Friday, February 3, 2012

Does Your Body Hurt? Do You Feel Sick? Want To Prevent Disease? Start Eating Foods That Heal: #1: KALE!!!! (and RECIPES!)

As you know I'm a huge fan of the concept of addressing chronic pain issues and other inflammatory diseases (Arthritis, Acute Muscle Strains, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Cancer) with dietary change to improve healing and reduce pain!  I've written on my own journey with anti-inflammatory foods here and here, as well as shared with you some anti-inflammatory foods for kids AND a list of anti-oxidant foods to promote healthy skin!  

But lets face it, those lists can be really confusing!  Its just too much information sometimes.  So I've decided to start a post series focussing weekly on ONE powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory food that HEALS!  I'll share why each food rocks and give you some recipe options to try to prepare it!  Even better, I'll get feedback (hopefully) in the comments from all of you with other tasty ideas for preparing the "Food That Heals!"

This week the magic food is:  KALE!!!

Its one of my favorites--pretty much since I went to the farmers market last summer and kale was on sale for 1 pound for $1.  I had no idea how much kale weighed, so I told the man:  "I'll have 5 lbs!"  Oh boy, thats a lot of kale!!! Wowsers.  So I started cooking it. And liking it!  Then in Dr. Esselstyn's book Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease, Ann Esselstyn also extolled the virtues of kale.  And so on and so forth.  Dr. Joel Fuhrman's nutrition density scale ranks it #1 out of 20,000 foods according to PeerTrainer.

Kale makes it on every anti-inflammatory, antioxidant list because it is chock full of nutrients.  Lets review what those are!  Remember, I'm not a nutritionist.  I'm a doctor learning how food interacts with the body systems I've studied in minute detail! 

A great article in the Huffington post on kale is here.

Kale's Antioxidant value centers on:
Anti-inflammatory power (many antioxidants also double as anti-inflammatory agents):
Other fantastic nutritional benefits include:
  • Magnesium, Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Calcium, copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus
  • FIBER:  5 grams per cup!
  • and MORE!  Check out this link for more details!
What diseases is Kale thought to prevent, reduce or improve:
  • Reduces Pain significantly if eaten on a regular basis like all cruciferous vegetables.  Check out Dr. Neal Barnard's book: "Foods That Fight Pain"
  • Helps lower cholesterol (due to the fiber's effect on bile acids--this effect is maximized when kale is cooked!)
  • Helps reduce heart disease (by absorbing fat through the bile acid binding mechanism derived from fiber)
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis (through Vitamin K's role in creating osteocalcin, the protein in bone tissue on which calcium crystalizes"
  • Helps prevent cancer (excellent source of glucosinlate phytonutrients)
IMPORTANT CAVEAT:  Buy Organic Kale whenever possible!!  It is part of the "Dirty Dozen" list of high pesticide foods!!

Here is a sampling of recipes from some of my favorite bloggers and authors:

Ok!  What is YOUR favorite Kale recipe??!!

Any requests for foods for next time?:-)

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  1. Dr. Barnard's book, "Foods That Fight Pain" was one of the first books that I read that actually helped with my pain levels. I took the ELISA/ACT LRA test that he recommends and found out I was allergic to over twenty different foods and chemicals.

    My all time favorite kale recipe is, "Southern Beans and Greens" from Found here:

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this Christy!! Such helpful information! Definitely going to try that recipe! :-)

  2. My favorite kale recipes are Vegetarian Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup and Kale Waldorf Salad. Both recipes can be found on the Whole Foods web site

    1. Thanks so much Kim! I love the Whole Foods site for recipes! Have you searched with the "recipe-finder"--I love that (even have the app on my iPhone) because I can select things like "Gluten-free" and it gives me a lot of recipes!

      I LOVE Tuscan White Bean Soup--can't wait to try that recipe!


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