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:
- Vitamin C--according to "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" this vitamin is an "antioxidant that is required for at least three hundred metabolic functions in the body including tissue growth and repair..."
- Vitamin A--protects cells against cancer and other diseases and is necessary for new cell growth
- Carotenoids: lutein and beta-carotene--studies have demonstrated a cancer-preventive function for prostate cancer and colorectal cancer in particular!
- Flavonoids: the big ones in kale are kaempferol & quercitin but there are 45 different flavonoids in kale! Flavonoids are extremely beneficial, check out this paper by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
Anti-inflammatory power (many antioxidants also double as anti-inflammatory agents):
- Vitamin K: interesting study demonstrated that high Vitamin K status is associated with lower inflammatory markers (the agents of inflammation). KEY CAUTION: if you are on coumadin (warfarin) and eat kale or other leafy greens make SURE to talk to your doctor about this to adjust your dose as it can have a dangerous effect on your blood thinners.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids (ALA) (yes! Kale has Omega-3's!)
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)
- Studies that show kale & other cruciferous vegetable's role in preventing colon cancer
- Literature supports reductions in prostate cancer & ovarian cancer with kale as well.
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:
- Healthy Girl's Kitchen's Sri Lankan Kale (I loved this, you can read about it in my post here)
- My New Roots Blog's Winter Slaw (probably my favorite salad of all time, I talked about it here)
- The Fat Free Vegan Kitchen's "Cosmic Cashew Kale and Chickpeas with Confetti Quinoa"
- The Healthy Librarian's Potato & Kale Enchiladas (YUM!)
- Dr. Fuhrman's California Creamed Kale & Kale Fennel Soup
- Ann Esselstyn's Kale & Lemon Sandwiches (from The Healthy Librarian blog)
- Dr. Andrew Weil's Tuscan Kale Salad
- A few recipes for Kale Chips:
Ok! What is YOUR favorite Kale recipe??!!
Any requests for foods for next time?:-)
The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. The Happy Rehab Doc expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site. By visiting this site you agree to the foregoing terms and conditions.