Kale can help you beat the blues

Saturday, August 03, 2013 by: PF Louis
Tags: food for depression, kale, healthy diet

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(NaturalNews) Kale is actually an earlier form of the cruciferous cabbage family. In addition to its high level of nutrients, now its carotenoid content is associated with mood elevation.

Actually, Mother Jones health editor Tom Philpott reported on a late 2012 Harvard study that associated high carotenoid consumption with elevated moods. He whimsically chose kale to headline his article.

But the study itself focused on nine different carotenoids and antioxidants from leafy green and orange vegetables.

The Harvard School of Public Health study

The study involved a cross-sectional association between reported optimism and serum concentrations of antioxidants and carotenoids among 982 men and women from a Midlife in the United States study.

Mood reports were conducted with the LOT-R (Life Orientation Test - Revised), a short 10-question psychological research test not meant for clinical applications that has allows for different predetermined levels of answering. The code for "grading" is tilted toward determining optimism over pessimism.

Fasting blood samples had to be taken for antioxidant and carotenoid serum levels. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation funded Midlife in the United States Survey (MIDUS) is part of ongoing research started in 1989 on several health and psychological factors involved with mid-life, mostly in the 40 to 60 age bracket.

Although the association of high carotenoid serum content and optimism were obvious, the researchers were reluctant to cite a causal link. It could be that optimistic middle aged folks who eat lots of veggies are naturally optimistic, they cautioned.

Well yeah, maybe so. But the fact is that if your health is good, you will tend to be more optimistic. Consuming lots of organic veggies while shunning processed foods leads to better physiological health as a foundation for better psychological health.

Carotenoid Sources

According to the Linus Paul Institute, "Carotenoids can be broadly classified into two classes, carotenes (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lycopene) and xanthophylls (beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin)."

All green veggies, including kale, are high in xanthophylls, while orange and red fruits and vegetables are high in alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, both precursors to vitamin A.

Vitamin A toxicity can occur from too many supplements, but food based alpha or beta carotene's vitamin A production diminishes as the body establishes sufficient vitamin A.

This phenomena is similar to how vitamin D from sunshine exposure halts upon sufficient serum of vitamin D, while supplementing vitamin D can potentially lead to toxic levels.

Both sets of carotenoids are fat based, so eating them with healthy cold-pressed oils or real organic butter or coconut oil enhances bio-availability. If you juice veggies and fruits, adding a small scoop of coconut or other oil on the side may be wise.

Of course the less cooked they are, the better. An exception is tomatoes' lycopene. Its lycopene bio-availability is improved when cooked in oil. Thus tomato sauce is considered a good prostate health protector.

Juicing three times a week is considered sufficient for greatly reducing the onset of Alzheimer's disease as well as providing a lot more carotenoids to boost overall health than one could consume as part of a normal diet (http://www.naturalnews.com/028523_Alzheimers_juicing.html).

According to Mother Jones health editor Tom Philpott's coverage of a different UK study, leafy greens such as kale contain a substance known as indole-3-carbinol, responsible for maintaining the immune system's white blood cells and maintaining overall gut health.

A diet without greens leads to lower immunity and gastrointestinal issues. Kale is great for juicing with carrots and an apple to ameliorate the bitter taste, but some folks like it lightly steamed and seasoned or mixed into a tossed salad.

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