Is Kale All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

anthia-koullouros

Anthia Koullouros

Naturopath and Holistic Health Expert

The kale craze has seen health enthusiasts’ blending raw bunches of these fashionable greens into smoothies and juices, with little thought for the goitrogens!

Goitrogens are substances that have thyroid-disrupting compounds and can be found in uncooked cruciferous vegetables, which include kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, broccoli, collard greens, mustard seed and rapeseed. Goitrogens suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake, which can, as a result, cause an enlargement of the thyroid, or an underactive thyroid.

Traditional preparation of these foods (i.e steaming, sautéing or cooking) inactivates the goitrogens to some degree. However, Kale like the rest of the Brassica family has many health giving properties.

kaleimage via pinterest

They provide high amounts of vitamin C, carotenoids and soluble fiber. One study showed that one-cup of cooked kale has over 1000% more vitamin C than a cup of cooked spinach and unlike spinach, kale’s oxalate content is very low which means that the calcium and iron in kale are highly absorbable in the human digestive system.

Contain multiple nutrients with potent anticancer properties:

–  3,3′-diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and selenium. ,3′-diindolylmethane is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with potent antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer activity. It is also anti-androgenic only in hormone sensitive prostate cancer cells. Note: Boiling reduces the level of anticancer compounds, but steaming, and stir-frying does not result in significant loss. In actual fact, steaming the vegetables for three to four minutes is recommended to maximize sulforaphane.

– Rich in indole-3-carbinol, a chemical, which boosts DNA repair in cells in vitro and appears to block the growth of cancer cells in vitro. Although more studies are being conducted worldwide to include a spectrum of factors, indole-3-carbinol was found to impede oestrogen receptors in breast membranes, reducing the risk of breast cancer.

How to eat kale?

– Avoid drinking unnatural amounts of raw kale juice especially if you have an enlarged or underactive thyroid or iodine deficiency. Best to cook it and reduce the amount you consume.

– Kale chips – a delicious treat! Remove the ribs from the kale and toss in extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil and sprinkle with your choice or a combination of cumin, curry powder, chilli powder, sea salt and pepper. Make sure the kale is first dried before mixing. Lay out flat on a baking tray and bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-30 minutes to desired crispness.

 

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