What is Kale?
The vegetable belongs to the Brassica family, along with broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Kale comes in two different forms: kale with smooth leaves and kale with curly, crinkly leaves. Its leaves are typically either green, blue, or purple.
This long neglected vegetable has gained immense recognition lately as one of the best superfoods, for its exceptional nutrient richness, health benefits, and delicious flavor, and often referred to as the “queen of greens”, “the new beef”, and the new “vegetable cow”.
Why makes Kale a Superfood?
Kale is fat free, high in protein, contains easily-extractable essential amino acids, is the king of carotenoids , is abundant in omega 3 fatty acids, and unlike inorganic minerals, e.g. limestone, bone meal, oyster shell, the calcium in kale is alive with life-sustaining energy.
Here are 16 Healthy Reasons to make Kale a part of your everyday diet:
- Aids Weight Loss: Kale is a good source of dietary fiber which improves the digestive action, bowel movements, and quick disposal of toxins and waste products. Along with its low calorie count and zero fat, it is a must-have on any weight loss diet. Vitamin C it contains hydrates your body and increases your metabolism, leading to weight loss and healthy blood sugar levels.
- High Iron Content: Iron is essential for formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function, and more. High chlorophyll content in kale helps elevate hemoglobin levels, boosting overall body health.
- Bone Strength: Kale is an incredible source of well-absorbed calcium, helps prevent bone loss, stalls the onset of osteoporosis, and maintains healthy metabolism. Vitamin C is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility.
- Anti-Inflammatory: The anti inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids help fight and alleviate arthritis, autoimmune disorders and asthma. Phytonutrients, such as quercetin, help combat inflammation and prevent arterial plaque formation. Kale, which is basically alkaline in content, along with vitamin K, helps improve blood circulation reducing chronic inflammation.
- Anti Cancer: Carotenoids and flavonoids, along with the phytonutrient, sulforaphane, are active cancer-fighting compounds. Kale also contains organosulfur compounds, broken by the body into isothiocyanates, inducing cancer-destroying enzymes that inhibit colon, prostate and ovarian cancer cell growth. The indole-3-carbinol boosts DNA health and inhibits cancer cell growth.
- Detoxifier: Kale’s great detoxifiers, fiber and sulfur, lower cholesterol, and keep your liver healthy. Isothiocyanates, found in Kale, when broken down to glucosinolates, help to regulate detoxification activities at the core genetic level, the body cells.
- Immune Booster: Kale’s impressive concentration of nutrients strengthens the immune system and fights viruses and bacteria. Iron boosts oxygen supply to your blood warding off anemia, phytonutrient sulforaphane nourishes the immune system, and Vitamin C hydrates and provides antioxidants, aiding metabolism promoting processes.
- For Skin: Vitamin A prevents dry and flaky skin, repairs underlying skin tissues, and prevents damage caused by free radicals. Contains phytonutrients, lutein, and beta-carotene, that improve skin’s elasticity, firmness and keep it supple. Vitamin C and K, help prevent premature aging of the skin, and fight dark circles and wrinkled skin.
- For Hair: Kale is packed with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, that increase blood circulation to the scalp, strengthen hair follicles, prevent hair breakage, and improve elasticity of hair.
- For Vision: Kale contains a high concentration of beta-carotene and carotenoids (zeaxathin and lutein), that act as sunglass filters, protecting eyes against UV rays, built up of cataracts and protect the retina against free radicals.
- Lowers LDL cholesterol: Kale juice favorably influences serum lipid profiles and antioxidant systems, and reduces the risks of coronary artery disease, among hypercholesterolemic patients. The bile acid isolators, cholestyramine and colestipol, are excellent agents for lowering circulating low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.
- Protein source: Kale is one of the best bio-available protein sources, for growth, repair and nourishment of muscle tissues. Kale provides larger amounts of protein than meat, establishing it as a viable protein source for vegetarians.
- Rich in Antioxidants: Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers. The best antioxidant source of beta-carotene, Kale helps fights cancer, heart disease, and certain age-related chronic diseases. Manganese in kale helps your body’s own antioxidant defense system, superoxide dismutase, protecting you from damaging free radicals. Its folate and B6 team up to keep homocysteine levels down, preventing heart disease, dementia, and osteoporosis bone fractures.
- ALA source: Kale is actually a great source of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that’s essential for brain health, reduces Type 2 diabetes risk, and boots heart health as well.
- Vitamin K source: Vitamin K is also found in Kale which strengthens the body’s bone health, forestalling the effects of osteoporosis, prevents clotting of blood, is anti-inflammatory and also helps in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. .
- For Brain Health: Omega 3 in kale helps delay the damage to brain cells due to high blood sugar in people who are diabetic or obese.
The world has already woken up to the health wonders of Kale. If you have made the wise decision to make greens a part and parcel of your diet then Kale should be right on top of your grocery list.