Kale benefits

Kale benefits include certain avoidance of adult onset macular degeneration. It is estimated that about five million Americans are needlessly blind because of a lutein deficiency.

Don't allow your hens near your kale patch; they are desperate for the phytochemicals for their own very fine eyesight and eggs.

Kale belongs to the brassica family of vegetables; there are many varieties including cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.

Together, the name of the specie is Brassica oleracea; kale is really just a wild cabbage that does not form a head; notice the bluey green coloured leaves. 

In fact, I'd like to suggest that the varieties of vegetables that do not form heads get more sunshine and have more health benefits. A deathly white, tightly formed Iceberg lettuce is a pale cousin of the open cos, for example.

Like most vegetables it grows best in full sun, in richly composted, moist soil. Actually it's quite hardy and will tolerate a degree of drying out. Kale does best in cooler weather, but there are many cultivars today that will grow through the summer provided they are watered regularly.

In our mild climate in Southern Africa, at one thousand metres above sea level we can enjoy kale benefits throughout the year with repetitive plantings and, by picking a few leaves at a time, they continue on for months.

Kale benefits

Kale benefits are many but the greatest perhaps is the carotene lutein that is vital for the retina of the eye; it together with zeaxanthin are found in very high concentrations in the macula where fine discrimination and colour are detected.


Lutein is just one of the many kale benefits; together with zeaxanthin it's one of the more common carotenoids. They are found in very high concentrations in the eye; in the retina and the lens. 

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration comes in two forms; the age related kind is a major cause of blindness in the older person.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in extremely high amounts in centre of the macula where the fine discrimination and colour are detected; they give it the so called yellow spot appearance owing to the property of capturing and protecting the eye from high energy blue light.

Numerous research studies have shown that those who enjoy their coloured foods receive protection from lutein macular degeneration and many other illnesses. Researchers confirm that cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death in Western countries, and that what we eat has a very significant role to play; it's the antioxidising properties of compounds like vitamin C, flavonoids and carotenoids that prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the intima of arteries. 

Kale germinate without difficulty; you can either plant them in seed boxes like that above, or very thinly directly in the ground.

Having planted out the seedlings it's best to cover them with a cap if hot, dry weather threatens; nevertheless these wild cabbage plants are hardy. It's less than a week since this little gem was planted out; in just a fortnight we'll be picking baby fronds to go in our salads.

Like most of the brassica family they are relatively frost resistant, so one can risk planting them out in early spring. They do best, however, if one starts the seed bed in late summer so they grow into the winter.

They should be planted at least a foot apart in rows spaced by about 50cm, say; it's not critical.

Some of the tall cultivars may grow to over a metre and need to be staked, but that's the exception; mostly they are about 50cm high. They are pretty resistant to pests and fungal diseases.

It's important to note that epidemiological studies confirm that kale, and in fact all fruit and veg rich in carotenes; they reduce blood vessel disease, cardiac conditions and many cancers, but the research concerning Carotenoids and cardiovascular health in the American Journal of Nutrition found that supplements had no such advantages.

In fact, researchers found that taking carotenoids in pill form actually increased the risk of getting lung cancer in smokers.

Let food be your your medicine, and shun most of the supplements on the market. Did you know that most forms of vitamin E on the market increase the risk of getting prostate cancer, but enjoying bread made from 100 percent wholemeal flour reduces the probability?

Ominously researchers state that currently, the consumption of carotenoids in pharmaceutical forms for the treatment or prevention of heart diseases cannot be recommended.

Carotenoids like your lutein in kale benefits are fat soluble; that means they are better absorbed if eaten with avocado or olive oil.

They are carried in the blood stream by lipoproteins. Atherosclerosis of the blood vessel walls has oxidation of the cholesterol at its heart; scientists have found that the walls of the arteries are not thickened in the same way by cholesterol by those enjoying dietary carotenoids on a regular basis.

This has a significant effect also on the arteries supplies the lumbar plexus; lower back injuries simply don't heal well causing nightmares for chiropractors and surgeons, and their patients.

It is the antioxidant properties of carotenoids that prevents the damaging oxidised cholesterol from attacking the intima of arterial walls.

› Kale benefits

Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward it to a suffering friend. Better still, Tweet or Face Book it.

Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

Do you have a problem that is not getting better?

Are you looking for a different slant on your pain?

Do you want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.

You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70 percent of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there is a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong. Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what a DC does.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my eBooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful from the life and work of a chiropractor, you will love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the amount without telling me.