Of all the superfoods available in the market, Kale remains one of the winners due to its medicinal properties. It is a green leafy vegetable that belongs to the wild cabbage family and is similar to collards, cauliflower, and broccoli. It is easy to cook and can help any dish taste better with its distinct flavor.
Eating kale every day can help ditch those multivitamin pills, as it is loaded with phytonutrients. Being low in calories makes it more important addition to the daily diet. It is available all round the year and has a sweet and earthy flavor. It maintains an impressive nutritional profile, which makes it remain on top of the world’s healthiest food items.
Why it is good for Health?
This green leafy vegetable is loaded with several vitamins like B1, B2, B3, B6, A, K and C. It is also loaded with nutrients, such as protein, dietary fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, potassium, and magnesium. It also contains ALA or Alpha Linoleic Acid, which is an omega 3 fatty acid that is good for overall health.
Kale possesses antidepressant, antioxidant, cardioprotective, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Doctors often recommend people to add kale to their diet 5 times a week to stay free from several kinds of infections and illnesses.
Top 10 Health Benefits Of Kale
Listed below are the top health benefits offered by kale.
1. Lowers the Risk of Developing Cancer
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable which is, in turn, part of plant’s Brassica genus. The potent combination of phytonutrients, antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids, and anti-inflammatory properties in kale helps to combat the risks of cancer in the prostate, colorectal, lung, and breast. These leaves are rich in sulforaphane compounds, which is cancer-fighting.
Its Vitamin K content prevents the damage caused by free radicals that can lead to cancer.
It has indole-3 carbinol compounds that curb the development of cancer. People having a higher risk of developing cancer should make sure that they eat kale every day.
2. Reduces Cholesterol Levels
The fiber compounds in steamed Kale attaches with the bile acids within the digestive system of the body. Bile acids are then excreted and the toxins are flushed off from the body quickly. The circulatory system performs effectively and it helps in maintaining cholesterol levels to normal ranges.
Kale has a group of resins that lowers the absorption of dietary fats and prevents the increase in cholesterol levels. One has to make sure that it is steamed before consumption.
3. Helps In Detoxification
The resins found in kale have the ability to fight against the carcinogens due to the presence of vitamin C for buffering the lining of the stomach to flush away the body toxins. The array of phytonutrients helps kale to put up a fight against the buildup of bacteria in the stomach. When the bloodstream is infused with these phytonutrients, it can create a defense mechanism in the circulatory system to fuel up the potency of the agents that fight against the toxins.
4. Lowers Inflammation
People suffering from medical conditions like arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders face severe pain and inflammation. Kale has ALA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and lowers the inflammation and the associated pain.
Including kale in morning smoothies and vegetable juices helps in reducing the inflammation due to the presence of Vitamins C and E. It also protects the body from being attacked by cytokines, the pro-inflammatory molecules.
5. Enhances Eye Health
Kale is an eye-friendly superfood that is loaded with loads of carotenoids that are essential for the body to produce Vitamin A, which offers protection to the cornea and restricts the eye cells from degenerating to assure excellent eyesight for many years. Also, it has carotenoids, such as zeaxanthin and lutein, which are essential for eye health.
Kale also protects against age-related eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. It also performs like a filter in the sunglasses and prevents eyes from different kinds of damages, right from UV rays to sun exposure. Taking kale in the form of salads, soups and juices regularly would help in maintaining excellent eyesight.
6. Offers Cardiovascular Support
Kale offers excellent protection against cardiovascular diseases. Its antioxidants prevent the cells from free radicals. The rich potassium and magnesium content maintains the blood pressure level and rules out the possibilities of developing the strokes.
Its bile binding properties help in lowering the LDL cholesterol, which otherwise is harmful to the heart. It also improves the HDL level in the body and lowers the risk of heart diseases. Having kale juice with chia seeds and flax seeds helps in promoting cardiovascular health.
7. Aids in Diabetes Management
Kale is rich in fiber, which makes it an ideal choice for people with Type 2 and Type 1 diabetes. It helps the Type 1 diabetes patients by lowering the blood glucose levels. When those who have type 2 diabetes consume kale, it helps in improving the insulin, lipid and blood sugar levels in the body.
The presence of omega-3 fatty acids in this leafy green vegetable helps in preventing the rise of glucose levels. It also prevents oxidative changes that are stress induced and improves sensitivity towards insulin.
8. Helps in Weight Loss
Kale is an excellent choice for people who wish to lose few extra pounds. Using it as a part of weight loss diet is beneficial as it is rich in fiber, carbohydrates, and calories. It helps eat less and feel fuller for several hours.
It is rich in fiber and has low density and water content that aids in losing weight fast. When kale is added in the daily diet, one gets the satisfaction of eating a big meal without adding any calories.
9. Quick Recovery from Anemia
A person suffers from anemia and fatigue when they have low red blood cells in the body. To improve the levels of hemoglobin and to increase the red blood cells, the body requires iron. The iron present in kale helps in preventing anemia.
The vitamin C in kale improves the body’s ability to absorb iron. It also has folic acid and Vitamin B12, which are the nutrients essential for boosting body’s energy and helps in recovering from anemia.
10. Promotes Bone Health
Kale is rich in essential nutrients. Vitamin K and calcium are present in it that are good for bone health and has a major role in avoiding osteoporosis. It also helps in retaining the calcium and Vitamin K inside the matrix of bone. This makes it a great alternative to dairy products and is a boon for people suffering from lactose intolerance.
Popular Ways to Add Kale to Daily Diet
- Soup: Add leaves of Kale to your favorite soup to make them richer in fiber, minerals and vitamin.
- Steaming: The other popular way to take leaf cabbage is in steamed form. Steam it till the leaves are soft. Red pepper powder or pepper flakes and salt could be added for flavoring.
- Pasta: Adding finely chopped leaves in pasta makes it healthy.
- Salad: Mix Kale with other green vegetables to make a tasty and healthy salad. Adding lemon juice directly to the leaves and allowing it to wilt before mixing it in salad would make them tastier.
- Smoothie: Some of the fruits that could be used with leaf cabbage for tasty and healthy smoothie are Apple, Banana, and Pineapple. These fruits mask the flavors of vegetable well.
Is raw Kale good for you?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. It is good if one takes it in cooked form or in equal proportions with other vegetables. Eating just raw leaves in the salad in large quantity is not recommended. Below are some of the ways one could have them that are considered as safe –
- Cook: Steam the leaves well for 5 to 7 minutes till they are soft. One could also cut the middle stem to make it even more soft for the stomach. It could also be steamed with olive oil or garlic.
- Care about Proportion: Making salad just with leaf cabbage leaves with little of other ingredients might not be a good idea. Use its leaves for garnishing or as a part of the whole salad.
Why eating it raw in large quantities might be bad for health?
Eating it raw or in the form of the main ingredient in the juice might do some bad then all good for the body.
- Gas & Bloating: It could lead to stomach related issues like gas or bloating.
- Kidney Problems: Since it is a high-oxalate food, consuming it raw in big quantity might lead to kidney stones. Well, in long run or could aid in it.
- Metabolic Activities: In some cases it was found to affect thyroid gland. Kale interferes with the thyroid gland’s ability to absorb iodine which is essential to make T3 and T4. If thyroid is not making enough T3 and T4, it could lead to Hypothyroidism.