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Eat more kale to keep your eyes and heart healthy

by , 02 June 2015

Popeye was right, but he shouldn't have stopped with spinach. He should've also included kale - a leafy green cruciferous vegetable of the Brassica genus, which includes broccoli, collards and Brussels sprouts.

For decades, scientists have known that phytonutrients found in leafy greens are wonderful antioxidants that can disarm free radicals before they can damage DNA and cell membranes.

Recent research indicates that the phytonutrients in kale specifically work at a much deeper level though…

Health-promoting phytonutrients in kale have been gaining attention for their powerful effects in combating macular degeneration and heart disease. Read on to find out more.

Kale is abundant in carotenoids that are great for your eye health

In addition to many compounds that kale contains, it’s also rich in carotenoids (natural plant pigments that absorb blue light).
 
Kale is especially rich in two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which both act like sunglass filters and can significantly help prevent eye damage from excessive sunlight exposure.
 
In several studies, people with a history of eating lutein-rich foods (such as kale) had up to 22% lower risk for cataracts, which would otherwise have been severe enough to require extraction.
 
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The lutein in kale decreases artery thickness to prevent heart problems

The benefits of kale extend to prevent of heart disease. An 18-month study from the University of Southern California found that in a group of 480 men and women aged 40 to 60 with no history of heart disease, those with the lowest lutein intake were five times more likely develop heart disease.
 
Researchers explained that this is because lutein found in kale decreases artery thickness. And, as you might already know, artery thickening is a huge risk factor for heart disease. So not eating enough foods that help prevent this could put your ticker at great risk.
 
In addition, the researchers from this study found that lutein can also help reduce plaque formation – another serious heart disease risk factor.
 
Editor’s note: Do you already suffer from heart disease? Then this might interest you! Our researchers at the Natural Health Dossier recently uncovered that statin drugs are only one of three great heart disease scams South Africans are falling for every day. Discover the other two, plus what you can do about them, in this urgent health report

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