The Brain and Kale Connection

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Studies show that incorporating leafier green vegetables into one’s diet can help slow down cognitive decline especially among people in their advanced age. In a study conducted by the researchers from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) and Rush University, they found out that those who consume 1 ½ servings of green leafy vegetables daily had the cognitive skills of people who are eleven years younger than those people who ate little to no leafy vegetables.

Dementia as A Global Crisis

The finding of this study is very significant considering that there is an increasing number of people in the United States who have dementia. In fact, the number of patients who have dementia is expected to rise to 15 million by 2050. However, it is not only in the United States that dementia is a big problem. Many seniors in Europe and Asia also have dementia. The rising number of patients who have dementia makes us wonder if there is a link between the disease and the type of diet we consume.

The study involved 960 adults between the ages 58 and 99. The participants took annual tests to assess different aspects of their brain function such as memory and learning. The researchers also looked into the amount of green leafy vegetables consumed by the participants.

What’s Inside Green Leafy Vegetables?

Published in the journal Neurology, the study concluded that better brain health was obtained by meeting dietary recommendations. Senior author of the study Sarah Booth noted that incorporating green leafy vegetables in one’s diet can have a lot of benefits, especially on the brain function. The reason why green leafy vegetables are so beneficial to brain function is that they contain significant amounts of vitamin K, folate, and lutein which slow down cognitive decline. Researchers suggest consuming all kinds of green leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, spinach, watercress, and other locally sourced leafy greens.

Mechanisms Yet to Be Understood About The Brain and Kale Connection

While the study has very significant results about brain health and its protection, the publication opened and raised many questions about how the leafy greens mainly protect the brain. Unfortunately, the mechanism on how the brain is protected is still not fully understood. Sarah Booth noted that additional studies are underway involving studying different brain sections of deceased participants who agreed to donate their brain and other tissues for further studies.  This may well allow the researchers to unlock the mystery behind the brain and kale connection.

While the exact mechanism on how the eating leafy greens help protect the brain is yet to be understood, the message is quite apparent and that eating leafy green vegetables is useful not only for your body but even your mind especially when you get older. To date, the dietary recommendation states that eating at least one to 2 servings (or equivalent to two cups) of vegetables can do wonders for the brain, but you can always eat more. In any case, there is no overdose when it comes to eating green leafy vegetables. Only benefits… no dangers.

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Kale: The Most Popular Ingredient In Your Pantry

Many types of superfoods are available for consumers and kale is one of them. Kale is considered as the hottest superfood over the past few years.

You can find it in your baby food, vitamins, supplements, and tons of new clean label food and beverage products. The popularity of the green plant has even gone past food. For example, even some nail polish brands are infused with kale essence to strengthen nails supposedly.

Kale-Infused Products Show Increase In Sales

According to a market analysis conducted by Nielsen for MarketWatch, kale is being infused into snacks, pasta sauce, sausages, and even pet food. You can also find it in your favorite desserts like frozen yogurt and even cakes. The sales of kale-infused vitamins and supplements, for instance, grew by as much as 125% over the last year.

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While kale-infused products are very popular, consumers should not be too swayed. For example, many companies add a small amount of kale in their products even if they are obviously junk foods to look like they are healthy. Unfortunately, kale is used as a marketing ploy to give unhealthy food a health halo.

Marketers Using It To Their Full Advantage

It is not only junk foods that use the green plant as a marketing ploy. Many supplements appear to use kale as ornaments in marketing their products. Kale powders, for example, encourage people to get kale in powder form thus defeating the purpose of eating the real thing.

The idea of taking it in powder or pill form might be enticing to people who are not a big fan of this leafy green. However, they are devoid of fiber resulting in a lot of missing nutrition.

Should You Eat The Real Thing Or Not?

According to Kristin Kirkpatrick from the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, the addition of kale in food products does not mean that you are getting a full serving of this leafy green. Most of these kale-infused products are often processed with a lot of oil, salt, and sugar to make them taste better than the unadulterated ones.

In conclusion, the best way to get your fix of this superfood is to eat the green vegetable itself. While kale-infused products are an excellent way to slightly supplement your daily needs, they are not enough to meet your daily requirements. Prepare kale in salads, stir-fry, and slaws to get the most out of it.

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Most Demanded Superfoods: Avocado, Turmeric, and Kale

Superfoods are considered nutrient powerhouses that have a lot of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and other compounds that are known to be highly beneficial to the body. Eating superfoods can decrease the risk of diseases, extend life, and improve overall vitality of the body. According to Search Laboratory, there is a growing trend to consume more superfoods in the foods we eat every day.

Superfoods have become very popular in with people dedicated to a healthy lifestyle. Superfood consumption is very common among young adults who want to embrace healthy eating habits. It is interesting to take note that you can probably already find superfoods in your home.  In fact, a Google trend reports reveals that while there are many superfoods that you can buy from the supermarket, there are three that top the list–avocado, turmeric, and kale.

1. Superfoods: Avocado

Avocado is a buttery green fruit that is an essential ingredient in guacamole. As one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, Avocado contains high amounts of fiber, Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and folate.

Avocado also contains copious amounts of monounsaturated fat, a healthy kind of fat. The amount of monounsaturated fat in avocado is almost similar to the amount found in olive oil. The monounsaturated fat found in avocado is oleic acid. Oleic acid helps lower your cholesterol level particularly low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which are considered as the bad cholesterol. It can also increase the amount of good high-density lipoproteins (HDL).

2. Superfoods: Turmeric

turmeric superfoodsTurmeric is a favorite spice in Asian cuisine. For centuries, it has been used in South Asia as a medicine. Turmeric has a lot of health benefits, and it is known to treat arthritis, acne, heart diseases, and Parkinson’s disease. This particular spice contains high amounts of curcumin—a powerful antioxidant. Curcumin is also a potent anti-inflammatory compound that can relieve different types of inflammation in the body. It can help improve the condition of patients who have diabetes and even cancer.

Turmeric milk wherein turmeric powder is added to milk with honey is not the only way of enjoying this superfood. Turmeric can be prepared in other ways to get its benefits. You can make it into a tea and add a hint of black pepper to improve its potency.

3. Superfoods: Kale

kale superfood

Kale is a leafy green vegetable related to other cruciferous plants like cabbages and cauliflowers.  It is a powerhouse packed with beta-carotene (Vitamin A), Vitamin C, quercetin, and kaempferol. It is one of the few vegetables that have a high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) value. This rating measures the ability of the plant compounds to scavenge free radicals.

Consumption of kale has many health benefits. It can prevent cardiovascular diseases, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis to name a few. It can also keep the integrity of the skin; that keeps it looking great. Kale also contains flavonoids like glucosinolates, sinigrin, glucobrassicin, and glucoraphanin that convert isothiocyanates in the gut that helps prevent or suppress the growth of multiple types of cancerous tumors.

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