Hey…This Article Is Trying To Ruin Kale For Us
Seriously…If You Eat Much Kale You Owe It To Yourself To Read This
Kale is certainly a big favorite of raw foodies and juicers everywhere and anyone who has been into juicing for a while probably has juiced more than a fair share of kale leaves. But Kale, like other members of the cabbage family is great at sucking up a toxic heavy metal called thallium from the soil – so good, in fact, it’s sometimes used to clean thallium from contaminated soil. Does this mean we should stop eating kale altogether? Maybe or maybe not, but please educate yourself a bit before downing it like crazy.
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…today’s kale-fixated juice-heads may doing themselves a disservice. That’s a possibility raised by an article in Craftsmanship magazine by Todd Oppenheimer. The piece doesn’t establish a definitive link between heavy kale consumption and any health problem, but it does raise the question of whether too much of even a highly nutritious food like kale can have unhappy side effects.
The article focuses on an alt-medicine researcher and molecular biologist named Ernie Hubbard, who began to notice an odd trend among some of his clinic’s clients in California’s Marin County, a place known for its organic farms, health-food stores, and yoga studios. Extremely health-conscious people were coming into to complain of “persistent but elusive problems”: “Chronic fatigue. Skin and hair issues. Arrhythmias and other neurological disorders. Foggy thinking. Gluten sensitivity and other digestive troubles. Sometimes even the possibility of Lyme Disease.”
Hubbard began to find detectable levels of a toxic heavy metal called thallium in patients’ blood samples—at higher-than-normal leves—as well as in kale leaves from the region. Meanwhile, “over and over,” he found that patients complaining of symptoms associated with low-level thallium poisoning—fatigue, brain fog, etc.—would also be heavy eaters of kale and related vegetables, like cabbage.
And he found, in the form of this 2006 peer-reviewed paper by Czech researchers, evidence that kale is really good at taking up thallium from soil. The paper concluded that kale’s ability to accumulate soil-borne thallium is “very high and can be a serious danger for food chains.”
Now, just because kale and other brassicas can effectively take up thallium from soil doesn’t mean that they always contain thallium. The metal has to find its way into soil first. It exists at low levels in the Earth’s crust, and the main way it gets concentrated at high enough levels to cause worry is through “nearby cement plants, oil drilling, smelting, and, most of all, in the ash that results from coal burning,” Oppenheimer reports. The researcher he profiled, Hubbard, has so far not succeeded in nailing down the source of the thallium that he found in his kale samples.
And there’s also the question of quantity. One of Hubbard’s patients with heightened thallium levels in her urine and mild symptoms of thallium poisoning ate so much cabbage over the years that she called herself the “cabbage queen.” When she “cut way back” on her favorite vegetable, she tells Oppenheimer, her thallium levels dropped, and her symptoms improved.