Today, some people refer kale as the new beef or a nutritional power house. Still, there are those who refer kale as the queen of greens.
Kale belongs to the cabbage family.It is loaded with nutrients. This amazing vegetable is readily available in grocery stores and farmer's markets.
Despite being in the cabbage family, kale has a fresh flavor, greener, and even earthier.
Also, it takes around five minutes to prepare kale. Originally, kale was used as a cure of drunkenness and was first used in Greek and Roman times.
It spread to Asia and Europe in the Middle Ages and did eventually spread to the rest of the world later.
How to Cook Kale
Many people are today praising Kale as a plant that has lots of benefits, including health benefits. Kale is the most nutritious and healthiest plant foods in existence.
Below are the health benefits of kale
1. Kale is a Good source of Vitamin C
It's arguably true that Vitamin C is an imperative nutrient. Vitamin C is a water soluble antioxidant, and as such it serves many important functions in the cells.
For instance, this vitamin is needed for the synthesis of collagen, an abundant structural protein in the body.
Compared to other vegetables like spinach, Kale is richer in Vitamin C and is among the best sources of Vitamin C. lack of proper amount of Vitamin can lead to the following;
- Bleeding gums
- Muscle aches.
Vitamin C is also referred to ascorbic acid. Since it is a strong antioxidant, it helps with common cold.
The truth is, a cup of kale has around 134% of the daily recommended dosage of Vitamin C while an orange contains about 113%. Therefore, kale is a better source of Vitamin C than oranges.
2. Powerful Antioxidants such as Quercetin are Present in Kale
Leafy greens are high in antioxidants and kale is no exemption. Kale is loaded with powerful antioxidants like Kaempferol and quercetin.
Also, it loaded beta-carotene. Antioxidants are essential in the body because they help counter oxidative damage by free radicals in your body.
Oxidative damage can be the cause of aging and diseases like cancer.
Kaempferol and Quercetin have powerful cardioprotective and effective when it comes to lowering blood pressure.
Also, they are effective as antidepressants, antiviral, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory effects among others.
The fact is, many powerful antioxidants are loaded in kale, including Kaempferol and quercetin and all have beneficial effects on health.
3. Cancer Prevention
Kale happens to be one of the cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetables and as such helpful when it comes to stopping cancer in tracks.
Kale is a great source of the organosulfur compound which is considered to be a great natural way of preventing diverse forms of cancer.
When organosulfur is broken down, Isothiocyanates is the result which aid break down cancer cells. Colon cancer is considered to the nastiest form of cancer and kale can be used to fight it.
Lung cancer can be reduced by 39% with consumption of kales. Also, kale helps provide a healthy immune system which is important in the fight against cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables protect against cancer. The National Cancer Institute asserts that cruciferous vegetables are rich in glucosinolates and as such have ability to kill cancer.
During digestion and chewing process, these chemicals break down into compounds that prevent the growth of cancer cells.
4. Ideal for Healthy Vision
Improving eyesight is another health benefit of kale. Zeaxanthin and lutein are two nutrients responsible for the dark hue in kale.
These nutrients are important in the body because they help prevent muscular degeneration as well as cataracts. Zeaxanthin and lutein act as antioxidants in the eye. Their work is to filter harmful blue wavelengths of lights, usually high-energy.
According to American Optometric Association (AOA), Zeaxanthin and lutein help maintain and protect healthy cells. AOA asserts that of the 600 carotenoids that are found in nature, only Zeaxanthin and lutein are deposited in the eye's retina and high quantities.
As such, kale is an imperative vegetable for eye health as it contains Vitamin C and all combination of antioxidants that are helpful in protecting the eye from UV rays.
5. Great for Healthy Pregnancy
Almost all expectant mothers look forward to a healthy pregnancy. Of the prenatal foods around, kale is among the best since it is packed with nutrients.
Kale is ideal for expectant mothers because it is critical for maintaining the health of a mother so that they can delivers healthy child.
An expectant mother should enjoy three types of kales namely curly, red and Lucinato. Curly kale is great in smoothies and stir-fries.
The lucinato type has a strong flavor and is great when in salads or when sauteed. Red is tasty in soups or salads.
6. Perfect for Diabetes
In America, about 25.8 million people have diabetes with 8.3% are of the U.S. population. There are nine healthiest foods for diabetes, and kale is one of them.
About 16 grams of fresh kales provides about 0.6 grams of fiber. About 130 grams of kale provide 2.6 grams of fiber. Individuals with type 1 diabetes need to consume diets rich in fiber to lower blood glucose levels.
Also a diet rich in fiber helps individuals with type 2 diabetes improve insulin, lipids, and blood sugar levels. As such, kale is an ideal veggie for people with diabetes.
