous substances from your body. First phase detoxification is when the toxic ingredients are broken down to smaller particles, and second phase detoxification is when the toxins which are broken down are carried out of your body.
Some foods support only phase 1 detoxification, leaving thus the broken-down toxins accumulated in your body. But kale and the isothiocyanites (ITCs) it contains support both phases of detoxification. The George Mateljan Foundation says:
Moreover, the incredibly large numbers of sulfur compounds in kale have been proven to support aspects of phase two detoxification that need to be performed in the presence of sulfur.
It is confirmed that kale promotes both phases of detoxification and its ingredients give an edge up to our body to fight with the toxins, whether they come from the food or from the environment.
Kale earns Its Reputation as a Superfood
Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables. It is abundant in zeaxanthin and lutein at more that 26 mg combined per serving, for starters. Out of all carotenoids, zeaxanthin and lutein are the only ones that are present in your retina, which has the highest amount of fatty acids compared to any other tissue in your body.
This is in light of the fact that your retina is a highly light and oxygen rich environment and large amounts of free radicals scavengers are needed to prevent the oxidative damage made there.
It is thought that your body accumulates lutein and zeaxanthin in your retina in order to perform this duty and that is why if you consume these antioxidants you can help your body in fighting some eye problems like age-related macular degeneration.
And when it comes to calcium, a cup of calcium provides you 90 milligrams in a highly bio-available form. A study on the topic of bio-availability of calcium has discovered that the calcium from kale is 25 percent easier to absorb than the calcium fro the milk. What are the rest of the benefits of consuming kale?
-it contains great amounts of beneficial flavonoids, including 32 phenolic compounds and three hydroxycinnamic acids that balance the level of healthy cholesterol and scavenge free radicals
-it has strong anti-inflammatory features that help in prevention of arthritis, autoimmune diseases and heart diseases
-it is rich in plant-based omega-3 fats that are part of the cell membranes and protect the heart from diseases and stroke, and they regulate the blood clotting
Choose Organic Kale When You Can
When you buy kale, make sure that is has firm and deeply colored leaves and that its stems are hard. Avoid buying kale that is not fresh and has yellow or brown leaves with holes on them. The smaller the leaves of the kale, the tender and milder the plant is. If you have the conditions needed, grow your own kale, and if you cannot do that, make sure you buy organic kale that has not been sprayed with pesticides and toxins. The Environmental Working Group has conducted a research that detected 51 pesticides on kale, some of them labeled as highly toxic. When you store it, put the kale in plastic storage bags and then in the refrigerator, unwashed. Also, make sure you remove the air from the bags. However, avoid storing it and try to consume it as soon as you can, to avoid the bitter taste it gets with time.