Yes, we realize kale is over marketed, over exposed and just plain out there. It’s on the cover of every health driven magazine, blog and website and on the tongue of every person you would never believe to even know what it is. They say it cures this and prevents that and the more I hear, the less I believe it. It is just to many over the top claims for one green leafy veggie.
Some friends of mine have actually banned it in their homes because they are so sick of hearing about it. I can’t blame them. It seems that whenever something good comes along, the press, the news, other media push it down our throats.
Well, after some research, it seems that all the hype has justification!
- Key for brain development - True
- Manages blood sugar - True
- Protects against macular degeneration and cataracts - True
- Promotes heart health - True
- Reduces risk of stroke - True
- Strengthens bones - True
- Prevents constipation and promotes healthy digestive tract - True
- Hair and skin health - True
- Lowers cholesterol - True
Yes, all this. But what about the claim that kale has the ability to protect against cancer. That is a bold statement. Could it be a cancer killer, a sleeping giant in the world of media puffery?
Here’s what we found out:
Kale's risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits. (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38)
Kale is a rich source of organosulfur compounds, which have been shown to reduce the risk of many cancers,1 especially one of the most deadly forms, colon cancer.2 The cancer-protective compounds in kale have thus been the subject of intense research, particularly their role in blocking the growth of cancer cells and inducing cancer cell death (apoptosis).
Organosulfur compounds known as glucosinolates are present in the cruciferous vegetables of the Brassica genus. These compounds are broken down into potent anticancer compounds called isothiocyanates in the body, which are powerful inducers of cancer-destroying enzymes and inhibitors of carcinogenesis.3 Now, scientists have found that sulforaphane, a glucosinolate formed when kale is chopped or chewed, works by altering gene expression, helping to clear carcinogenic substances from the body more quickly. It is believed that sulforaphane triggers the liver to produce detoxification enzymes called phase II enzymes, which help neutralize cancer-causing substances.4-6 Such beneficial enzymes induced by kale and other cruciferous vegetables include quinone reductase4 and glutathione-S-transferase.5 In experimental studies of cancer formation, quinone reductase has been shown to dose-dependently inhibit the growth of cancer cells.