Raw kale is definitely one of the best superfoods available! It is power packed with nutrient density, scoring the highest possible of 1000 points on Dr. Joel Fuhrmans ANDI scale. Kale or borecole is a form of cabbage (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group), green or purple, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms. The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide array of vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts. The Cultivar Group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically. Each of these vegetables contains similar nutritional benefits and nutrients.
Kale is the most robust cabbage type – indeed the hardiness of kale is unmatched by any other vegetable. Kale will also tolerate nearly all soils provided that drainage is satisfactory. Another advantage is that kale rarely suffers from pests and diseases of other members of the cabbage family such as club root, pigeons, and cabbage root fly (Delia radicum). Raw kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties and is anti-inflammatory. Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Because of its high vitamin K content, patients taking anti-coagulants such as warfarin are encouraged to avoid this food since it increases the vitamin K concentration in the blood, which is what the drugs are often attempting to lower.
Watch as Jennifer Cornbleet makes a delicious side salad with some raw kale:
Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties. Exactly how kale's sulfur-containing phytonutrients prevent cancer is not yet fully understood, but several researchers point to the ability of its glucosinolates and cysteine sulfoxides to activate detoxifying enzymes in the liver that help neutralize potentially carcinogenic substances. These detoxifying enzymes include quinone reductases and glutathione-S-transferases. For example, sulforaphane, a potent glucosinolate phytonutrient found in kale and other Brassica vegetables, boosts the body's detoxification enzymes, thus helping to clear potentially carcinogenic substances more quickly. Sulforaphane inhibits chemically-induced breast cancers in animal studies and induces colon cancer cells to commit suicide. Human as well as animal studies consistently show that diets high in cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, are associated with lower incidence of a variety of cancers, including lung, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancer.