Kale - top ten benefits
Kale is being called “the new beef”, “the queen of greens” and “a nutritional powerhouse.” Here are ten great benefits of adding more kale to your diet:
1. Kale is great for digestion.
Kale is made from fibrous material, and thus, like most leafy greens, it's great for aiding in digestion and elimination. One big tip is to eat the stems, which contains a high-quantity of prebiotics, food for probiotics in your microbiome. While they're tough raw, sautéed in a bit of avocado or olive oil with some sea salt, they become a delicious, breadstick-like treat!
2. Kale is high in iron.
Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, especially for women, as it helps with the formation of haemoglobin and enzymes, transports oxygen to various parts of the body, aids in cell growth, proper liver function, and more. Want to up the iron quantity of your kale even more? Cook it in a cast-iron pan!
3. Kale is high in Vitamin K.
Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. "Vitamin K1 has always been known as the "coagulation" vitamin because it helps keep the body’s blood-clotting mechanism functioning in a healthy manner. Vitamin K2, on the other hand, has been shown to activate 17 proteins. For example, vitamin K2 activates a protein called osteocalcin, which ensures that as much bone is built to replace the bone that is broken down. Vitamin K2 also encourages a protein called Matrix gla protein (MGP) to keep arteries healthy by discouraging calcium from sticking to the walls," explains Joel Kahn, M.D., a world-famous cardiologist. It's been shown to be protective against osteoporosis, cancer, and diabetes.
4. Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules that offer up one of their electrons to the free radicals, thereby neutralizing the free radicals and keeping them from stealing an electron from our cells. At its best, this strong network of warriors can stop up to 99 percent of free radicals from damaging our cells. Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers. Kale contains high levels of antioxidants—however, they are heat-sensitive, so blanching is your best way to preserve them.
5. Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food.
One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation in the body by supporting the endo-cannabinoid system, fighting heart disease, helping the brain, and more.
6. Kale is great for cardiovascular support.
One study of men found that eating kale regularly significantly improved coronary artery risk factors. The men juiced the kale, although to protect your thyroid, we recommend lightly cooking it before consuming.
7. Kale is high in Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
8. Kale is high in Vitamin C.
"Vitamin C deficiency can cause rapidly increasing signs and conditions of aging," explains Taz Bhatia, M.D. "Plus, humans cannot manufacture large amounts of vitamin C on their own. Signs of deficiency include easy bruising, low iron levels, and bleeding gums." This important anti-aging nutrient exists in abundance in kale, although it is heat sensitive, so lightly sauté or blanch the leafy green to preserve it.
9. Kale is high in calcium.
Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk. "Calcium is a mineral that’s important for building and maintaining strong bones and for carrying out a large number of body processes such as cell signalling involved in muscle and nerve function and helping blood vessels transport blood through the body," explains Jess Cording, RD.
10. Kale is a great detox food.
Kale is filled with fibre and sulphur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.
Plus, everything you need to know about the potential for heavy metals in kale.
Alison Lewis - Alison Lewis is a nationally known Cookbook Author, Magazine and Internet Food, Travel and Health