Kale: it’s everywhere. From smoothies to sweatshirts , the health set have gone kale crazy, but for good reason? We quizzed nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik on whether kale is as wholesome as it is fashionable...
What makes kale so nutritious? Does it deserve its 'superfood' status?
Kale is undoubtedly one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Packed full of vitamins and minerals that include very high levels of vitamin K and an excellent source of vitamin A and C, it also contains various secondary phytochemical nutrients that can have further positive impact on our health.
Would certain people benefit especially from adding kale to their diet?
We can all benefit to be honest! Because it contains such high levels of vitamin K this helps with blood clotting and bone health. Furthermore the antioxidant compounds in kale are entirely necessary for most of us that are faced with daily factors that can increase oxidative stress so it is essential to counterbalance these through the diet, and kale can be a great option. If supporting healthy skin is also a priority, then kale could be just the tonic , as its vitamin C content helps to synthesise the production of collagen.
I've heard a lot about kale negatively affecting thyroid function. What's the truth in this respect? Should some people avoid it?
Kale is one of the foods that can have goitrogenic effects that means it can disrupt thyroid functioning, but this is only in its raw state and when consumed in very large quantities. It is unlikely to interfere with the thyroid if you are a healthy person and are consuming average amounts. That being said, having lots and lots of green juices and kale salads where it is served raw rather than cooked can be too much for someone who may already have thyroid issues. This isn’t always the case but like anything, don’t be fixated on one single food. Too much of anything can potentially have its drawbacks.
Are there any other health drawbacks to consuming kale?
If you are taking any kind of anticoagulant medication then you should avoid having kale. And for some people who have digestive insufficiencies it may be more difficult to digest in its raw state. Best is to lightly steam and in this case you negate the goitrogenic effects too.
How does kale compare to other greens in terms of health credentials?
It is one of the heroes of the green family. Kale, like other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, contains glucosinolates and derivative isothiocyanates that research has shown help to prevent the growth of cancer cells. Furthermore these compounds help to support the body’s detoxification pathways and activity. Since it also contains high levels of beta-carotene, this provides a potent antioxidant source that helps to reduce oxidative stress.
What's your favourite/ most beneficial way to serve or consume kale?
Lightly steamed through some sweet potato and a tahini dressing is nice or stir fried with garlic and chilli in coconut oil is delicious too. Kale chips are also a bit of a fave!
Does it matter where your kale comes from? Does organic/ where it's grown improve its nutritional profile?
Yes it really does matter as it is one of the hard hitters when it comes to artificial pesticide and herbicide sprays so always make sure that you buy organic. Plus, it's not just about the chemicals, organic also means it will generally contain higher phytochemicals that support the plant immune system and as such our own.
Kale: do you love or loathe it? Let us know below or tweet us @GetTheGloss .
Follow Eve on Twitter and Instagram @EveKalinik
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