MEET KALE: YOUR "NEW FRIEND WITH BENEFITS"
As Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Practitioners, we often recommend nutritionally therapeutic foods and vegetables to our patients. Kale, in particular, is one of those foods we encourage people to "make friends with." It's incredibly nutrient-dense, tastes wonderful, and is beneficial for a wide variety of issues - from lung, to skin, to liver conditions. If you're not already "friendly" with kale, consider taking another look - here's why:
Liver Health: In Chinese Medicine, the "Liver" supports a healthy metabolism and emotional balancing. The Liver organ is known for filtering your blood and detoxifying the body. Kale is rich in sulfur, which supports the Liver’s function of purifying the blood. Kale is also high in Vitamin A, a vital nutrient for healthy Liver function. Vitamin A also helps relieve dryness of aging skin, allergies, dandruff, and dryness of the mouth - and the tissues of the lungs and genitalia. Some studies indicate kale may be preventative against lung and colon cancer due to the compound Sulforaphane which fights cancer at a molecular level.
Protein: Among the vegetables known for protein content, kale and it's cousin broccoli are superior to most - each having 4 grams per serving. Only Brussels sprouts beat them (5 grams per serving). Who would have thought!
Calcium: Calcium is important for the "Yin" in the body, and supports proper nerve, heart, muscle function, and bone and teeth health. Post-menopausal women and older men are especially at risk for low calcium. Eating a good mix of leafy green vegetables - kale included - is a great source of calcium.
Vitamin D, magnesium, chlorophyll, phosphorus and Vitamins C and A are key nutrients that must be present in your body for optimal calcium absorption. Without them, you may not necessarily absorb the calcium when eating calcium dense foods. Kale is the superstar veggie that delivers both calcium AND provides that essential nutrient combination. At a whopping 134 mgs of calcium per serving - Kale beats out milk and yogurt!
Sodium: Kale has a high sodium content. If you’re monitoring your salt intake, you can add kale (instead of salt) to your cooking instead. It’s a more nutritious form of sodium than processed table salt available in the store.
Balanced Digestion: Kale has abundant chlorophyll, a purifying agent that can stop the growth of fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms in the digestive system - and sulfur which is antiparasitic. Additionally, it helps promote the growth of good intestinal flora (probiotics). Since kale is good at balancing the body’s microbial state, it’s helpful during candidiasis.
Heart Health: As a dark-green leafy plant, kale is a good source of alpha-linolenic acid - the omega-3 fatty acid found in plants. Your body converts alpha-linolenic acid into EPA and DHA. Omega-3s are known for their ability to reduce harmful fatty deposits as in arteriosclerosis, heart disease and high blood pressure. Omega-3s also improve blood flow by lowering viscosity, reducing clotting risks and effectively lowering blood pressure.
Cooked not Raw: Okay, so now you're convinced and you want to give it a try -
but, what's the best way!
Kale (like most cruciferous veggies) is best cooked, not raw. Kale contains both progoitrin, a compound that can interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis, and thiocyanate ions, which can crowd out the iodine your thyroid needs. However, once cooked, steamed, sauteed, baked . . . or however you decide to cook it - kale is a superfood!
For a little inspiration, here are some options for cooking kale in all sorts of ways:
So consider making "friends" with kale - your body will thank you!
Phil Veneziano, M.S., L.Ac.
Cristina R. de La Mar, M.S., L.Ac., Doula
Seven Point Wellness is an Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Clinic, located at 187 Millburn Ave., Suite #101 in Millburn, NJ, in the Trader Joe / CVS Business Complex.
We're an easy drive from Maplewood, South Orange, Short Hills, Livingston and most cities in Union, Morris & Essex County, NJ. We're also an easy walk from the NJ Transit via bus or train.
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