Shakeology Ingredient Education of the Day
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Kale is overflowing with essential nutrients such as calcium, lutein, iron, and Vitamins A, C, and K. Kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein. Kale is rich in chlorophyll and provides much needed fiber so lacking in the daily diet of processed food eating Americans. Kale can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in kale do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw kale still has cholesterol-lowering ability—just not as much.
The naturally rich sulfur content of kale deserves to be included into a healthy diet. Researchers have discovered that sulforaphane; helps boost the body’s detoxification enzymes, potentially by altering gene expression. This is turn is purported to help clear carcinogenic substances in a relatively timely manner. Sulforaphane is formed when cruciferous vegetables such as kale are chopped or chewed. This triggers the liver to produce natural enzymes which function to detoxify cancer causing chemicals, to which we all are exposed on a daily basis. A relatively new study published in the Journal of Nutrition (2004) demonstrates that sulforaphane helps stop breast cancer cell proliferation. Kale should be considered a regular part of the diet, especially for the ladies.
- Cancer fighting – Recently extended to 5 types of cancer fighting abilities, these types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.
- Detoxification system – New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.
- Antioxidant – Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale which gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Anti-Inflammatory – – It only takes 100 calories of kale to provide over 350 milligrams for the most basic omega-3 fatty acid
- Glucosinolates – Kale is a top food source for at least four glucosinolates, and once kale is eaten and digested, these glucosinolates can be converted by the body into cancer preventive compounds.
- Cardiovascular – Our liver uses cholesterol as a basic building block to product bile acids. Bile acids are specialized molecules that aid in the digestion and absorption of fat through a process called emulsification. These molecules are typically stored in fluid form in our gall bladder, and when we eat a fat-containing meal, they get released into the intestine where they help ready the fat for interaction with enzymes and eventual absorption up into the body.
One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.
Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.
Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.
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