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Smoking Versus Kale Juice

The effect of kale juice on LDL and HDL cholesterol and the antioxidant capacity of the blood.

March 8, 2012 |
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Acknowledgements

Image thanks to Food Thinkers.

Transcript

This landmark study on the immune system boosting effects of kale concluded that: the intake of kale might provide a beneficial effect on humans to enhance the defense against such pathogens as viruses, bacteria, and toxins. The immunostimulating effect will provide an additional advantage of kale, as well as its antioxidative capacity and other effects. Other effects, like improving coronary artery disease risk factors. Did you know kale juice has gained increasing attention as one of the popular health-promoting foods in japan? I am packin’ my bags.
Thirty two men with high cholesterol consumed 3 or 4 shots of kale juice a day for 3 months. That’s like eating a total of about 30 pounds of kale, the amount the average American consumes in a century. What happened? Did they turn green, start to photosynthesize?
What it did was dramatically lower their bad cholesterol, and boost their good cholesterol as much as would an hour of daily exercise 7 days a week.
Obviously, by the end of three months, the antioxidant level of their blood shot up significantly, though not as much in the smokers. I can just imagine some guy with a cigarette in one hand and his shot of kale juice in another. The researchers suggest that this is because the smokers were actively using all those antioxidants up.
When smoking can use up the antioxidants contained in the equivalent of 225 cups of kale, you know it’s time to quit.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Is there anything kale can’t do? More about the immune system-boosting study of kale in yesterday's video-of-the-day Kale and the Immune System. And more on boosting good cholesterol in Amla Versus Diabetes and Cocoa Good; Chocolate Bad. Please don't get the idea that kale can counteract the detrimental effects of smoking. You have to quit. Today. And then take your mind off your cigarette cravings by watching hundreds of my other videos on more than a thousand topics.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Stool Size and Breast Cancer RiskEating To Extend Our LifespanBreast Cancer Stem Cells vs. Broccoli, and The Best Way to Prevent the Common Cold?

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Is there anything kale can’t do? More about the immune system-boosting study of kale in yesterday’s video-of-the-day Kale and the Immune System. And more on boosting good cholesterol in Amla Versus Diabetes and Cocoa Good; Chocolate Bad. Please don’t get the idea that kale can counteract the detrimental effects of smoking. You have to quit. Today. And then take your mind off your cigarette cravings by watching hundreds of my other videos on more than a thousand topics.

    • Ghutsi

       Hi Dr Greger. Thanks for putting up these videos, especially about kale. I used to religiously drink kale in smoothies mixed with bananas and other berries And I must say the smoothies were delicious. People see the green and automatically think it will be bitter or just not taste good. I have changed many a mind insisting they take a sip. Anyway, I felt at my healthiest when I was having at least one kale smoothie (mostly 2) a day. i have lost my way since I had depression, lost 3 very closed loved ones to death (one of those deaths was a suicide). I haven’t been able to get out that funk for awhile. I believe that if I could just get on with it, and start drinking kale smoothies again, it would go along way in making me feel better. I wondered what you thought of purchasing something like a NutriBullet? It’s a mixer/blender that is supposed to be very good at liquifying and making it easier to make these drinks. Because of several accidents, the severe pain that came with them, the concussions and associated depression, I have not been able to work, and so I live on a disability pension. I wondered if you thought a machine like that is worth the investment, if it will motivate me to get back into eating/drinking kale based drinks/smoothies?

      • Joe

        Hi Ghutsl,
        I am so sorry – your story is very sad and I think it only natural to grieve the way you are doing. The nutribullet looks good but also expensive. I use the Tribest – its much cheaper. but only a third of the power. However, I have made kale smoothies in it quite successfully (still a little fiberous) – but the issue was size. I then went for a Philips HR2094 which works well. If you put the greens in first, then the fruit, you end up with quite a smooth drink. It also helps if you freeze the kale, and add frozen berries. This really makes it amazing.
        I’d also like to recommend a wonderful little book called ‘Turning the mind into an ally’ by Sakyong Mipham.

        Good luck and happy smoothies! Joe

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/randy/ randy

    I wonder if they incorporated the necessary fat in the diet (3-4mg), to facilitate maximum phytonutrient absorption, when the Kale shots were administered.

    If not, we can only imagine/extrapolate what great effects the Kale would have achieved.
    The next Beet Juice?

