You’ve heard it all before – this super green veggie is packed with nutrients and it ranks the highest on the list of world’s healthiest foods. Nutritionists claim that even spinach cannot come close in comparison to the number of health benefits that kale provides ranging from maintaining healthy skin, hair and strong bones to helping with digestion and lowering the risk for heart disease. It is also said to improve blood glucose in diabetics, lowers the risk of cancer, lower blood pressure, improve bone health, lower the risk of developing asthma and more.
However, it turns out that too much green is not that healthy after all.
According to yoga and wellness guru Lauren Imparato, from New York, there are three main reasons why.
- It’s the hardest vegetable to digest.
A simple comparison of what a cactus does to your skin when you rub against it explains what kale does to your insides when you ingest it. It leads to bloating and produces tons of gas in your stomach. What worsens the problem even more is that kale is popularly consumed raw in salads or smoothies.
- It’s a potential cause for kidney stones.
Being a food abundant in oxalates, it can lead to occurrence of kidney stones. This doesn’t mean that you should give up on kale for good, but be aware that it can lead to build ups which then turn into kidney stones.
- It slows down your metabolism.
Kale can contains goitrogens, which can cause the thyroid gland to enlarge by interfering with thyroid hormone synthesis, generally called hypothyroidism, or an under active thyroid. By affecting your thyroid, which regulates metabolic process, kale in fact affects your metabolism.
Should you still have it in your diet?
If you want to avoid the above mentioned issues and still keep kale on your menu, you should best follow these 3 steps:
- COOK THE KALE
There’s a simple reason for this -cooked kale is much easier to digest. Just steam it or place it in a pan with olive oil, and even garlic if you like. Cover it with a lid until it is soft. If you have time, cut out the middle stem of the kale to make it even softer for your digestive system and thyroid.
- EAT IN PROPORTION
You should steer clear from overeating kale. Make sure you eat it moderately, i.e. in proportion to other vegetables and proteins in your diet. Have it as a side dish or in a salad rather than the main course.
- EXPERIMENT WITH OTHER LEAVES
Other green leafy vegetables such as red leaf lettuce, baby spinach or even broccoli offer similar nutritional benefits of kale but are much easier on your system to digest.
According to nutritionist Lovisa Nilsson: ‘It’s true you should avoid eating too much raw kale, because just like broccoli and cabbage the vegetable contains a sort of sugar called raffinose, which is hard to break down for the stomach.
‘Also, the fibre-rich kale can cause digestive problems or a bloated stomach, so be careful if you already have issues with your digestive system. And you should always cook it if you already have issues with the function of your gland.
‘BUT Kale has lots of health benefits including being high in fibre, iron and vitamin A, K and C.
‘Don’t be afraid to eat kale raw, but stick to a handful amount per day. Don’t forget this also includes green juice with kale.
‘If you like to eat your kale raw, don’t overeat; a salad a week is no harm if you don’t have previous issues of digestion or similar.
‘Kale is a great superfood and can be prepared to deliver nutrition in a variety of ways including steaming, cooking or in the oven‘.