Saturday, January 9, 2010

Kale...Who Knew?

While on the radio show yesterday, I learned a few things. One of which is how great Kale is for you. Being a vegetarian, you would think I knew this. And perhaps I've had it in things before, but never just raw and never to purposefully eat a lot of it daily.

The following is from one of my fellow authors, Dr. Terry Wahls. On her website she not only talks of kale and other vegetables and fruits for brain health, she also gives some great recipes as well. In this particular section, "What You Eat and Do Not Eat Affects Your Brain," I found a lot of information that is good for anyone, with or without MS. Here is just a portion of the section:

"The likelihood of acquiring a disease affecting your brain has steadily increased in the last 100 years. Furthermore, the age at which these problems are being diagnosed is steadily dropping. This includes the neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Multiple Sclerosis. It also includes psychiatric disorders like depression, attention deficit, hyperactivity, autism, antisocial, and conduct disorders.

We are finding a variety of genes which are associated with each of these diseases. Yet, not everyone with the incriminated genes, get the disease. There a number of environmental factors, such as infections, toxins and nutrition. Of the three, our nutrition is the one which the individual can most easily control.

The brain is dependent upon mitochondria for energy. The efficiency of ATP production and the burden of toxic free radicals created during the generation of ATP are dependent upon the available B complex vitamins, coenzyme Q 10 and antioxidants. In addition, the brain needs omega 3 fatty acids for the cell membranes and to create healthy myelin, the insulation around the nerve cells. If the mitochondria are not healthy, the brain is stressed, and less healthy. If the myelin is not healthy, then thinking is slower, and impulsivity greater.

The brain however is more plastic than we realized, and has more healing power than has been appreciated. Providing intensive nutrition is unlikely to be harmful, and will likely be beneficial over time. While supplements have been studied – and found to be helpful, it is important to note our clinical understanding of nutrients is still limited. It is likely that there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of different compounds which are helpful to our mitochondria and the trillions of cells which make up our bodies. Therefore, foods, rich in micronutrients, are always preferable to relying on vitamins and supplements."
Hmm....I think I not only got a little reinforcement on what I already know about nutrition, but I also found even more importance in certain nutrients - besides finding a new staple in kale!


Terry Wahls, MD said...

Thanks for the post.
Kale is queen of foods. Glad you are enjoying it.

Terry Wahls, MD said...

Kale is queen. Great for your brain, your heart and your entire body. Keep it up!