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Category: Nutrition

4 Reasons Why Kale is a True Superfood

By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine

When it comes to healthy vegetables, kale may be among the best. Packing a powerful punch of antioxidants, nutrients and excellent digestive support, its role in optimal wellness is tough to dispute. For anyone still undecided, here are the top 4 reasons to make kale a part of your life.

  1. Kale is jam-packed with vitamins. Eating one cup of chopped kale gets you over 200% of your daily value of vitamin A, 134% of your daily value for vitamin C, and almost 700% of your daily value for vitamin K! In addition, kale contains important minerals like manganese, potassium and copper. 
  2. Kale contains a broad range of antioxidants, and we’re only just beginning to understand all of their effects. For example, the kale antioxidant quercetin has anti-viral properties, and may treat the common cold. The kale carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin concentrate in the eye, and may play a role in preventing optic conditions like macular degeneration and cataract.
  3. Kale contains good fat and fiber. Kale actually contains about 120 mg of Omega-3 fatty acid per cup, far better than most plants. In addition, kale supplies insoluble fiber for our diet, something most Americans are not getting enough of.
  4. Consuming kale may improve your cholesterol profile. Data shows that drinking kale juice may help your lipid profile and perhaps most importantly, kale has been shown to lower the oxidative damage to LDL as described in this important study.  The reduction of oxidation to LDL has important implications in terms of heart disease risk. 

With all these fantastic health benefits, you should consider adding kale to your menu a few times each week. And don’t discount the versatility of this food. You can include kale in soups, quiches, in a sauté or even as a pesto sauce. For anyone just introduced to this vegetable, consider this easy and delicious recipe for kale chips to get you started. As always, try to buy organic when possible!

For more information, order your copy of Grain Brain today and join Dr. Perlmutter’s email list.

  • Peter

    What about the diet advanced by the “FORKS OVER KNIVES” people?

  • Lynn Dell

    We grow our kale. I hear it tilts toward differing benefits depending on whether it is steamed or consumed raw. I am concerned about when vitamin k becomes too much, because when I consume kaIe, I generally have more than one cup.

    • David Perlmutter

      Great choice Lynn!

  • Pingback: What This Superfood Does For You | The Tom Hitchens Community()

  • Patti

    We are interested in adding kale to our diet, but are having this dilemma. We have eaten tasty kale salad, etc., at restaurants and have heard about “delicious” kale smoothies, but when we bring kale home from our local organic grocer, it is invariably bitter. We know there are many varieties of kale. Who can tell us varieties that do not have that bitterness, and are therefore more likely to be consistently added to our table?

    • Joan

      Please contact me at joan4jp@gmail.com. Check out my website and let me know what you think

    • CaroleSpy

      I get organic 100% baby kale in a clear plastic container at Publix. It’s softer than the chopped kale that is very hard (like cabbage) and comes in bags. When I add it to a smoothie, I don’t taste it at all. But I also add 2 TBSP of Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder (only 20 calories), which gives my smoothies a nice chocolate taste.

  • Stephanie

    Is manganese bad for the brain?

  • Aristotle

    Hello Dr. Perlmutter,

    Can you suggest a source for arachidonic acid for someone who cannot consume animal products due to health issues such as testing positive for the ApoE 3/4 genotype test?

    Thank you so much.

  • VickiVDH

    The Atkins diet works through ketosis. Starvation causes ketosis. Does the calorie restrictive diet that enables people to live 10-30% longer utilize ketosis? If so, we can be on the Atkins diet and live a lot longer.

    • Montagu

      VickiVDH, I think that’s a great question too about ketosis + fasting. However, the Atkins diet, or any healthy ketogenic diet, does not require “starvation” or fasting. In my understanding (reading the book “Keto Clarity” right now), it is generated by limiting carbs to very low daily levels based on a variety of high-nutrient, low carb veggies (like kale) while getting sufficient protein but not too much that the excess converts to glucose. You then “eat to satiety” higher amounts of healthy fats, and then you’re not starving while your body still produces ketones. Fasting (occasionally) is another thing altogether, and given the research Dr. P presents, would probably add benefits in addition to being in ketosis.

  • Montagu

    Yay kale! Almost every day for brunch I add 1.5 to 2 leaves of kale to my gently cooked 2-egg omelet. I just tear the leafy part off the hard stems in little pieces using my fingers, piling the kale on top of half-done frying eggs, and then flip my eggs upside down on top of the kale to cook it down. The sturdy, curly fibrous leaves become deliciously soft and mild flavored when sauteed in healthy fat, almost like cooked spinach but with more body. I use virgin coconut oil and/or organic grass fed butter, and I season with delicious spices (I like salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika and a dash of cayenne).

  • Kristi

    …what do you think about Kale for those with thyroid conditions (hypothyroid)?

  • Carolyn

    What do I need to do to grow my own kale? Does homegrown kale taste better than store bought kslr?I am assuming it does.

    • David Perlmutter

      I can’t say I’m an expert on that, but there should be some good resources out there on the subject.

  • Amir

    Everyone talks about vitamins, antioxidants and omega-3. However, the root causes of most chronic diseases is minerals deficiency…

  • Dave Walls

    I’m eating an organic fermented raw slaw, which hats lots of kale in it. It really grows on you. I usually eat two bowls of it a day, and it’s becoming my “go to” snack food.

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