Ask Amy: I see that kale is an ingredient in many of your Meal Plan recipes and I recently heard someone say that “Kale is the New Beef.” Can you explain this statement and tell me more about the benefits of Kale? – Shannon C. Fairfield, CT.
Amy Says: You are right Shannon I do use kale in a lot of my cooking. I tell my clients that eating greens like kale is the #1 thing they can do to improve their diet. If you don’t change anything else but just eat more leafy greens like kale, you will begin to feel better.
As women with PCOS, we deal with chronic inflammation. Inflammation is cause of arthritis, heart disease and a number of autoimmune diseases. Kale is an incredibly effective anti-inflammatory food, potentially preventing and even reversing these illnesses.
As far as the claims of Kale being the new beef, I think it may stem (pun intended) from the fact that Kale actually has more iron per calorie than beef. Kale also is a fantastic source of calcium believe it or not. It contains more per calorie than milk (90 grams per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy, probably because it contains vitamin K as well. Vitamin K assists with proteins that bind minerals such as calcium together in bone. Calcium plays an important role in egg maturation and follicle development in the ovaries.
Kale is also loaded with fiber. Animal products contain little or no fiber and fiber is essential to help alleviate hormonal imbalances in women with PCOS. Women with PCOS often deal with estrogen dominance, a hormone imbalance of excessive levels of the hormone estrogen in relation to progesterone. Dietary fiber helps maintain healthy hormone balance by binding to waste estrogen and xenoestrogens in the intestines and bowels and removing it from the body. Without sufficient levels of fiber to perform this function, waste estrogen is often reabsorbed by the body, where it can continue to cause hormonal problems. Women with PCOS are often at higher risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes and dietary fiber also helps regulate blood sugar levels and prevent type 2 diabetes. The fiber and sulfur in kale is also very detoxifying and helps support your liver.
Kale also believe it or not has protein (2 grams per serving to be exact) and omega 3 fatty acids too. A serving of kale contains 121 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s help with insulin resistance and a study published in the March 2011 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” showed that omega-3 fat supplementation in young women with PCOS resulted in improved androgen levels.
Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels. I really could go on and on about the benefits of kale. If you would like more information this is a whfoods.com is great source – http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38
Hopefully you are convinced how important kale is for your PCOS friendly diet. If you don’t already have my meal plans and you need a little inspiration to add kale into your diet and begin reaping the benefits check out this link about “52 Ways to Eat Kale“