10 Health Benefits of Kale
Of all the super healthy greens, kale is the king.
It is definitely one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant foods in existence.
Kale is loaded with all sorts of beneficial compounds.
What is Kale?
Kale is a popular vegetable, a member of the cabbage family (Brassica oleracea).
It is related to cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts.
There are many different types of kale. The leaves can be green or purple in colour, and have either a smooth or curly shape.
The most common type of kale is called curly, which has green and curly leaves and a hard, fibrous stem.
Here are 10 health benefits of kale, which are supported by science.
1. Kale Is Among the Most Nutrient Dense Foods on the Planet
About 65g of raw kale contains
With a total of 33 calories.
Kale is very high in nutrients and very low in calories, making it one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.
2. Kale Is Loaded With Powerful Antioxidants like Quercetin and Kaempferol
Kale, like other leafy greens, is very high in antioxidants.
This includes beta-carotene, vitamin C, as well as various flavonoids and polyphenols
Antioxidants are substances that help counteract oxidative damage by free radicals in the body
Oxidative damage is believed to be among the leading drivers of aging and many diseases, including cancer
Many powerful antioxidants are found in kale, including Quercetin and Kaempferol, which have numerous beneficial effects on health.
3. It Is an Excellent Source of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an important nutrient.
It is a water-soluble antioxidant that serves many vital functions in the body's cells.
For example, it is necessary to synthesize collagen, the most abundant structural protein in the body.
Kale is extremely high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that has many important roles in the body. A single cup of raw kale actually contains more vitamin C than an orange.
4. Kale Can Help Lower Cholesterol, Which May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Cholesterol has many important functions in the body.
One of them is being used to make bile acids, which are substances that help us digest fats.
The liver turns cholesterol into bile acids, which are then released into the digestive system whenever we eat a fatty meal.
When all the fat has been absorbed and the bile acids have served their purpose, they are reabsorbed into the bloodstream and used again.
Substances called bile acid sequestrants can bind bile acids in the digestive system and prevent them from being reabsorbed. This reduces the total amount of cholesterol in the body.
5. Kale Is One of the World's Best Sources of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is an important nutrient.
It is absolutely critical for blood clotting, and does this by "activating" certain proteins and giving them the ability to bind calcium.
The well known anticoagulant drug Warfarin actually works by blocking the function of this vitamin.
Kale is one of the world's best sources of vitamin K, with a single raw cup containing almost 7 times the recommended daily amount.
6. There Are Numerous Cancer-Fighting Substances in Kale
Cancer is a terrible disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells.
Kale is actually loaded with compounds that are believed to have protective effects against cancer.
This includes sulforaphane, a substance that has been shown to help fight the formation of cancer at the molecular level
It also contains a indole-3-carbinol, another substance that is believed to help prevent cancer
Studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables (including kale) may significantly lower the risk of several cancers.
7. Kale Is Very High in Beta-Carotene
Kale is often claimed to be high in vitamin A, but this is false.
It is actually high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body can turn into vitamin A
For this reason, kale can be an effective way to increase your body's levels of this very important vitamin
8. Kale Is a Good Source of Minerals That Most People Don't Get Enough of
Kale is high in minerals, some of which many people are deficient in.
It is a good, plant-based source of calcium, a nutrient that is very important for bone health and plays a role in all sorts of cellular functions.
It is also a decent source of magnesium, an incredibly important mineral that most people don't get enough of. Eating plenty of magnesium may be protective against type 2 diabetes and heart disease
Kale also contains quite a bit of potassium, a mineral that helps maintain electrical gradients in the body's cells. Adequate potassium intake has been linked to reduced blood pressure and a lower risk of heart disease
One advantage that kale has over leafy greens like spinach, is that it is low in oxalate, a substance found in some plants that can prevent minerals from being absorbed
9. Kale Is High in Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Powerful Nutrients That Protect the Eyes
One of the most common consequences of ageing is that eyesight gets worse.
Fortunately, there are several nutrients in the diet that can help prevent this from happening.
Two of the main ones are Lutein and Zeaxanthin, carotenoid antioxidants that are found in large amounts in kale and some other foods.
Many studies have shown that people who eat enough Lutein and Zeaxanthin have a much lower risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, two very common eye disorders.
10. Kale should be Able to Help You Lose Weight
Kale has several properties that should make it a weight loss friendly food.
It is very low in calories... but still provides significant bulk that should help you feel full.
Because of the low calorie and high water content, kale has a low energy density.
Eating plenty of foods with a low energy density has been shown to aid weight loss in numerous studies
Despite the low amount of calories, it does contain small amounts of protein and fibre. These are two of the most important nutrients when it comes to losing weight.
Although there is no study directly testing the effects of kale on weight loss, it makes sense that it could be a useful addition to a weight loss diet.
Eat your Kale!
Fortunately... adding kale to your diet is relatively simple. You can simply add it to your salads or use it in recipes.
A popular snack is kale chips, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil on your kale, add some salt and then bake in an oven until dry.
This tastes absolutely delicious and is a great, crunchy and super healthy snack.
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