In the juicing/health world, kale is king. You can find it at nearly every farmer’s market or supermarket in town, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a juice shop that didn’t incorporate kale into one of its juices or smoothies. Dr. Drew Ramsey, a psychiatrist at Columbia University, is an advocate of healthy dieting as a viable treatment of depression, and he believes in the benefits of kale so much that, in 2013, he created a nonprofit that sets aside the first Wednesday of every October to celebrate this leafy green. That’s right. Today is National Kale Day! So, the question is...can kale live up to the hype? As it turns out, kale is dense in nutrients, especially vitamin K; one cup of raw, chopped kale provides over 100% of one’s daily value in vitamin K! And why is vitamin K so important? I’m glad you asked. Here are the top 5 benefits of kale:
- Strengthens Bones: Osteocalcin, a protein required for proper bone formation, is assembled, in part, by vitamin K and a carboxylase enzyme. As a result, some studies suggest that vitamin K can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Protects Heart: Vitamin K is also necessary for the formation of matrix Gla-protein, a molecule that inhibits vascular calcification. A study showed that supplementing meals with kale juice could significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, especially in males with high levels of fat in the blood.
- Promotes Circulation Repair: When blood vessels are damaged, vitamin K goes to work, forming proteins that stop blood loss and signal cell repair.
- Fights Cancer: Kale contains an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid. Not only does alpha-lipoic acid help neutralize carcinogenic free radicals throughout one’s body, but studies suggest that it helps reactivate other antioxidants to do the same.
- Prevents Diabetes: Oxidative stress is common in diabetics, so as an antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid is suited for the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Also, alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in patients with type II diabetes.
That’s not even getting into kale’s other bountiful nutrients, which include vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, and fiber. Kale salad never sounded so good, right? So if you’re near a juice. Nashville shop and want a “salad-on-the-go,” try one of our kale-centric juices sing or love. Health has never tasted so good!
-Michael Guido, Juice Ambassador, BA Biological Sciences, University of Chicago
1. Booth SL, Broe KE, Gagnon DR, Tucker KL, Hannan MT, McLean RR, et al. Vitamin K intake and bone mineral density in women and men.
2. Kim SY, Yoon S, Kwon SM, Park KS, Lee-Kim YC. Kale juice improves coronary artery disease risk factors in hypercholesterolemic men.
3. Institute of Medicine. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin A, vitamin K, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc.
4. Packer L, Witt EH, Tritschler HJ. Alpha-lipoic acid as a biological antioxidant.
5. Packer L, Kraemer K, Rimbach G. Molecular aspects of lipoic acid in the prevention of diabetes complications.