Kale

Health Benefits:

  1. antioxidant nutrients
  2. anti-inflammatory nutrients
  3. anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates

Kale: Disease Prevention Research

The cruciferous vegetable family is well represented among those plants with the most evidence for disease prevention. Within the cruciferous or brassica family, there are varying levels of those phytonutrients responsible for these benefits. Kale contains a variety of sulfur-based molecules with extensive supporting clinical and animal research that demonstrates significant anti-cancer benefits. Whether preventing cancer initiation or stopping cancer growth, kale is among the most studied with respect to its relationship to the etiology of numerous forms of cancer.

The phytonutrient sulforaphane, isothiocyanates, and indole-3-carbinol are all found in kale. The liver’s Phase II detoxification pathways is accelerated by sulforaphane and this may explain the increased clearance of estrogen metabolites by those women consuming cruciferous vegetables. The accelerated clearance of estrogen metabolites has been associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk. Though different mechanisms are involved, there are also inverse relationships between cruciferous vegetables ad ovarian and lung cancers.

In addition to the anti-cancer properties of kale, it is also anti-inflammatory and have relatively high anti-oxidant properties as well. Kaempferol is a potent anti-inflammatory phytonutrient found in kale at high levels. This inflammation-blocking property is most likely an integral part of the cardio-protective mechanism that has also been demonstrated with respect to brassica or cruciferous vegetable consumption.


 

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