Of all the super healthy green vegetables, kale is king.
It is certainly one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant foods around.
Kale is full of all kinds of beneficial compounds, some of which have powerful medicinal properties.
Here are 7 health benefits of kale that are backed by science.
1. Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the earth.
Kale is a popular vegetable.
It is a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts.
There are many types of kale. The leaves can be green or purple and have a curly or smooth shape.
The most common type of kale is called kale or Scottish cabbage, which has green, curly leaves and a tough, fibrous stem.
A single cup of raw cabbage (about 67 grams or 2.4 ounces) contains:
- Vitamin A: 206% of the DV (from beta-carotene)
- Vitamin K: 684% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 134% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
- Manganese: 26% of the DV
- Calcium: 9% of the DV
- Copper: 10% of the DV
- Potassium: 9% of the DV
- Magnesium: 6% of the DV
- It also have 3% or more of the DV for iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B3 (niacin)
This comes with a total of 33 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrate (2 of which is fiber), and 3 grams of protein.
Kale contains little or no fat, but a large part of the fat is an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid.
Considering its incredibly low calorie content, kale is among the foremost nutrient-dense foods around. Eating more kale may be a good way to dramatically increase the entire nutrient content in your diet.
2. Kale is rich in powerful antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol
Kale, like other leafy greens, is extremely high in antioxidants.
These include beta-carotene and vitamin C, also various flavonoids and polyphenols.
Antioxidants are substances that help counter oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body.
Oxidative damage is believed to be among the major contributors to aging and many diseases, including cancer.
But many substances that happen to be antioxidants even have other important functions.
This includes the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, which are found in very large amounts in kale.
These substances are extensively studied in test tubes and animals.
They have potent heart-protective, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antidepressant, and anticancer effects, to name a few.
3. It’s a superb source of vitamin C
Vitamin C is an important water soluble antioxidant that performs many vital functions in the cells of the body.
For example, it’s necessary for the synthesis of collagen, the foremost abundant structural protein within the body.
Kale is much richer in vitamin C than most other vegetables, containing around 4.5 times the amount of spinach.
The truth is, kale is really one of the best sources of vitamin C in the world. A cup of raw cabbage has even more vitamin C than a whole orange.
4. Kale can help lower cholesterol, which can reduce the danger of heart disease.
Cholesterol has many important functions in the body.
For example, it’s used to make bile acids, which are substances that help the body digest fat.
The liver converts cholesterol into bile acids, which are then released in the digestive system every time you eat a fatty meal.
When all the fat has been absorbed and therefore the bile acids have served their purpose, they’re reabsorbed into the bloodstream and reused.
Substances called steroid sequestrants can bind bile acids within the gastrointestinal system and prevent them from being reabsorbed. This reduces the entire amount of cholesterol within the body.
Kale actually contains steroid sequestrants, which may lower cholesterol levels. This might cause a reduced risk of heart disease over time.
Steamed kale significantly increases the binding effect of bile acid, according to a study. Steamed kale is really 43% as potent as cholestyramine, a cholesterol-lowering drug that works an equivalent way.
5. Kale is one of the best sources of vitamin K in the world.
Vitamin K is an important nutrient.
It is really essential for blood clotting, and does so by “mobilizing” certain proteins and giving them the power to bind calcium.
The well-known anticoagulant drug Warfarin really works by blocking the function of this vitamin.
In the world, kale is one of the simplest sources of vitamin K with only one raw cup containing almost 7 times the recommended daily amount.
The type of vitamin K in kale is K1, which is apart from vitamin K2. K2 is found in foods made from fermented soybeans and some animal products. It helps prevent heart disease and osteoporosis.
6. There are many anticancer substances in kale.
Cancer is a high risk disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells.
Kale is actually loaded with compounds thought to have protective effects against cancer.
One of them is sulforaphane, a substance that helps fight cancer formation at the molecular level.
It also contains indole-3-carbinol, another substance believed to help prevent cancer.
Studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables (including kale) can significantly reduce the risk of several cancers, although the evidence in humans is mixed.
7. Kale is very rich in beta-carotene
It is often claimed that kale is high in vitamin A, but this is not entirely correct.
It’s actually rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body can become vitamin A.
For this reason, kale are often an efficient way to increase your body’s levels of this vital vitamin.