What are the health benefits of kale? I love kale cooked, raw, steamed or stir fried. It’s amazing stuff! In recent years it has become quite the health food staple. Justifiably so I feel!
These powerful compounds are found ubiquitously in cruciferous vegetables, and are particularly high in kale. When we consume glucosinolates, we convert them into a secondary group of compounds called isothiocyanates. These compounds have been dubbed anticancer compounds because of the effects they can have upon our cells and some of the metabolic stress that they can suffer. Isothiocyanate’s can deliver anti-inflammatory activities by reducing the conversion of arachidonic acid into series 2 prostaglandins that stimulate and exacerbate inflammation. They can also increase our cells production of their own in built antioxidant and house keeping enzymes – Super Oxide Dismutase, and Glutathione Peroxidase. They are also believed to protect genes agains damage that may instigate genetic changes that influence cell division. This may though be in part due to their influence on SOD and GP.
Kale is incredibly high in the vital mineral calcium. Whilst it is true that calcium’s the main structural component within the skeleton, it is actually one of the least important from a nutritional point of view. That may sound daft but hear me out. I like to use the analogy of bricks on a building site. Sure, they are what everything is made from, but without a team of builders, they are just going to sit there. The same is true of calcium. Calcium needs a whole host of other nutrients to actually utilise it in the laying down of skeletal tissue. Calcium needs magnesium, vitamin D, boron, copper, phosphorous. Kale, aside from having reasonable levels of calcium in, is also dense in magnesium and phosphorous, to further add to its bone building benefit.
Kales dark green colour means that kale is incredibly rich in chlorophyll. Where there is chlorophyll, there is magnesium. Chlorophyll is basically the same structurally as human haemoglobin. It is made up of four proteins bound together. In Human haemoglobin there is iron bound to each protein. In chlorophyll, there is a magnesium bound to each protein. So, the darker the green, the more chlorophyll, the more magnesium. Aside from the benefits to skeletal health, magnesium is beneficial for muscular issues too. Magnesium, and calcium work in tandem in muscle tissue. Calcium causes muscle to contract, whereas magnesium causes it to relax. Any kind of muscle cramp or spasm will always benefit from additional magnesium, as it will encourage muscular relaxation.