Hola. Como estas, Homies? I took a trip to Whole Foods today to stock up on a few things and I thought that I would share what I picked up and more importantly… WHY. Here is what was in my cart today and the reasons that they should be in yours as well. Here’s a hint… They’re good for you.
Kale is one of my favorite veggies. Why? Well, it’s because Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. On. The. Planet. Whatcha gotta say now, huh? So, what makes kale so exceptionally awesome?
Kale is a Nutritional Powerhouse
One cup (Yes, just ONE) of kale contains 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It’s also a great source of copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Booya! Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients. Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds. Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw. Super-Rich in Vitamin K. Eating a diet rich in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K can reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin K is abundant in kale but also found in parsley, spinach, collard greens, and animal products such as cheese. Vitamin K is necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health.
Look! Up in the sky! It’s… Super Greens
Super Greens is a product that I go through like there is no tomorrow. It’s a powerful mix of yummy greens like Arugula and spinach etc. I’ll just cover a couple of the greens that makes Super Greens so…ummm…super.
This yummy veggie is an excellent source of vitamin A, offering up 475 IU per cup. Vitamin A — a fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin — is needed for vision, bone growth, the division and differentiation of cells and proper immune function. One cup of arugula also provides 285 mcg of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor that turns to retinol –a natural form of vitamin A — in your body. In addition, arugula has sky-high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, offering up 711 mcg a cup. Researchers believe that these antioxidant plant pigments can help prevent macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease. Finally, a cup of arugula contains 21.7 mg of vitamin K, essential for the proper clotting of blood and maintenance of bone density. Nutrition and You reports that vitamin K limits neuronal damage in the brain, and is currently being studied for potential applications in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Arugula has high levels of a sulfur-containing compound called glucosinolate. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, chopping — as well as chewing — arugula turns glucosinolates into indoles and isothiocyanates, which have cytotoxic effects on cancer cells and may help to protect against breast, prostate, cervical and ovarian cancers.
In a scientific review published in 2004 in “Mutation Research,” Yuesheng Zhang, M.D., PhD., of the Department of Chemoprevention at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, evaluated existing laboratory and animal studies and asserted that isothiocyanates have multiple anti-carcinogenic mechanisms, including inhibiting cancer-activating enzymes and arresting the progression of cancer cells. Zhang characterized the ability of isothiocyanates to attack both developing and fully developed cancer cells as “remarkable.”
Why the hell do I eat spinach? I’ll tell ya, tough guy!
1. Spinach Is One of the Most Nutritious Foods Available (Take That!)
Low in calories and high in vitamins, spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. One cup of the leafy green vegetable contains far more than your daily requirements of vitamin K and vitamin A, almost all the manganese and folate your body needs and nearly 40 percent of your magnesium requirement. It is a good, very good or excellent source of more than 20 different measurable nutrients, including dietary fiber, calcium and protein. And yet, 1 cup has only 40 calories! Spinach is an excellent choice for nutrition without high calories.
2. Cancer-Fighting Antioxidants Abound in Fresh Spinach
Spinach contains more than a dozen individual flavonoid compounds, which work together as cancer-fighting antioxidants. These elements neutralize free radicals in the body and thus help to prevent cancer. In fact, one study of New England women showed less breast cancer cases among those who ate spinach on a regular basis. Spinach extracts have reduced skin cancer in lab animals and show promise at slowing stomach cancer as well.
3. Fresh Spinach Improves Cardiovascular Health
According to research compiled by Whole Foods, spinach is an excellent promoter of cardiovascular health. The antioxidant properties of spinach (water-soluble in the form of vitamin C and fat-soluble beta-carotene) work together to promote good cardiovascular health by preventing the harmful oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is a danger to the heart and arteries. Magnesium in spinach works toward healthy blood pressure levels. In fact, just a salad-size portion of spinach will work to lower high blood pressure within hours. A serving of spinach contains 65 percent of your daily requirement of folate, and folate converts harmful, stroke-inducing chemicals into harmless compounds.
4. Eating Spinach Combats Ovarian, Prostate Cancers
The Journal of Nutrition reports that our leafy friend, spinach, contains a carotenoid that makes prostate cancers destroy themselves. This same carotenoid, after being changed by the intestines, prevents prostate cancer from reproducing itself. Spinach also contains kaempferol, a strong antioxidant that prevents the formation of cancerous cells. Women who have a high intake of this flavonoid show a reduced risk of ovarian cancer, likely because of kaempferol’s ability to reduce cancer cells proliferation.
5. Spinach Improves Brain Function, Protects Against Aging
This dark green leaf will protect your brain function from premature aging and slow old age’s typical negative effects on your metal capabilities. Spinach accomplishes this by preventing the harmful effects of oxidation on your brain. Those who eat a vegetables in quantity, especially those of the leafy green variety, experience a decrease in brain function loss. However, there is no such correlation with fruit consumption. Oh, and iceberg lettuce doesn’t cut it. A good rule of thumb: the darker the leaf, the better. Which brings us back to spinach.
I was unable to find a cool picture of almonds. I’m very, very sorry.
I like nuts. Did I really just say that? Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, fiber, and magnesium and are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and packed with numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals; the kind of well-balanced food ensuring protection against diseases and cancers. These nuts are a complete source of energy as well as nutrients. They are especially, rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleicand palmitoleic acidsthat help to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol.” Deeze nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E and contain about 25 g per 100 g (about 170% of RDA). Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining cell membrane integrity of mucus membranes and skin by protecting from harmful oxygen-free radicals. Almonds are also packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. Further, they are also an incredible source of minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
Raw Sauerkraut (Say What?)
Raw krauts are a highly-nutritious, pro-biotic food. They contain digestive enzymes, helpful lactic acid bacteria, and Vitamin C. And…
Increased Nutrient Bioavailability
Probiotics such as the kind found in sauerkraut can help you better absorb the nutrients you consume. Eating healthy to obtain the nutrients your body needs is important, but absorbing these nutrients is essential for your body to truly utilize them. Probiotics can enhance the absorption of B vitamins and the minerals calcium, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium and phosphorus. In addition, probiotics can also synthesize some vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B-12 and vitamin K-2.
Consuming probiotics can help you maintain a healthy gut flora and help prevent pathegenic bacteria from developing and making you sick. Probiotics help friendly bacteria colonize your intestines and keep potentially harmful bacteria in check. Moreover, the good bacteria living in your intestines can contribute to the health of your immune system. Good bacteria from probiotics boost your immunity through regulating the production of antibodies and lymphocytes. I gittin’ all science-y on yo ass.
Regular Bowel Movements (Yay!)
The frequency of bowel movements can vary among individuals. Whether you have a slow intestinal transit time and occasionally suffer from constipation or whether your transit is rapid, leading to diarrhea problems, eating sauerkraut daily can help bring your transit time within a more normal range.
There you have it guys. Now just imagine all of these awesome super foods on a dinner plate with some delicious and healthy Grass Fed sirloin or organic chicken breast. All of it perfectly balanced to meet your caloric and macronutrient needs. That’s some good eats! All the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and super awesomeness that you can handle. Very powerful. Here’s to your health, guys. Eat up.