Kale -- The Superfood Nutrition Status... it's not just a garnish!

 by Catherine Ebeling - RN, BSN & Mike Geary - Certified Nutrition Specialist
co-authors - The Fat Burning Kitchen program

nutrition of kaleEver wonder what those mystery greens are adorning your plate and the salad bar? Those dark blue-green curly edged greens are the superfood kale. Yes, many people don't realize it, but kale is edible. And not only is it edible, it is very tasty if used right and one of the most nutrition-packed vegetables that you can eat! 

Why is Kale a Nutrition Superfood? Well...

Kale belongs to the same plant family as the sulphur-containing vegetables broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and collard greens. Kale is great for protecting your health, providing you with a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and preventing cancer.

The ten to fifteen organosulphur compounds these superfood vegetables contain have been proven to be highly effective against many cancers, including stomach cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

When these vegetables are chopped or chewed, enzymes in the liver are triggered to produce enzymes that disable cancer-causing agents in the body.  Studies have shown that animals that ate these sulphuric compounds found in brussels sprouts, cabbage, and collard greens had tumors that shrunk in size. 

In addition to the powerful organosulphurs that help to safeguard against cancer, kale also protects the eyes with the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. These phytochemicals help protect the eyes against damage from the sun and ultraviolet light and prevent cataracts. One study actually showed that people who had a diet rich in carotenoids had up to a 50% less risk for cataracts.

Kale also ranks really high up there for its large amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, B6, manganese, calcium, copper, and potassium !

While one cup of kale only has 36 calories, it provides 192% of the daily value of vitamin A, and since this is a plant source of vitamin A, you cannot overdose on it.

That same cup of kale also provides almost 90% of your daily value of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a top free-radical scavenger, preventing damage inside and outside of the cells. Vitamin C helps to reduce damage from inflammation (one of the primary causes of heart disease and autoimmune diseases), help to oxidize cholesterol , fight infections, and strengthen and renew collagen in our skin for a healthy youthful appearance.

Manganese is a trace mineral that is important for the synthesis of fatty acids necessary for sex hormones and the nervous system.  It also helps to metabolize and utilize energy from protein and carbohydrates , making it the perfect fat-burning element.

The calcium in kale when combined with the vitamin A and the vitamin K2 in grass fed butter is highly utilized by the body and works to reverse osteoporosis and strengthen bones. It is one of the best ways to keep your bones and teeth strong and also keep your blood vessels clean.

Did you know that three servings of dark green leafy vegetables a day can slow mental decline that comes with age? Kale and other green leafy vegetables can slow this decline by a whopping 40%! This decrease has been compared to reversing age by about 5 years.  A great vegetable that makes you function as if you are 5 years younger-what could be better!

And there’s even more that kale is good for... kale contains a phytochemical called indole-3-carbinol (I3C), that actually lowers the liver’s  secretion of a chemical that normally transports LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) to tissues and blood vessels.  I3C has also been shown in studies to help fight the effects of xenoestrogens that make belly fat stubborn. Other cruciferous veggies can help fight abdominal fat too.

Kale is a dark, bluish-green leafy vegetable with curly leaves and firm stalks. Look for kale that is not limp or wilted.  For best taste, choose the kale with smaller leaves, since they have a milder taste. 

Kale can be chopped up raw and added to salads in small amounts or sautéed lightly with olive oil, grass fed butter and a squeeze of lemon and garlic. Or try braising chopped kale with chopped tart apples. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and serve with walnuts sprinkled on top.

Kale is simply a nutrition-packed powerhouse vegetable that you cannot pass up, so the next time you see it adorning your plate as a garnish, eat it — its probably one of the most nutritious things on your plate!

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Cat Ebeling & Mike Geary
co-authors - The Fat Burning Kitchen




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