Kale leaves, or simply kale, are packed with health benefits. It is a dark leafy vegetable belonging to the cabbage family. It is a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli and cabbage.
Kale has been a part of the world for a long time. But it has recently gained more attention.
There are many foods that are made from this vegetable. Juicing the kale or adding them to smoothies results in nutritious drinks.
Many researchers and experts have called this vegetable a superfood. It is because they contain a plentiful amount of important minerals and vitamins.
Kale is Nutrition Power House
The nutritional content of this leafy green vegetable is worth mentioning. This leafy green vegetable is low in calories and provides an abundance of vital vitamins and minerals.
100 grams of kale leaves will give you the following:
- Calcium 254 mg
- Vitamin C 93 mg
- Vitamin A 241 mcg
- Iron 1.6 mg
- Vitamin B-6 0.147 mg
- Folate 62 mcg
Most notable is the amount of vitamin A and C. People who are suffering from deficiency of these vitamins should add kales to their diet. Adding kale to a meal plan is easy. You can consume them raw, add them to salad, smoothies, or cook them.
Health benefits of kale
Kale benefits in Weight Loss
Weight loss has always been linked with vegetables. Green vegetables are particularly important.
Leafy green vegetables are low caloric and nutrient-dense. They are best for weight management. In this regard, adding kale to food is a wise choice.
For weight loss, kale benefits us in different ways.
It is a low-calorie leafy vegetable. It also has a high content of water which may aid in weight loss. Since it is dense in nutrients, they make you feel fuller.
Replacing potato chips with kale chips can also help you drop extra pounds.
There is also a small amount of fiber in it. This also contributes to better digestion and satiety.
One study was done on fruits and vegetables’ effect on weight. The results indicated less weight increase with the consumption of more non-starchy vegetables.
Kale Benefits Our Skin
Kale can improve our skin health.
They are filled with antioxidants. These antioxidants can bind the skin cell-damaging radicals and make your skin healthy.
Some of the kale benefits for the skin include:
- Reduction of wrinkles
- Removal of dead skin cells
- Prevention of rashes
- May reduce risk of skin cancer
Moreover, vitamin C, an antioxidant, found in this leafy green vegetable improves skin health. It binds free radicals and regenerates vitamin E from them. Additionally, Vitamin C can repair DNA damage, which can reverse or prevent chances of skin cancer.
Polyphenols in them can also play a good role. Researches have revealed improvement in skin wrinkle and elasticity with high polyphenol consumption.
A whole food plant-based diet also resulted in younger-looking skin in consumers. Antioxidants could remove carcinogens from the body which results in giving healthier skin
A good source of Calcium
Calcium is an essential mineral for our body. Adding calcium to the diet prevents bone loss and osteoporosis.
Kale is listed as one of the good foods for bone health by the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
Calcium is found in abundance in this leafy vegetable. One cup of raw kales (67g) provides 100 mg of calcium.
In this way, kale benefits your smoothies by enriching them with calcium. Smoothies are a good way to get other nutrients from this vegetable too.
To get the maximum benefits from the smoothie make sure to use milk or yogurt in it.
Calcium also plays a role in preventing high blood pressure and certain cancers in the body.
Kale provides a good amount of Iron
Kale contains a vast amount of non-heme iron. Iron plays an important role in the body. 100 g of raw kales can provide 1.5 mg of iron.
Iron deficiency can cause hair loss according to studies. Therefore, kale can help in improving hair health and growth. Vitamin A found in them can also play a role in preventing hair loss.
In addition, anemia could be prevented if the diet contains an adequate amount of iron. The formation of hemoglobin is aided by this vegetable. Hemoglobin is the main carrier of oxygen in cells.
Kale May help fighting Cancer
WHO called cancer the second leading cause of death globally.
One of the leading causes is the low intake of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Therefore, green vegetables are best to fight cancer
Observational studies have suggested that cruciferous vegetables can protect against cancers. However, the results of these studies are not consistent.
Additionally, there are a number of compounds in kale that provide protective effects. These compounds include antioxidants, fibers, and chlorophyll.
According to a study, consuming a fiber-rich diet can lower the risk of colon cancer.
What’s more, chlorophyll has the ability to bind harmful carcinogens with them to minimize their absorption. This leafy vegetable is rich in chlorophyll so in this way they lower the risk of cancer.
Sulforaphane is a sulfur compound found in cruciferous vegetables. This compound provides protection against cancer by fighting it at the molecular level.
Effective against diabetes
This dark leafy vegetable is full of vitamins A, C, E, and K. These vitamins may play a role in preventing diabetes.
Furthermore, diabetic patients need high fiber in their diet. A single cup of this vegetable can fulfill 10% of daily fiber needs.
One study has indicated a relationship between a high fiber diet and blood glucose levels. Blood glucose levels can reduce by increasing the number of fibers.
The sulfurous compounds of cruciferous vegetables can help in detoxifying the body. It is important in glucose metabolism. Subsequently, these compounds can lower weight and risk of diabetes.
A published study indicated that glucoraphanin, a sulfur precursor, is found in larger quantities in kale than broccolis.
Lower the risk of heart disease
A lower cholesterol level can reduce heart disease. Therefore we need bile acids in our body. These acids are helpful in lowering cholesterol.
Kales have the ability to bind bile acids and help in lowering the cholesterol level. Furthermore, steaming them gives an even better result and reduces cholesterol by up to 43%.
Vegetables are rich in omega-3 and omega-6. These compounds reduce the chances of heart problems.
Moreover, potassium is also present in good amounts. Surely, potassium plays an essential role in heart health.
Lastly, the small amount of fiber in this vegetable also contributes to lowering lipid levels in the blood.
Good source of Vitamin-C and K
Kale is a good source of vitamin C and K.
Vitamin K helps in blood clotting and healing wounds.
It can also keep the bones healthy. In short, vitamin K has the ability to bind calcium. In this way, bones can absorb more calcium. As a result, maximum calcium absorption lowers bone loss and decay.
Moreover, the vitamin is found in K1 form in kale which is nontoxic. Therefore, this form is safer for consumption and can prevent osteoporosis and heart problems.
Another important compound is vitamin C which is an important antioxidant. Hence, a major amount of vitamin C in the diet prevents harmful health conditions.
It also plays a role in eye, hair, and skin health. Vitamin C helps with collagen production which helps in treating wounds and keeping a youthful look.
Types of Kale
There are numerous varieties of kale. Indeed, all of them are beneficial in their own way and can be used as a person likes.
- Common Curly Kale
- Dinosaur Kales
- Red Russian Kale
- Chinese Kale
- Siberian Kale
- Redbor Kale
How to use kale in our diet?
There are many ways to add them to your diet. People generally like to eat it with their salad or add them to smoothies. But there are more ways to consume them.
You can make these recipes:
- Kale chips
- Sauteed kale
- Kale Pesto
- Add them to the burger mix
- Use them in soups
- Cook them with caramelized onions
It is generally recommended to eat your kale in the cooked form if you have digestive issues. However, raw kales could be hard to digest and may put pressure on your stomach. Cooking or boiling them makes them tender. It is easier to digest once it is in cooked tender form.
Side Effects of kale
Kale gives us a number of benefits, but it has some adverse effects too.
- It may be hard to digest.
- Can affect the activity of blood thinners.
- A large amount of potassium may result in kidney problems.
- It may result in bloating, constipation and stomach ache.
The overall health benefits of kale are abundant. Hence, adding them to the diet would give you remarkable results. However, if you have underlying digestive or other problems, it is recommended that you use it in moderation.