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Monday, March 5, 2012

The Delicious Bennies of Eating Kale & Brussel Sprouts

Do you hate eating greens?  As a kid I hated eating veggies.  They didn't taste good because there was no dough, sugar, or artificial flavoring in them.  When I got to college one of my roommates loved deep frying everything and anything, so I started eating fried cauliflower and broccoli - usually after pounding several Natty Lights at Mary Ann's....Ooof!  But today I eat a TON of veggies and greens, not deep fried, and I truly enjoy eating them.   Two of my favs right now are kale and brussell sprouts.  In this blog I will provide the pros and cons of eating these two delicious greens and how I cook them.

KALE



Kale is not only one of the more beautiful cruciferous vegetables, but it also one of the most nutritious. Here are nine reasons to eat kale, and eat it often.
Diet and Digestion 
One cup of kale has only 36 calories and zero grams of fat, which makes it a great diet aid. Furthermore, one cup contains nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar and curbs overeating. Finally, kale contains the glucosinolate isothiocyanate (ITC) that fights the formation of H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori), a bacterial growth in the stomach lining that can lead to gastric cancer.
Antioxidants
Kale is a superstar in the arena of carotenoids and flavonoids, two powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals that cause oxidative stress. The key flavonoids kaempferol and quercitin (not to dismiss the 45 other distinctive flavonoids in kale) have also been shown to specifically fight against the formation of cancerous cells. With the addition of high doses of well-known antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese, kale is certainly a smart choice in the battle against cellular oxidation.
Anti-Inflammatory 
One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids that helps regulate the body’s inflammatory process. A megadose ofvitamin K further aids to fight against excessive inflammatory-related problems, such as arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and asthma.
Cancer 
Not only do kale's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities work together to prevent and even combat cancer, a healthy diet of kale also provides glucosinolates, which have been shown to prevent colon, breast, bladder, prostate, ovarian cancers, as well as gastric cancer.
Cardiovascular Support
The high fiber content of kale lowers our cholesterol by binding with bile acids that the liver produces from cholesterol for digesting fat. Because many of these bile acids are coupled with fiber, the liver is charged with producing more bile acid to digest fat, and therefore requires more cholesterol to so, ultimately lowering the amount of cholesterol within our bodies.
Detox 
The isothiocyanates (ITC) from glucosinolates found in kale aid in both phases I and II of the body’s detoxification process. The high sulfur content of kale has further been shown essential for phase II of detoxification.
Vitamin K 
Kale provides a whopping dose of vitamin K (providing 1327% of the RDA in one cup), which is necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin, a protein that strengthens the composition of our bones. Vitamin K also prevents calcium build-up in our tissue that can lead to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Finally, vitamin K is essential for synthesizing sphingolipid, the fat needed to maintain the myelin sheath around our nerves, and therefore our nervous system as a whole. Vitamin A With over 192% of the RDA of vitamin A, one cup of kale is an effective antioxidant, boosts immunity, maintains healthy bones and teeth, prevents urinary stones, and is essential to our reproductive organs. Vitamin C - Vitamin C, which one cup of kale heartily provides (over 88% of our RDA), is not only a powerful antioxidant, but also lowers blood pressure, ensures a healthy immune system, and fights against age-related ocular diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

Brussel Sprouts

Like many of its vegetable brethren in the cruciferous family, Brussels sprouts contain not only essential nutrients for our bodies, but also a few more health benefits that make eating them that much more enjoyable.
Here are eleven reasons that make Brussels sprouts taste even better.
Cholesterol 
The high fiber content (over 15% of our RDA) of Brussels sprouts lowers our cholesterol by binding with bile acids that the liver produces from cholesterol for digesting fat. Because many of these bile acids are coupled with fiber, the liver is charged with producing more bile acid to digest fat, and therefore requires more cholesterol to do so, ultimately lowering the cholesterol amount within our bodies.
DNA 
Recent studies have shown that certain compounds in Brussels sprouts block the activity of sulphotransferase enzymes that can be detrimental to the health and stability of DNA within white blood cells.

Antioxidants
A host of antioxidant ingredients are found in Brussels sprouts, including Vitamins C, E, and A, as well as the mineral manganese. Furthermore, flavonoid antioxidants like isorhamnetin, quercitin, and kaempferol also serve well to protect against oxidative stress on the body's cells.
Inflammation 
Glucobrassicin, a glucosinolate particularly abundant in Brussels sprouts, has been shown to fight inflammation on a genetic level once converted into the molecule indole-3-carbinol, or ITC. Furthermore, one and a half cups of Brussels sprouts contain about 430 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids (about ⅓ of the daily recommended amount) that are an essential part of our body's anti-inflammatory messaging molecules. Finally, the wealth of vitamin K found in Brussels sprouts has been shown to effectively regulate our body's inflammatory responses.

Cancer Prevention 
Glucosinolates in Brussels sprouts and their detox-activating isothiocyanates are shown to fight against and even prevent various cancers, including bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, and ovarian cancer.

Cardiovascular Support 
Brussels sprouts contain the isothiocyanate sulforaphane made from glucosinolates. This powerful compounds not only triggers anti-inflammatory activity in our cardiovascular system but may also prevent and even possibly help reverse blood vessel damage. By regulating inflammation within the body, Brussels sprouts can fight against the onset of heart attacks, ischemic heart disease, and arteriosclerosis. Furthermore, the lowered cholesterol mentioned earlier may also lessen the possibility of arterial blockage.

Digestion and Diet
One cup of Brussels sprouts contains four grams (16% of the RDA) of dietary fiber, which can aid in digestion, prevent constipation, maintain low blood sugar and check overeating. The sulforaphane found in Brussels spouts also protects our stomach lining by obstructing the overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that can lead to gastric cancer.

Vitamin K
Brussels sprouts are especially high in vitamin K (one cup contains 273.5% of the RDA), which promotes healthy bones, prevents calcification of the body’s tissues, serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, and is essential for proper brain and nerve function.
Vitamin C 
The nutritional benefits of vitamin C (one cup contains over 161% of the RDA) found in Brussels sprouts ensure a healthy immune system, ward against hyper tension, lower blood pressure, fight lead toxicity, combat cataracts, and serve as a powerful antioxidant that prevents “cellular rust,” which can lead to atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Vitamin A Brussels sprouts also contains over 20% of the RDA of vitamin A that boosts immunity, protects eyes against cataracts and macular degeneration, maintains healthy bones and teeth, prevents urinary stones, and is essential to our reproductive organs.Folate A biochemical event called the methylation cycle relies on folate to properly transcribe DNA, transform norepinephrine into adrenalin, as well as transform serotonin into melatonin. Furthermore, folate suppresses the amino acid homocysteine that has been shown to contribute to heart disease. One cup of Brussels sprouts contains a healthy dose of folate (almost 25% of the RDA) and the health benefits associated with it.

Enjoy!

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