This leafy vegetable from the cabbage family was once considered a ‘poor men’s food’ and was primarily eaten by peasants in Europe. In fact, in the Middle Ages, kale was so commonly consumed by peasants that it was often referred to as ‘peasant’s cabbage’. However, kale has since gained popularity and is now a real superfood that is popular among health-conscious individuals all around the world.
Today, kale has captured the minds of fashionistas in the nutrition and food industry. It has won the hearts of many because of its healthy nutrient composition, and as we know these days people not only want to be beautiful but also eat healthy food that will keep them looking good. Keep on reading and you will find out how helpful kale can be for this purpose!
Kale – Nutrition facts
Kale has low energy value, low protein content, and a small number of fat. Plus it has not a very big amount of carbs, a small amount of fibre, also very low sugar content and low glycemic index.
Kale – A long list of good news
Eating the bright green leaves of kale can support your overall health, so let’s get right into it and discover some of the health benefits of kale.
1Helps blood clotting
Kale is one of the world’s best sources of vitamin K, which is absolutely essential for blood clotting and does so by ‘activating’ certain proteins and giving them the ability to bind calcium. 200 g (7.1 oz) of raw kale contains almost 7 times the recommended daily allowance. Even a little serving of kale will help you to have better blood quality.🙂
2Improves the health of different body parts
It is often claimed that kale is high in vitamin A, but this is not entirely accurate. It’s high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body can convert into vitamin A. This antioxidant has a positive effect on visual acuity, increases concentration and improves memory. It helps wound healing and protects the skin from the harsh effects of the sun. For this reason, kale can be an effective means of increasing the levels of this very important vitamin in the body.
3Contains many anti-cancer elements
Kale contains compounds that have a protective effect against cancer. One of them is sulforaphane, a substance that has been shown to help fight cancer formation at a molecular level. Studies have demonstrated its great effect on the human body. It also contains indole-3-carbinol, another substance thought to help prevent cancer. Studies have shown that eating cruciferous vegetables (including kale) or their active ingredients prevents cancer in many body organs.
4Has more Vitamin C than any citrus
Vitamin C is an important water-soluble antioxidant that performs many vital functions in body cells. It is essential for the synthesis of collagen, the most common structural protein in the body.
Kale contains far more vitamin C than most other vegetables, even more than lemon. 100 grams of kale accounts for 104% of your Nutrient reference value of vitamin C, and 100 grams of lemon is just 44%. So it’s a great healthy choice for your diet and immune system.
5Supports bone health
Kale contains many minerals that are lacking in our modern diet. It is a good source of plant-based calcium, essential for strong bones and teeth, and is low in a natural compound called oxalate, which makes calcium more readily available for absorption.
6Keeps your eyes healthy
Kale is rich in two phytonutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamin A, which support the health of our eyes and vision. Eating enough of these nutrients can keep you safe from age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
7Feeds your good bacteria in the gut
Unlike prebiotics and fibre, leafy greens feed your microbiota in a different way. When your gut inhabitants have access to their favourite food, they multiply! They have babies, and their babies have babies with more babies, and so on.
As the number of good bacteria in your gut increases, they limit the ability of less beneficial bacteria to multiply and colonise your digestive tract. The beneficial bacteria crowd out the bad ones.
Kale – A pinch of bad news
Is kale for everyone? Mostly yes. But when it comes to eating kale on a regular basis, there are some points you should be aware of.
As kale is a rich source of vitamin K, people taking anticoagulant drugs (commonly called blood thinners) need to consider the amount of kale they eat. A sudden rise in vitamin K can decrease the effect of blood thinners, so you should consult your doctor before making any significant dietary changes.
Some people with thyroid problems or those taking thyroid medication should be cautious about eating cruciferous vegetables. This is because they can affect the thyroid’s ability to absorb iodine. However, in comparison with cabbage, kale poses not a very high risk due to its low content of these goitrogenic compounds.
Fun & curious facts about kale
Kale is so popular that an entire festival has even been dedicated to it in Germany.
The biggest producer of kale in the world is China.
Kale gets sweeter and retains all its nutrients even after being frozen.
Kale in the Blue Zones
Long-livers in such Blue Zones as Loma Linda, California, also eat kale which is full of nutrients for a long and healthy life. Among all leafy greens, it is also the best longevity vegetable.
Let’s sum kale up
Kale is a true superfood packed with vitamins and minerals that improve different aspects of your health from eyesight and bones to even gut health as it acts as a good feed for your gut bacteria. The versatility of kale makes it an excellent veggie to prepare different tasty treats!
Not enough? Here is more from our colleagues!
A popular doctor and YouTube superstar, Dr. Eric Berg, shares interesting info about the main benefits of kale. Dr. Berg is a chiropractor who specializes in Healthy Ketosis & Intermittent Fasting. He is the author of the best-selling book ‘The Healthy Keto Plan and is the Director of Dr. Berg Nutritionals’. Check out his video below!
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