Kale and spinach are great, but they come with a health warning

Kale and spinach are packed with nutrients, but they may be harmful to some (Healthline Photo)

“We eat with our eyes.

It is believed that this idea existed as early as the 5e century AD, when it was first mentioned in the Apicius, also known as De re Culinaria (The Subject of Cookery), one of the earliest European cookbooks containing a collection of ancient Roman recipes.

The visual impact created by a plate of food is as important as the flavor of the food itself.

And what better way to create a beautiful, colorful plate than to embellish your plate with the colors of the rainbow using a selection from nature’s wonderful palette of colorful fruits and vegetables?

This is the third in my series of articles on the health benefits one can derive from eating fruits and vegetables from different color groups and this article will look at the different ways in which two important green vegetables, cabbage frisé and spinach, can help us. staying healthy and fighting disease and will also discuss precautions for people with certain health conditions and taking certain medications.

Image from urduesl.com

Kale, a cruciferous vegetable

Kale is a cruciferous leafy vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae or mustard family. Kale is high in fiber and is also a good source of vitamins C and K, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, the antioxidants alpha-linolenic acid, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin as well as chlorophyll pigment which is responsible for its green color

The high fiber content in kale may lower our risk of developing type 2 diabetes and help lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. This is because the body cannot break down and absorb fiber. Therefore, eating high-fiber foods will not cause your blood sugar to spike, helping blood sugar to stay stable.

Likewise, high fiber foods are also helpful for weight management because undigested fiber moves slowly through the stomach, warding off hunger pangs. Fiber also helps keep the digestive system healthy by absorbing harmful bacteria and other waste products from the digestive system and aiding in their elimination.

A diet high in fiber also helps lower levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the harmful cholesterol in the blood.

Research has shown that alpha-linolenic acid may help protect against cardiovascular disease and help reduce complications that can occur with type 2 diabetes.

Kale is a good source of beta-carotene, a carotenoid that the body can convert to vitamin A whenever needed. Vitamin A protects the eyes from night blindness and other age-related eye diseases. It can also strengthen the immune system.

Spinach for vitamins

Spinach is another leafy green vegetable that is extremely high in vitamin K. It is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate (vitamin B9), iron, potassium , manganese and magnesium.

An important compound found in spinach, kale, and other green vegetables is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has been shown to help prevent the body from absorbing carcinogenic chemicals called heterocyclic amines that are created when meat is grilled at very high temperatures. It can do this by binding to these chemicals, thus preventing absorption.

Vitamin C is necessary for the formation of collagen and contributes to the maintenance of cartilage, bones and teeth. It also helps the body absorb iron, is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, controls infections and helps heal wounds.

Potassium can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Calcium is needed to develop and maintain strong bones and teeth. It facilitates muscle contraction, helps the heart and nerves to function properly.

Vitamin K is needed for the body to produce the proteins prothrombin, essential for blood clotting, and osteocalcin, essential for bone formation.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids found in spinach and kale, which combine synergistically in the macula of the eye to block harmful blue light from reaching the retina and causing damage that can lead to degeneration macular and cataracts.

Some Harmful Effects

Although kale and spinach are packed with nutrients that provide numerous health benefits, there are some instances when these vegetables should be taken with caution.

Kale and spinach are both extremely high in vitamin K. Since this vitamin helps blood clot, it can interfere with the effects of some blood thinners. Therefore, people taking blood thinners or blood thinners should consult their doctor before including kale or spinach in their diet.

The high potassium content of kale and spinach means people taking beta-blockers for heart disease and people with kidney disease should check with their doctor before including kale in their diet.

Kale, like all other cruciferous vegetables, contains substances called goitrogens that can interfere with thyroid function and are especially harmful for people who have an underactive thyroid and suffer from hypothyroidism. Goitrogens can prevent iodine from entering the thyroid gland, leading to a condition called goiter which causes an enlarged thyroid. Although cooking may help reduce the goitrogenic property of kale, people with hypothyroidism should treat kale and other cruciferous vegetables with caution.

Spinach contains a high amount of certain natural compounds called oxalates. Consuming large amounts of oxalates can lead to calcium binding and the formation of kidney stones. In most people, the body gets rid of oxalates naturally, but people with kidney disease or prone to kidney stones should consult their doctor before regularly including spinach in their diet. Careful consideration should be given to oxalate consumption when following a course of antibiotics, as antibiotics deplete the good bacteria that absorb oxalates in the gut, resulting in more oxalates circulating through the system. .

Please seek professional advice before making any major dietary changes. This is especially important if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, already taking medications or supplements, or have a medical condition. Nutritional supplements should only be taken if prescribed by a medical professional after personal consultation. The information provided in this article should not replace direct medical advice from your doctor, particularly if you have any concerns about your health.

Sandhya Govind is a qualified and trained naturopath and runs ‘Sandhya Naturopathy Clinic’, an integrated natural medicine center, which helps people rediscover optimal health, radiance and vitality naturally. Email: [email protected]; The above article should be read for general information purposes only and not as individual advice. Please always consult your GP or other authorized persons or agencies for personal advice. Indian press link and Sandhya Govind disclaim all liability in this regard.

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