The Food Coach

Healthy Food Database - Kale

A member of the cabbage family, kale is native to the UK and Eastern Mediterranean countries. There are many varieties of both curly and smooth leaved kale. Kale has is a hardy plant and is grown in the most unforgiving climates. For a plant to survive, it must produce enough antioxidants to protect itself from both predators and the environment and it's these antioxidants that help to protect us.
In a nutshell, here are just a few reasons why we should all be eating more kale
It contains isothioctanates which reduce the risk of developing cancer. Specifically bladder, breast, colon, ovarian and prostate.

Steamed, it is particularly good for binding together bile acids in the digestive tract to lower LDL cholesterol.

Isothioctanates in kale also act to detoxify the body.

Plant chemicals and nutrients in kale have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. They prevent cells aging and reduce inflammation which otherwise could lead to arthritis and other inflammatory disease.

It's also a very good source of fibre, vitamin B6, and potassium, and bone-healthy copper and calcium.
Category: Vegetable
In Season: Autumn Winter
To Buy: Look for kale with the other green leafy vegetables at the greengrocer. It has tougher leaves than spinach and strong pale green stalks. Avoid leaves that are shriveled, wilted, or been damages by insects. Choose smaller bunches as they will be more tender than the large coarse leaves.
To Store: The longer you store kale, the stronger its flavour becomes. Use within a day or two of purchase to ensure peak freshness. Wrap unwashed kale in damp paper towels in a plastic bag and store in the vegetable crisper.
Tips & Tricks: Kale is a good source of iron, but because iron is hard to absorb from a plant source it should be eaten with a Vitamin C rich food ie tomatoes, lemon, capsicum.

Nutrition (1 Cup):

Weight (grams): 137
Carbohydrates, g: 1.5
Protein (g): 4.4
Saturated Fat, g : 0.0
Vitamin A: Often called the "anti-infective" vitamin, it protects the mucous membranes of the body, reducing chance of infection and enhancing the immune system's response. Necessary for growth and maintenenance of bones, teeth and body tissues and healthy foetal development, this vitamin is also important for night vision.

Contraindications:
Taken in excess will accumulate in the body.
Niacin (B3):
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is used in the body to control blood clotting and is essential for synthesizing the liver protein that controls the clotting. It is involved in creating the important prothrombin, which is the precursor to thrombin - a very important factor in blood clotting. It is also involved in bone formation and repair. In the intestines it also assists in converting glucose to glycogen, this can then be stored in the liver. There are some indications that Vitamin K may decrease the incidence or severity of osteoporosis and slow bone loss. 

Contraindications:
Be careful not to take too much Vitamin K in the last stages of pregnancy, since it could be toxic for the baby.
Folic Acid: Important during pregnancy as this vitamin is involved in the duplication of chromosomes, preventing birth defects. Lowers the risk of heart disease and is necessary for proper brain and gut function.
Magnesium: Involved in energy production and proper functioning of muscles and nerves, magnesium also promotes the absorption of other minerals and promotes blood vessel dilation and lowers the risk of blood clots.
Amines: Amines come the breakdown or fermentation of proteins. High amounts are found in cheese, chocolate, wine, beer and yeast extracts. Smaller amounts are present in some fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, avocados, bananas.

For those with sensitivities, low foods are almost never a problem, moderate and high foods may cause reactions, depending on how sensitive you are and how much is eaten. Very high foods will most often cause unwanted symptoms in sensitive individuals. No information available
Glutamates: Glutamate is found naturally in many foods, as part of protein. It enhances the flavour of food, which is why foods rich in natural glutamates such as tomatoes, mushrooms and cheeses are commonly used in meals. Pure monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used as an additive to artificially flavour many processed foods, and should be avoided, especially in sensitive individuals as it can cause serious adverse reactions. n/a
Energy (kJ): 152
Fibre, g:
Fat (g): 0.4
Monosaturated Fat , g: 0.0
Vitamin B2: Aids in the metabolism of fats, protein and carbohydrate. Also involved in maintaining mucous membranes and body tissues, good vision and health of skin.
Vitamin C: Antioxidant, anti inflammatory and immune-boosting, this vitamin has a range of uses. Is essential for collagen formation, therefore plays a role in wound healing. Fights infection and protects against free radical damage. Vitamin C helps maintain normal cholesterol levels, promotes the absorption of iron and counters the effects of stress as it is concentrated in the adrenal glands.

Contraindications:
Large doses can cause diaorrhea or gas.
Calcium: The most abundant mineral in the body, calcium is essential for health of bones and teeth, and also for nerve transmission, cardiovascular health, muscle contraction and blood clotting.
Potassium: Needed for normal growth and muscle and nerve contraction. Together with sodium regulates water and fluid balance in the body.
Antioxidants:
Salicylates: Naturally occurring plant chemicals found in several fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs and spices, jams, honey, yeast extracts, tea and coffee, juices, beer and wines. Also present in flavourings, perfumes, scented toiletries and some medications.

For those with sensitivities, low foods are almost never a problem, moderate and high foods may cause reactions, depending on how sensitive you are and how much is eaten. Very high foods will most often cause unwanted symptoms in sensitive individuals. Safe/negligible amount

Cooking:

Cooking Tips: Because kale is a tougher, more fibrous plant than spinach it takes slightly longer to cook. Trim the stalks as they can taste quite unpleasant. Kale can be boiled, cooked in stock, steamed or added to stir-fries.

Benefits the Following Health Conditions:*

Arthritis
Eye Problems
High Blood Cholesterol
Inflammation
Osteoporosis
Detoxifying
Cold and Flus
Heart Disease
Immune Deficiencies
Malnutrition
Premature Aging

* This information is sourced by a qualified naturopath. It is non prescriptive and not intended as a cure for the condition. Recommended intake is not provided. It is no substitute for the advice and treatment of a professional practitioner.

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