A lot of us have heard about the health benefits of kale or have seen that green leafy vegetable on the shelves at the stores.
So what are the health benefits of kale that makes it so popular among people supporting a healthy lifestyle?
Kale is a leafy vegetable that is related to the vegetable family of cruciferous. Kale comes in different varieties: for the most part, it has curly and green leaves, however, the leaves may be smooth, bluish or even purple.
It was known since Roman times and was cultivated in China and Europe for many years.
Nowadays it gains back its popularity, especially among people who support a healthy lifestyle, or would like to lose extra weight.
So what are the health benefits of kale?
1. Rich On Nutrients
Kale is rich in nutrients. Some main nutrients it contains include the following (1):
Vitamin A – This is a retinoid that is important for the optimal operation of the body’s immune system, vision, the reproductive system and the nervous system
Vitamin K – It is important for assisting the blood to properly clot and supports bone health.
Furthermore, it decreases the risk for both coronary heart disease and osteoporosis
Vitamin C – Kale contains a lot of vitamin C that is a potent antioxidant. This nutrient helps with some cancers, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disease.
This is in addition to the production of collagen that maintains healthy skin
Vitamin B6 – This is required by the body to metabolize fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
It has also been proven to decrease the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease
Calcium – It is rich in calcium that supports the function and structure of the teeth and bones.
This nutrient is also required for nerve transmission, dilation and contraction of blood vessels, muscle function, cellular communication and hormone secretion
Magnesium – It assists to control all biochemical reactions that are related to protein synthesis, blood sugar regulation, blood pressure management as well as muscle and nerve function.
Magnesium can significantly decrease the risk of stroke and heart disease
Folate – The concentration of folate in kale is high. This makes it ideal for pregnant women and those who need it for various health reasons.
Folate helps in preventing birth defects and promotes proper brain development especially in infants
2. A Good Source of Antioxidants
Kale has very high quantities of antioxidants such as Polyphenols, Flavonoids, Vitamin C and Beta-carotene. This helps in keeping oxidation in check.
Kale has 2 flavonoids in abundance i.e. kaempferol and quercetin. This also plays an important role in lowering the risk of cancer, improving mood, fighting viruses, reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure and protecting the cardiovascular system.
3. Helps Managing Your Cholesterol Level
Consuming kale can help in managing cholesterol.
Kale has bile acid sequestrants thus making it effective in binding bile acids. It binds at least 25% of bile acids (2).
In this way, this vegetable helps to manage cholesterol.
4. May Decrease The Risk Of Cancer
Cancer is the overgrowth of cells.
Kale has certain substances that help in lowering the risk of cancer. It has a protective enzyme called sulforaphane that has anticarcinogenic effects. Indole-3-carbinol found in kale also protects against the effects of cancer.
5. May Prevent From Heart Disease And Diabetes
Kale has most minerals that people are deficient in, such as magnesium that offers protection against heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Potassium found in kale decreases the risk of hypertension and heart disease.
Calcium in kale lowers the body’s ability to absorb fat and lowers cholesterol thus decreasing the risk of heart disease.
6. Help With Weight Loss
The water and fiber in kale help people to feel full thus helping in weight loss. It delivers a substantial amount of protein and complex fibrous carbohydrates that also help the consumer to feel full (3).
It is a low-density food, and these promote weight loss in general.
The human body is exposed to numerous toxins found all the environment.
A routine cleansing is important to restore both balances as well as health.
Eating kale can help to achieve this as it has isothiocyanates derived from glucosinolates. These are associated with powerful detoxification properties.
7. Has Anti-inflammatory Properties
Inflammation may be important for health but is also associated with chronic health issues, discomfort, and pain.
Kale contains anti-inflammatory properties that fight excessive inflammation i.e. it mitigates the symptoms and even the progression of such inflammatory diseases.
The omega-3, as well as omega-6 fatty acids in kale, are credited for this.
8. Helps To maintain Brain Health
Kale has over 45 flavonoids that significantly assist in decreasing the risk of a stroke (4).
Its high content of omega-3 fatty acid is important for brain health, protecting and improving memory performance and function.
The anti-inflammatory effects of kale’s antioxidants can boost cognitive function, particularly after a traumatic injury to the brain.
Consumption and Storage
Kale is available in two varieties i.e. organic kale and regular kale.
It is recommended that you buy organic kale.
This is because it has been grown in environments that are safe, is not treated with chemicals and is grown on healthy soil.
Purchase kale that is strong and possesses a deep color.
Look for the ones with moist stems.
At home, thoroughly wash the kale and get rid of all dirt by rinsing.
Dry it off, cut off its hard stems and bundle the leaves up in a dry paper towel.
Place the kale in a plastic bag but do not close.
Store the kale, paper towel and the bag in the crisper drawer of a fridge. It can be stored for 4 days or even frozen for longer periods.
Kale can be added to soup, smoothies or pasta sauce. Popular kale recipes include:
- Baked kale chips
- Garlic Kale
- Kale and strawberry smoothie
Boost Your Health By Eating Kale
The insightful information above clearly outlines the health benefits that kale has to offer.
This versatile food can be enjoyed in different ways but still benefit from its nourishing properties.