The Link Between Vitamin D & Kale
As our interest in health grows, I love that vitamins and minerals and health foods get publicity, because it exposes us to knowledge about foods and nutrients that may otherwise go unknown.
Not that long ago in the grand scheme of medicine, testing for vitamin D3 (make sure it's 25-OH) was not routinely performed until researchers and the medical community found that low levels of vitamin D linked to concerns such as:
- Muscle cramps
- General pain & weakness
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain
- Joint pain
- Poor concentration
- Poor sleep
- Constipation or diarrhea
THIS WAS GREAT NEWS! Generally I see patients with multiple concerns, and sometimes those concerns may be diminished or actually disappear if levels are optimized! What does that mean?
Levels are typically listed at a range between 30-100. But most likely you won't really feel different if your level is 29 or 31, except the latter number says you're 'normal' (and still not feeling good..). So I like to tighten the ranges and see levels between 50-70. Always good to test though, because too much vitamin D (e.g. over 100) can draw in calcium to bones that makes them brittle, and hardens arteries.
And what about kale?
Yes!! One of my favorite vegetables! Sauté it, bake it, drizzle it in olive oil, make kale chips, etc. I know I know, even if it doesn't have vitamin D. That's totally ok, because it is so chockfull of other wonderful nutrients that help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, eye problems (as we live in a world of technology), and can help with weight loss. It's actually extremely nutrient dense and one of the best 'bang for your buck' when it comes to eating vegetables. However, I recommend at least cooking kale in some way(even for a few minutes) because like other dark leafy greens (e.g. spinach, collard greens) and cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts), it does have compounds that can inhibit thyroid function (usually after many many cups and over a period of time) such as in a documented case. So if you're looking for a healthy snack, it's ok to choose some broccoli to snack on versus other not-so-healthy options.
Focus on variety, and healthful choices
Go ahead, google your next meal and see how many vitamins and minerals you're consuming! A new way to 'play with food'!
Maybe brussels sprouts, or carrots will become the new superfood! Perhaps Boron will be the hip, new super mineral. Whatever it may be, as they say, variety is the spice of life!