3 Cheers for Cruciferous Vegetables! They are proving to be an added health factor in dietary intake. Exciting studies link the kale power house to inhibiting tumor growth “at the top of the cancer-related research for colon cancer and breast cancer, but risk of bladder cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer have all been found to decrease in relationship to routine intake of kale.” While all of this is promising, it is also important to note that some digestive tracks can be more sensitive to the the large amount of Vitamin K and fiber that is present, and therefore is linked to diarrhea as a side effect of kale.
The AARP promotes Kale for nutrition and age related disease, stating the 4 following facts:
“For your eyes: Kale is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, phytochemicals found in the retina, which could help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older people. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation says research has indicated that eating red, orange, yellow and dark green fruits and vegetables, which are high in phytochemicals, seems to have a protective effect against vision loss.
For your immune system: Kale is rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), a powerful antioxidant that may help boost the immune system and possibly protect against some chronic diseases and cancer. At least one study also found that long-term consumption of beta-carotene had cognitive benefits.
For your bones: Kale is is one of the few vegetables with a decent amount of calcium, but it’s especially high inmagnesium — just a cup contains 40 percent of the RDA — which is very important for bone health and to protect against osteoporosis. Magnesium has a crucial job working with vitamin D to help your bones absorb calcium. In addition, research has shown that the vitamin K in kale also contributes to bone health by improving bone density.
For your heart: While recent studies have found that antioxidant supplements, like vitamin E pills, don’t protect against heart disease, foods like kale that are naturally high in antioxidants are definitely heart-healthy, says the Cleveland Clinic. Plus, kale’s magnesium and potassium help lower blood pressure, and its high fiber content can help lower cholesterol — all beneficial factors in lowering your risk of cardiovascular illness.”
Kale maybe substituted for a variety of spinach dishes. Steamed and sautéed are the optimal way to maximize the nutrients within kale and let it work for your body. However, it can be boiled and then seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and served on the side.
Green or Cruciferous Vegetables of all types are a key source of specialized chemical signals that our immune systems use to self-communicate. Four servings of cruciferous foods throughout the week will enrich the overall health of your body and promotes a sound mind.
INGREDIENTS 1 bunch is 6 servings
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 1 bunch of Kale (cut into bite size pieces.)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt to taste
- 1/4 cup water
- 6 Tablespoons parmesan cheese (optional)
- 6 teaspoons pine nuts (optional)
In a frying pan add olive oil, garlic and onion. Place on medium heat and allow
onion to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, wash kale leaves and remove access water. Cut leaves into bite size pieces. (May remove or keep center stem.) Add kale to frying pan, rotate leaves, combining with oil until well coated, add salt, reduce temperature to medium low, add water. Cover and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Serve on side of meal by itself or with parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
By: Kimberly Crocker Scardicchio
- AARP “Hail Kale why you should….eat it” http://blog.aarp.org/2013/03/25/hail-kale-why-you-should-or-shouldnt-eat-it/
- Indole-3-carbinol inhibits the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase-6 and induces a G1 cell cycle arrest of humanbreast cancer cells independent of estrogen receptor signaling. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9461564 “A component of cruciferous foods inhibits growth of mammary tumors”.
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