Kale is a leafy green, belonging to the cruciferous vegetable family. You find broccoli, arugula, and Brussels sprouts in this group. Since it is easy for the local farmers to grow, you find Kale is available in plenty and inexpensive.
People group the Kale in the Superfood category with good reason. It has plenty of nutrients and helps us fight a variety of diseases and infections. This vegetable is popular among health freaks, and many of them use Kale to make their smoothies. It is top among the foods that contain lutein. People refer to Kale as the nutritional powerhouse and rightly so.
Kale nutritional content
One cup of Kale (67 grams) shows this nutrient content:
- Calories: 33
- Fat: 0
- Cholesterol: 0
- Sodium: 1 mg (1% of daily need)
- Vitamin K: 0.5 mg (684%)
- Vitamin A: 206%
- Vitamin C: 134%
- Carbohydrate: 7 grams (2%)
- Dietary fibre: 1 gram (5%)
- Protein: 2 grams
- Calcium: 9%
- Iron: 6%
Kale Health Benefits
Improves the vision
This is an important benefit of eating Kale. It has lutein and zeaxanthin, the two nutrients that give Kale the dark green colour help prevent macular degeneration. Further, it prevents the growth of cataracts.
They act as antioxidants in the eye. By filtering the harmful blue wavelengths of the incident light, the protect the inside of the eyes and maintain the healthy state of the cells. By maintaining the intake of Kale at sufficiently elevated levels, one can prevent damage to the eyes.
Gives good cardiovascular support
The support for the body systems is evident in the deep green colour of Kale. The best balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats in Kale is helpful. It makes the heart healthy. According to one study, one must get about 5-10% of the energy from polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). If you have a lower intake, the risk of coronary heart disease increases.
Like bananas, Kale has a satisfactory level of potassium. But, unlike bananas, it has fewer calories. This makes Kale a good heart-food. Potassium promotes vasodilation, and so it helps ease the elevated pressure. If one eats more amounts of potassium, it will reduce the risk of ischemic disease and cardiovascular disease by 49% and 33% respectively.
Vitamin K is an essential factor in blood clotting. When you do not have enough Vitamin K, it can lead to hemorrhages. Some people believe that low levels of Vitamin K will help cut the risk of heart disease. The absence of Vitamin K in the calcification process of the blood vessels will not be possible.
Has powerful antioxidants
Kale is an antioxidant superstar. You see Kale has antioxidants such as kaempferol, quercetin, beta-carotene, and Vitamin C in good levels. If you consider the free radical scavenging capacity or the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) rating, very few vegetables have a higher rating than Kale. These vegetables are beet greens, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, raw garlic, and arugula. Left to their own, these free radicals will destroy the healthy tissues. This leads to diseases such as macular degeneration of the eye, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, atherosclerosis, impaired immune system, asthma, thrombosis, and cardiovascular disease. Find best asthma natural treatment.
The antioxidant effect helps preserve and augment the beauty aspect such as supple skin and soft, healthy hair. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun results in the creation of metalloproteinases. These repair the damaged connective tissues. Yet, some of them destroy collagen. Kale helps destroy these free radicals that cause damage.
Good for brain development
Children need to eat Kale since it helps the brain to grow. The infant’s brain grows due to the presence of folate in the Kale. Even mothers can use Kale during their pregnancy to boost the amount of folate. This helps the infant to develop well and in a healthy manner. Kale helps a healthy neural tube formation, gives the infant adequate weight at birth and supports the proper formation of the heart and the face during birth.
High nutrient content
Kale has plenty of fibre and minerals. The amount of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A is high. Vitamin A is important from the perspective of vision and skin health. One needs Vitamin K for blood clotting, heart health and healthy bones. It also helps prevent diabetes and cancer. Vitamin C plays a key role in maintaining healthy joints. It promotes the immune system in the body.
The amount of Vitamin K is ten times the daily need while the amount of Vitamin A we get from the cup of Kale is almost all that we need daily. It provides three-fourths of our need of Vitamin C. It provides us with the good nourishment of minerals. Kale has good amounts of iron, magnesium, and calcium. We can digest the minerals we get from Kale because the oxalate content is low.
The oxalate is a substance present in most of the food we eat. It prevents the absorption of the minerals during digestion. But, the low levels of oxalate in Kale helps us to digest the minerals easily. When the oxalate content increases, they form stones in the urinary bladder. These become problems.
Provides anti-inflammatory support
The dark green colour signifies the presence of many anti-inflammatory agents in the vegetable.
Prevents the incidence of cancer
Kale stimulates apoptosis. This is the self-destruction of the cancer cells.
Good urinary health
Other than giving protection from bladder cancer, Kale helps to prevent urinary tract infections. The reason for this is the high content of pro-vitamin A content. We know that pro-vitamin A helps to promote the health of the lining of the urinary tract. In a study conducted to investigate the recurrent UTI among a batch of volunteers, they split the study group into two.
One got only the antimicrobial treatment while the other group got both the antimicrobial treatment and the vitamin A supplement. They saw that the infection rate stayed at 2.7 in the study group, while the infection rate dropped from 3.3 to 0.8 in the second group who get the vitamin supplement. Some people who have excessive urination due to oxalate will also benefit since Kale is low in oxalates.
If you cook Kale, you lose a good portion of its Vitamin C content and the polyphenol content. But, the beta-carotene content remains the same. You can eat the young leaves of Kale raw in the form of a salad.