Kale protects against low-grade inflammation.
Did you know that the antioxidant lutein, found in kale and broccoli, protects against low-grade inflammation, and therefore, chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease?
Lutein belongs to the family of carotenoids, which are naturally occurring fat-soluble pigments, found in the cells of a wide variety of dark-green and yellow fruits and vegetables, like kale, broccoli, spinach and citrus fruits.
Studies on animals and healthy humans have shown that carotenoids are associated with lower levels of low-grade inflammation in the body. This led scientists at Linköping University Hospital in Sweden to ask if carotenoids may help to lower low-grade inflammation in sick patients with overly sensitive immune cells as well. Said and done, a group of scientists began studying people with vascular spasm, or who had suffered from a heart attack. Typically, these patients suffer from acute low-grade inflammation, and therefore, they have increased risk of having another heart attack. The studies showed lutein may also help to lower low-grade inflammation in these patients.
The study was performed on sick people, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until you’re sick to start thinking about your lutein intake. According to research, we should all ensure we get enough lutein, as a preventive measure. Lutein is said to help reduce hardening of the arteries, and studies have shown that young people with higher concentrations of lutein in their blood have fewer clogged arteries.
In other words, yet another reason to add some extra kale to the family smoothie.
Some recipes with kale: