Kale is crowned as the “queen of greens”. It is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K. it also has folate in high amounts. It is also a great source of thiamin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, iron, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.
Kale is eaten for its low calorie, high fiber content and has become one of the most popular green vegetables. It is eaten in meals as a weight loss inducing ingredient as it is low in calories and its leafy green texture makes it a super ingredient in salads.
Kale is a member of the cabbage family. It is related to cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts. The leaves of kale can be green or purple in color, and they may have smooth or curly shape. Curly kale or Scots kale is mostly found and it possesses green and curly leaves with a hard, fibrous stem.
Kale is a source of the lutein, zeaxanthin, and carotenoids. It freezes well and after being exposed to a frost tastes sweeter and flavored. There are many ornamental uses of kale also as its many varieties along with cabbage are grown mainly for their ornamental leaves. The leaves have a brilliant white, pink, lavender, red, blue or violet in the interior of the rosette. You can also consume ornamental kale like its other variety.
Nutritional value of Kale
100 gm of Kale contains:
|Vitamin A||681 μg|
|Vitamin K||817 μg|
17 Science-backed Health Benefits of Kale
1. Healthy brain
The manganese present in kale helps the brain to function at its best. This helps you to focus on your daily tasks and also feel better and active. The omega3 fatty acids of kale are highly beneficial for the brain. They are important for brain performance, memory and function.
2. Helps in Digestion
Kale is a great source of dietary fibers that helps to improve the digestion and also regulate your bowel movements. It is really helpful for people who have irregular bowel movements.
3. Fights Cancer
Kale contains phytonutrients that effectively destroys the free radicals responsible for cancer risks. The antioxidants which are present in the form of Vitamin C helps build up the immune system.
4. Cures Anemia
Kale can help you to cure your anemia. It contains iron which is needed in the blood for hemoglobin production. Healthy count of RBC maintains the oxygen transportation in the body by the blood. It also contributes to the maintenance of heart rate.
5. Rich in vitamin K
Kale contains a great amount of Vitamin K which helps in strengthening bones, regulate blood sugar levels, prevents the clotting of blood and also helps in the treatment of age-related Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Weight loss
Kale is also good for you if you are searching for a vegetable that does not adds calories and still provides full nutrients. It contains fiber that kicks your digestive system and keeps you regular. It is full of nutrients which do not make you feel weak.
7. Fights depression
Kale has carotenoids and they are linked in uplifting your mood. The omega 3 fatty acids in kale fights depression. The combination protein, iron, vitamin B6 and folate that are present in kale create serotonin and dopamine that interact in the brain and function to uplift the mood.
8. Healthy Eyes
Kale is rich in vitamin A which is helpful for treating eye problems. Consuming kale helps you get a good vision and keeps away from night blindness, glaucoma, cataracts. Vitamin C protects eyes from the harsh rays of the sun.
9. Strong bones
Kale is a great source of calcium. The gram for gram kale has more calcium than cow’s milk, no matter what fat content the milk contains. For more benefits, eat kale raw because in cooking kale loses a substantial amount of calcium. So if you don’t like milk or eggs, then have kale. This helps to get you strong teeth, strong bones and away from age-related diseases that affect your bones. Moreover, manganese is also responsible for maintaining strong bones. It also aids in bone care as it is a part of enzyme manganese superoxide dismutase which protects from UV damage from the sun.
10. Healthy Liver
To keep you fit and clean from inside, your liver plays the important role. Kale is great for your liver health. It does not let liver get loaded with toxins. The fiber and sulfur content in kale help maintains regular bowel movements and flushes out toxins.
11. Healthy pregnancy
Kale is packed with nutrients which makes it best for expecting mothers. Anti-oxidants kills free radicals, iron content maintains blood count and loads of vitamins and nutrients makes baby and mother strong.
12. Lowers cholesterol
Kale contains fiber and it is essential for cleansing and detoxifying your body. It scrapes out extra cholesterol build up in arteries, in your gut and pushes them out of the body. New studies show that along with raw and cooked kale now steamed kale can also get you great benefits. The fiber in steamed kale has better binding property to bile in the digestive tract, which results in more cholesterol being removed.
13. Healthy Skin
You know how much our skin is sensitive. It needs a proper diet full of vitamins and minerals to look and stay healthy. Lack of Vitamin A can lead to a dry and flaky skin. It plays very important role in repairing the tissues underneath your skin and also prevents the damage caused by free radicals. Moreover, Vitamin K helps to get rid of dark circles under your eyes. It has been used in many beauty products also.
14. Protects Skin from Sun Damage
Kale also helps your skin to protect from the harsh rays of the sun. Vitamin C in kale helps reduce damage caused when your skin is overexposed to the sun. It helps prevent premature aging of the skin and makes you look younger for a longer period of time.
15. Healthy Hairs
Kale, along with its vitamins, is also known to be packed with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Drinking a glass of kale juice every day highly benefits your hair because of the mix of the two fatty acids. It helps in strengthening your hair roots and also improves the blood circulation in your scalp, which leads to increase in your hair growth rate.
16. Regulates blood pressure
Kale is a great source of potassium which acts as a vasodilator that reduces blood pressure. This works in relaxing the tension of arteries and veins, allowing blood to flow more smoothly and oxygenate various organs of the body to increase their function. This help eliminates the risks of strokes, atherosclerosis, and heart attacks.
Kale has anti-inflammatory properties, which means that it help treat rampant inflammation in the body which is quite dangerous and leads to certain diseases and severe conditions. Kale also keeps you away from heart cancer.
Healthy recipes to Eat Kale
- If you are not a fan of green leafy vegetables then, just add them like toppings on your favorite dish. Round your main course with kale and enjoy. Add them to your to soups, smoothies, stews.
- Kale can be eaten raw in salads and you can also have steamed or cooked kale, whatever tastes you. Boiled kale is quite soft and adds to taste.
- This one is a healthy morning diet. Add mushrooms, sweet potatoes which are nutrient dense, and fiber-rich kale paired with quinoa. This makes up to a super vegetarian meal and a pack of nutrients.
- Pasta- start with whole-grain noodles and add tomatoes, almonds, and vitamin-rich kale. This all makes up a nutritious dish.
- Try toasted hazelnut, grapefruit, and raw kale salad.
- You should at least once try this recipe. You can also make potato-chips-snack-chips out of kale. All you need to do is put few leaves in the oven with olive oil and salt, and bake. The result is crisp and salty kale chips.
Precautions while consuming Kale
- Limit your intake of kale juice. If you drink kale juice in excess then it may lead to stomach disorders, cramps, and diarrhea.
- Beta-blockers are a type of medication that are most commonly prescribed for heart disease. It can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. The foods such as bananas and cooked kale which are high in potassium should be consumed in lesser amounts when taking beta-blockers.
- When you are under medication- the activity of blood thinners such as Warfarin may be interfered by Vitamin K. consult your doctor about such foods when taking these medications.
- Consuming potassium in excess can be harmful to people whose kidneys are not fully functional. If your kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, it could be fatal.