Alpha-lipoic acid, present in kales, lower glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Also Alpha-lipoic acid prevent oxidative stress as well as autonomic and peripheral neuropathy in people with diabetes.
7. Prevention of Heart Disease
The Vitamin C, potassium, B6 and fiber found in kale support heart health. A decrease in sodium intake and increase in potassium intake is an imperative dietary that you can make to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
High potassium intake of about 4060 mg reduces risk of heart disease by 49%. Also, high intake of potassium is associated preservation of bone mineral density and reduced risk of stroke.
Kale helps lower cholesterol, which may in turn reduce the danger of heart disease. Kale contains bile acid sequestrants which bind bile acids and as such can lower cholesterol levels.
Over time, this leads to reduced chances of heart disease. Kale juice improves antioxidant status and lowers cholesterol by 10%. Steamed kale is 43% of lowering cholesterol.
8. The Best Source of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is one of the important nutrients that the body needs. Vitamin K is critical for blood clotting and is best in this function since it activates certain proteins and enables them to bind calcium.
Additionally, Vitamin K has antioxidant benefits and regulates blood sugar levels and prevents arteries from calcification.
Kale contains Vitamin K1 which helps prevent osteoporosis and heart disease. A cup of raw kale contains seven times the recommended daily amount of Vitamin K.
9. Helpful in Weight Loss
Dietary fiber is crucial for a healthy immune system. Each cup of kale contains about 2.4 g of dietary fiber, and that is nearly 10% of what you are recommended to consume in a daily diet of 2,000 calorie.
Dietary fiber is essential since it reduces hunger is an ideal tool for weight control. Harvard University did acknowledge that 66 is rich in protein which can make you feel full. A single cup of this plant contains 33 calories.
When combine with chicken broth, vegetable soup or tomato paste, kale will fill you up and as such help in weight loss.
Kale contains vitamins, potassium, and calcium, and many other minerals that can help lower blood pressure because they give important amount of nutrients.
10. Kale helps in Digestion
Kale is high in water content and fiber. Fiber and water content are essentials in the body because they help prevent constipation.
In fact, high water content and fiber helps promote regularity as well as a healthy digestive tract.
Studies show that kale contain vitamin essential for iron absorption and vitamins B essential for energy release from the food.
11. Dealing with Depression
Today, kale has spread to unlikely places. For instance, the Cheesecake Factory added kale to its menu.
Almost everyone is crazy about the spread, including restaurants and celebrities. According to a psychiatrist at Columbia University, kale contains nutrients that make you feel optimistic and therefore helps ward off depression.
Consumption of kales keeps us healthy and helps in mood because it contains phytonutrients molecules.
The molecules produce carotenoid. Harvard University acknowledges that carotenoids help in uplifting mood.
Other studies show that kale contains omega-3 acids which are helpful when it comes to fighting depression symptoms.
12. Healthy Hair, Nails and Skin
Beta-carotene is one of the carotenoid that kale contains and our bodies convert it into vitamin A. a single cup of cooked kale has 885 mcg of retinol A equivalent which is essential for the growth of bodily tissues, including hair and skin.
Also, the nutrient helps in the production of sebum. Sebum is essential in the body because:
- It helps keep skin moisturized
- It helps keep hair moisturized
Eyesight, reproductive function, and immune function rely on Vitamin A. there are 53.3 mg of vitamin C in a cup of cooked kale.
Vitamin C is required to build and maintain collagen, which is a key protein that provides structure for hair, skin, and bones. Kale is rich in iron.
Therefore, it could help prevent hair loss connected to iron deficiency.
Another top health benefit associated with kale is that it is a natural detoxifier. So, kale helps remove toxins and eliminates them from your body.
This is possible because kale contains Isothiocyanates, made from glucosinolates. Isothiocyanates help detox your body mainly at the celLular level.
Toxins increase the toxic level of your body and increases the likelihood of disease. Antioxidants helps destroy the toxins and the glucosinolates helps detoxify them. Sulphur compounds present in kale help in detoxification.
Nutrients in kale can help your body deal with toxic exposure from your food or from the environment.
Glucosinolates can be easily diminished in certain conditions hence the health benefits of kale are potent the sooner you get it after harvesting.
14. Bone Health
Bone health is important for good health. Lack of vitamin K or low intakes of this vitamin is associated with a high risk of bone fracture.
Therefore, sufficient vitamin K is essential for good health because it improves calcium absorption and modifies bone matrix proteins. Also, vitamin K helps reduce urinary excretion calcium.
Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K. the calcium content in kale are more than those in milk, and it is this reason that it is able to prevent osteoporosis, bone loss, and to maintain healthy metabolism.
Vitamin C present is helpful to maintain joint flexibility and cartilage.
15. Strengthens Immune System
Kale has impressive concentration of nutrients that strengthens your immune system and help fight bacteria and viruses.
