Kale. By now you’ve heard about kale, and since you’re reading this article you’ve probably even tried it in a juice or as a dried chip. But in case you haven’t, allow me to put it this way: this is a “nutritionists’ dream.”
If you’re into paleo, plant-based diets or just want more green in your life, you’ll be excited about what Dr. Joel Fuhrman had to say about this cousin to the mustard green and cabbage: it outranks every other food on his aggregate nutrient density index (watercress and collards followed closely behind — but more on them in another article). But Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the first one to praise diets rich in kale . . .
BEFORE THE SCOTS HAD POTATOES (A NEW WORLD FOOD, AFTER ALL) THEY ATE KALE . . .
and so did the Greeks and Romans. From salads to garnish, it has a few different food-traditions depending on the country.
Technically, t’s a ‘brassica’ — a category of veggies that includes the coles, cabbages and caulis (as in cauliflower). Some say it’s actually a primitive cabbage and has been eaten for thousands of years.
In fact, many food historians credit the Romans with “inventing” it!
Being resistant to cold, it is easy to grow in the winter — so if things are bad, you kind of know that kale will be around (in fact, it’s credited with saving a contestant in the Discovery Channel show “Lost and Alone”). Additionally, its high levels of an amazing array of vitamins make it a valuable vegetable as well.
“IF POPEYE WERE AROUND TODAY, HE’D PREFER KALE.” – STEVE
- Vitamin C: it has 1100% more than spinach. It’s also higher in calories, omega-3 fatty acids, and ridiculously higher in A, C and K and calcium (kale has 150 mg of calcium per 100 g, while milk has 125 mg )!
• The French consider it to be one of the lost & forgotten vegetables (légumes oubliés, so they say). Why? For over a century it had fallen out of fashion (apparently the French fell in love with the savoy cabbage instead . . . go figure). World War II changed that because it was a favorite among the British as a supplement in their rationed diets.
• In America, however, kale is ‘the new trendy upstart vegetable.’ Before it’s renaissance throughout local farmer’s markets it was largely consumed by “commune types” (yep, hippies), and the majority of the nation had no clue what it was.
But, wow, it’s come a long way: now the champion of major foodies for both its nutrient density and ‘status signaling.’ Like arugula and endive, in ‘food-snooty circles’ it’s kinda a litmus-test as-to what kind of eater you are.
In fact, when the New York Times printed an article about its popularity in 2013, they interviewed Bo Muller-Moore, the one responsible for the “Eat More Kale” t-shirts. The New York Times asked him whether he agreed that it is “a symbol of a certain kind of artisanal, ecological lifestyle”. He said you could “tell a lot about a person just based on whether they even know what kale is…”
And that was just in 2013 — today, it’s everywhere — even at steak restaurants in Dallas and beyond. From massaged salads to raw vegan chips, most grocers carry it these days. They’d be crazy not to.
COUNTDOWN TO 5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD SHARE KALE WITH SOMEONE YOU LOVE
- It might lower the risk of cancer.
- There is evidence that it lowers risks of heart disease (1 out of every 4 people will die due to coronary heart disease … so, perhaps we all should be taking note).
- Kale juice in particular is believed to improve coronary artery health. According to a study in the journal of Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, men who drink just 4oz of the juice every day for 12 weeks find that their cholesterol levels have decreased.
Getting the picture, eh?
- Men’s Health Magazine did a write up on Kale for its ability to assist in maintaining muscle mass.
- It makes bones stronger (via absorbable vitamin K — especially when combined with it’s natural calcium (see above)).
Bonus 1: Kale protects Your DNA! (confession: I don’t really understand how)
Bonus 2: Restore Fasting Glucose Levels!
And this is, researchers think, due to the kinds of fiber it’s naturally rich in. So, seriously consider adding kale to your diet if you’re having issues with balancing your blood sugar (of course, in consultation with your doctor).
HERE’S WHERE YOU CAN HELP. . .
For two years, I’ve scoured the internet seeking sources that can back up the health and benefit claims of fruits, vegetables, and supplements (sometimes called “boost”).
In the chart below are the health claims I and others have discovered about kale. Where you see a footnote, you’ll find a link to the source. If there is not a footnote, then that means that the specific health claim is made, but neither I or anyone I know has been able to locate sources of research or anecdote to back up the claim.
So, if you are aware of a direct source of research or anecdotes to back up the claims, please post them in the comments. I’ll check them out and if they meet our standards, I’ll make sure that they’re included in the next edition of the blog and give you a shout-out!
Reported Health Benefit Claims of Kale:
Helps prevent Alzheimer's disease
Promotes eye health 
Blood pressure 
So how are you making your life more kalelicious? Please share what you think in a comment below!
And on today with Dr. Davis. It’s time to talk about Kale.
Kale is one of the big “superfoods.” And when we talk about superfoods, it’s just kind of a name people give to nutritionally dense foods. It’s not like it’s a technical term, it’s marketing hype.
It’s not something that scientists or nutritionist have created this category called superfoods.
[Kale’s] in the cruciferous family. And when we talk about cruciferous vegetables, we’re going to talk about a group of vegetables like kale and brussels sprouts and broccoli and cauliflower.
And these are vegetables that are sulfur containing vegetables. That’s why if you ever have leftover Brussels sprouts in the refrigerator and you open that container it really so . . . “aromatic.” Yeah. Because of the sulfur content. It’s “sulfurathane” and it has antioxidant and anticancer properties, it’s also an anti-inflammatory, absolutely.
As an anti-inflammatory, it’s a second pathway of the liver for detoxification. So for example, when I had Crohn’s disease, I was placed on a lot of sulfur drugs.
And so it’s a natural occurring [anti-inflamitory] that will help with all of that. So if someone has Crohn’s or colitis or some other inflammation disease, then Kale would be a great source of nutrients that could help soothe that.
It’s also an anticancer food. It’s got a lot of different nutrients in it. One of the big nutrients is magnesium (all the green leafy vegetables are high in magnesium). Magnesium of course, is great for the relaxation of muscles and vascular system. It lowers blood pressure, is good for a workout recovery, and for relaxing before going to bed.
And magnesium works as a cofactor for over 300 different enzymes in the body. So it basically helps these enzymes work in the body. This means that it works in every cell in the body.
Kale, is just one of those super foods, but even though it’s a marketing term Kale is not just hype.