The Truth(?) About Kale

I just recently added kale to my diet. I had heard wonderful things about it, and then realized that the little farm stand down the street had it, so I bought a bunch last Sunday. As I was too lazy to unearth my juicer from the basement where it’s been residing for quite a while now, I simply popped the kale into my food processor and I’ve been adding it to my morning smoothie all week. However, I was also walking about with pieces of kale caught in my teeth, and we all know how attractive that is, so when I went to pick up a new bunch of kale this Sunday, I decided I’d haul my juicer up and use that.

Now, I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories that have been published about how kale really isn’t good for you at all. So, after I juiced my kale, cleaned the god-awful juicer and ate my lunch, I decided to look up the horrors of kale.

While I did indeed find articles regarding the “ill-effects” that kale can have on the human body, what I noticed about those articles was that the references to actual peer-reviewed scientific studies were missing. Not one of the articles I read referenced a single study. Instead they told us what kale “could” do to our bodies, but try as hard as I could; I was unable to find a study referenced to back up the claims. So, me being me, I decided to look up actual scientific studies on kale – I know, I know, who actually checks up on articles, right? Well, am I glad that I did.

In the actual scientific studies there is really no mention of how terrible kale is for you. Instead, they say that if you eat too much kale there might be problems; now as we all know, if you overindulge in anything, there “might” be side-effects. But the overall scientific knowledge that these studies reported was that kale really is good for you. The benefits of kale include: helping lower insulin in diabetics, blocking the carcinogenic effects of grilled foods; improving heart health, protecting against strokes and kidney stones; providing the body with Vitamin K which improves bone health; preventing constipation; helping with healthy hair and skin by providing the body with Vitamin A and C.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270435.php

Now, this same article referenced above also discussed the negative effects that kale has. If you consume a high amount of kale, it can interfere with beta-blockers which are used to treat medical conditions like high blood pressure, glaucoma and migraines. However, a little kale will not interfere with these medicines.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/beta-blockers/art-20044522

While it’s always good to check the science behind the hype, I find that some articles are just going for the shock value, while showing little or no evidence they are scientifically based. After stating that, there was an article in Mother Jones claiming that depending on where kale is grown there are concerns that it may contain heavy metals. Apparently kale has the ability to absorb heavy metals in the soil it is grown in. http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/07/kale-silent-killer
However, this article was refuted in the following article which pointed out that the findings were not from a peer-reviewed scientific study.
http://m.snopes.com/kale-not-safe/

All I can say is, please, please, please check your scientific facts before changing your eating habits! Meanwhile, I’ll be juicing my kale from now on…green bits in your teeth are simply too nasty to contemplate.

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