Kale is a great sour. of minerals for vegetarians and vegans because it has more iron than beef.
It will greatly help you if you are anemic and also helps more oxygen get to your blood. If you don't get enough of minerals, consider taking kale. Kale is a good source of:
- Calcium, which you need for bone health and cellular functions
- Magnesium, which may be protective against heart disease and type 2 diabetes
- Potassium, an important mineral that is linked to lower risk of heart disease reduced blood pressure
Another advantage of kale over leafy greens is that it has low oxalate, a substance that is found in other leafy greens and can prevent absorption of minerals.
Eating kale is beneficial to your health because it is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. The Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids present in kale make it an ideal anti-inflammatory food.
The omega-3 ratio in kale are important because they help fight and alleviate:
- Autoimmune disorders
Vitamin C in kale helps in relieving stiff joints. In America, many people eat processed food rich in omega-6, and they are likely to cause chronic inflammatory which is linked to diseases like arthritis.
Kale is a natural food that promotes omega-6, pro-inflammatory, and omega-3, the anti-inflammatory. Omega-3 helps reduce the negatives associated with omega-6.
17. Important for Brain Development in Infants
Brain development in infants is another health benefits of eating kale. Kale helps in infant brain development usually in the womb.
Eating kale regularly is recommended because it can help avert congenital disabilities because it's a valuable source of folate. Kale promotes:
- Proper development of the heart and face
- Healthy formation of the neural tube
- Adequate birth weight
If you are in the childbearing age, the chances are that your doctor will push folic acid supplementation, a synthetic version of folate that occurs naturally. With kale, there will be no need for the supplementation.
18. Good for Brain Health
In this era, stroke is one of the health problems that you are likely to face. You don't have to worry because kale contains at minimum 45 different flavonoids and as such, it can help reduce the risk of stroke.
Still, kale contains 7% of your daily iron needs. Iron is important in your body as it helps in the formation of hemoglobin, which is the main carrier of oxygen to the cell of your body.
Hemoglobin is critical for muscle and brain health. Kale contains omega-3 acids which are great for brain health.
These fatty acids are important for brain memory, behavioral function, and improved brain performance. Sulforaphane, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant in kale help in cognitive function after your brain has been injured.
19. A leafy Green Rich in Beta-Carotene
Kale is rich in beta-carotene, an important antioxidant that your body turns into vitamin A.
therefore, you need to eat kale so that you give yourself the chance of increasing the level of vitamin A in your body.
It is because of this reason and the ones above you should consider having kale in your diet.
20. High in Iron
When compared per calorie, kale is high in iron than other food like beef. You need iron for good health.
For instance, your body needs iron for the formation of enzymes and hemoglobin.
Also, your body needs iron for the transportation of oxygen to various body parts, proper functioning of your liver, and cell growth among others.
21. Kale has Zero fat, high in Fiber, and Low in Calorie
One single cup of kale has 5 grams of fiber, 36 calories, and contains zero fat.
So, kale is a great option when it comes to aiding in digestion since it has a great fiber content.
In addition to the high fiber content, it is filled with vitamins, nutrients, magnesium, and folate that your body needs for optimal functioning and proper growth.
22. Lowering Cholesterol
There is a high content of fiber in kale. Fiber is essential since it helps cleanse and detoxify your body.
It also helps lowering cholesterol since it can pick up all excess cholesterol compounds in the gut and then gets rid of them in the elimination process.
Kale will reduce your body's cholesterol levels when cooked or raw although steaming is considered to be the most ideal and offers the greatest benefit.
When kale is steamed, fiber has a better chance of binding to bile in your digestive tract, resulting in high cholesterol removal.
23. Kale is Rich in Manganese
When it comes to dietary meals, it is likely that you will first think of calcium and iron. Magnesium or zinc also add up to nutrition.
You need minerals so that your body can function properly. One of the minerals that you need is manganese.
This mineral is important because it helps your body build strong bones. It aids in bone care because it has an enzyme that your body needs in the fight against ultra violet damage from the sun.
24. Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids
What your body needs for proper functioning are a great source of omega-3 and alpha-linoleic acids which are present in kale.
As discussed above, omega-3 acid is vital for brain health, boosting heart health, and reducing the risk of diabetes, precisely type 2.
Also, omega-3 is ideal for treating arthritis, improving cardiovascular health, reduction of symptoms related to bipolar disorder, and reducing the chances of sudden death for heart attack victims.
Kale is one of the powerful food that you should add to your diet. It is one of the ideal ways to see to it that your body functions properly.
Kale can be added to smoothies to boost nutritional value. Bottom line, kale is a nutritious and healthy food.
If you are looking for a way to boost your nutrient intake, consider having kale in your meals.
Author: Kathy R. Padgett
Health & Fitness Expert. Love to take challenge. She is also recipe Lover.