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/wilscot/ wilscot

    I greatly appreciate these videos and look forward to them each day (please don’t ever stop!). In the context of this series on the wonders of kale, I would really appreciate your expert comment on this review I came across recently: Health benefits and possible risks of broccoli – An overview. Latté,KP; Appel KE; Lampen A. 2011 Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology, 49 (12)3287-3309.
    I found this article a bit disturbing – although it cites many studies suggesting the benefits of broccoli, it also cites a good number showing genotoxic effects. Its bottom line conclusion is that broccoli (and by extension all brassicas?) may be harmful if taken in large amounts and especially raw. So knocking back glasses of kale juice seem likely to place one in the potential risk category (especially if ‘large’ means more than average). The article suggests that the potential harm may only occur when cancer has already developed, but that is not very reassuring given that most of us are supposed to have some cancer cell development even in the absence of a diagnosed tumour. The article is also a bit confusing in its suggestion that cooking is preferable because it kills the myrosinase – but I thought the latter was necessary to catalyse the health promoting substances (glucosinolates etc) further down the chain. Your comments would be really helpful.
    Kate

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toxins/ Toxins

      wilscot, I have seen this study before. You must remember that all plant foods have natural toxins in them and that our liver does a good job of cleaning up. There is a limit though, check out this video regarding overdosing on greens.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/overdosing-on-greens/

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/hcdr/ hcdr

    “…did they turn green, start to photosynthesize?” loving your humour!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/louisef/ LouiseF

    Kale can do everything! and yet, doctors will still prescribe statins instead of kale. I was talking to a doctor today and he said he prescribes statins because his patients “simply won’t change their diets.”
    How about giving patients the information and letting them decide? Watch videos on nutritionfacts.org, read the China Study, watch Forks Over Knives!!!!
    Louise F

  • nathanb

    Dear Michael / Toxins
    Would love to know if you have any ideas as to the effect that juicing kale (or other brassicas and greens) has on the amount of oxalates and/or goitrogens that are consumed versus eating the kale raw? Do you think that they will partition into the juice or remain with the pulp? I mention because when juicing it is possible to use a similar scale as mentioned in the ‘overdosing on greens’ video.
    Thanls, Nathan.

    • Toxins

       Hello Nathanb,

      I cannot answer your entire question, but I can tell you that kale is actually a very low low oxalate green. I am not sure whether juicing it would leave oxalates in the pulp, but I would say that juicing is not recomended as the fbrous portion of the plant typically holds 90% of the nutrients.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/fruit-juice-fail/

      • Valnaples

        I am trying to add more calcium to my diet (borderline osteopenic) so I buy one bunch of organic dino kale every single week and have even started eating the tough ribs in the middle of the leaf too…they are VERY juicy and not really that difficult to chew at all. I’ve researched the oxalate issue with greens and kale seems to be my hero…will find out in upcoming well check up in August. As Dr. Klaper points out in one of his videos recommended by Dr. Greger, “we have 32 juicers” in our mouth…our teeth! We need the fiber from these plants as well as their juices!

      • Jonny Klopfstein

        Would blending kale be just as good as eating kale? I usually blend kale and other veggies mixed with juice. 

        • Toxins

           Yes, putting kale in a blender, such as with a smoothie will give you the full nutritional load.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For some context, please also check out my associated blog post Breast Cancer Stem Cells vs. Broccoli!

  • rock

    can you blend kale or does it need to be kale juice?

  • lovestobevegan

    Not only is kale packed with beneficial antioxidants, it has been found to boost your body’s ability to produce antibodies which might help to enhance your fight against viruses and toxins (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/kale-and-the-immune-system/). A great way to increase your uptake of nutrients without added calories is with spices. The addition of nutmeg allows you to get nutritional benefits with virtually zero calories (6.5 calories in ½ tsp).

    Knock Your Socks Off Kale Soup

    -3 cups potatoes, cubed
    -1 large turnip, cubed
    -8 cups water/homemade vegetable broth
    -2 medium red onions, diced
    -4 cloves garlic, minced
    -1 bunch kale, cut into ribbons
    -½ tsp nutmeg
    -½ tsp black pepper
    -¼ tsp white pepper

    Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Continue cooking until potatoes and turnip are soft enough to mash, about 20-30 minutes. Thicken soup by using a potato masher or the back of a spoon to mash the potatoes and turnip to desired consistency. Season individual servings with sea salt and black pepper to taste.

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan

  • Tel-aviv Yaffo

    what can you offer for old age memmory problems ?
    thanks from advance
    James

  • jack travers

    I personally quite enjoy my morning kale juice and cigarette combo!

  • http://www.lauramarieblankenship.com Laura Marie Blankenship

    You’ll be happy to see that others–in the west, even–are picking up on the kale juice craze! http://www.vegginoutandabout.com/2014/04/applause-for-kale-the-off-the-charts-veggie/?subscribe=success#blog_subscription-2