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Kale is a green, leafy vegetable that is loaded with nutrients. You might not have tried this vegetable yet. But once you know about the health benefits of kale, you will surely add it to your diet. It is one of the healthiest plant foods in the world. Kale belongs to the cabbage family. Just like cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli, kale is also a cruciferous vegetable. You can find various types of kale. The leaves can be curly or smooth. Apart from green, the leaves can also be purple in color. The most popular type of kale has green, curly leaves and sturdy, fibrous stem.
Nutritional Content of Kale
Once you know about the nutritional content and health benefits of kale, you will add it to your diet immediately. Kale is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. It also contains Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), and Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) in small amounts. Kale contains essential minerals such as manganese, copper, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron.
Although kale is high in nutrients, it is extremely low in calories. This is the reason why it is one of the best nutrient-dense foods. Kale has high fiber content. It is rich in powerful antioxidants such as kaempferol and quercetin that protects the body from oxidative damage.
15 Health Benefits of Kale
After knowing about the nutritional content, let’s take a look at the 15 health benefits of kale:
1. Improves digestive health
One of the most well-known health benefits of kale is that it improves your digestive health. As kale is a great source of dietary fiber, it can prevent constipation and promote daily bowel movements. Kale contains isothiocyanates that break down effectively into glucosinolates. In this way, the green leafy vegetable regulates the detoxification in the cells of your body. Kale detoxifies the body. It keeps the kidney and liver in the perfect condition.
2. Boosts the immune system
Kale protects you from diseases and infection by boosting your immune system. As the leafy vegetable contains powerful antioxidants, it provides resistance against various infectious agents. Kale contains sulforaphane and Vitamin C that protect your body from free radical damage. If you have kale on a regular basis, it will improve the production of WBCs (white blood cells) in your body. This will prevent bacteria and viruses from entering the body.
3. Strengthens bones
Kale strengthens bones because it is rich in calcium and Vitamin K. It also prevents bone loss. Vitamin K deposits calcium into your bones and prevents bone calcification. As the leafy green vegetable has high levels of Vitamin K and calcium, it is great for your bone health. It also contains Vitamin B complex that prevents the possibility of bone fractures. Kale is also loaded with omega 3 fatty acids that lubricate the joints. It promotes flexibility of joint and cartilage. Thus, one of the most important health benefits of kale is that it improves and maintains your bone health.
4. Good for eye health
You must include kale in your diet as it is good for eye health. It is rich in Vitamin A, carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin that protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. Vitamin A prevents cataract and macular degeneration in the elderly. It also helps in the production of a pigment called rhodopsin that stores the vitamin in the retina. Zeaxanthin is responsible for improving the vision as it has light filtering function.
5. Good for diabetics
Kale is a great vegetable for diabetics. It contains manganese which promotes healthy regulation of blood sugar. According to research, diabetics who have a high fiber diet have improved insulin levels and lower blood sugar levels. Moreover, kale contains the antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid. It prevents oxidative stress and lowers glucose levels in diabetics. It also decreases autonomic neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy in diabetics. Therefore, diabetics must incorporate kale into their daily diet.
6. Prevents cancer
One of the most important health benefits of kale is that it prevents cancer. Kale contains chlorophyll which blocks the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines. It also contains indole 3 carbinol that lowers the growth of cancer cells. The green, leafy vegetable can prevent ovarian, bladder, prostate, colon, and breast cancer. Kale contains organosulfur compounds that break into isothiocyanates. This promotes the production of enzymes that can destroy cancer. The compounds present in kale can repair healthy cells and inhibit the growth of dangerous cancer cells.
7. Keeps the heart healthy
You must add kale to your diet as it keeps the heart healthy. As the green vegetable is a great source of fiber, it lowers low-density lipoprotein that can be found in the blood. The compounds present in kale reduce the risk of all coronary heart diseases. Kale contains potassium that regulates the heart rate and blood pressure. If you have steamed kale, it will lower the cholesterol level in your body.
8. Has anti-inflammatory properties
Kale is one of the healthiest foods in the world because it has anti-inflammatory properties. The leafy, green vegetable is alkaline in nature. Its anti-inflammatory properties thwart the reaction of free radicals in the body. As kale is rich in Vitamin K, it improves the blood circulation of the body and reduces chronic inflammation.
9. Good for mental health
One of the best health benefits of kale is that it is good for your mental health. As the vegetable is rich in Vitamin K, it limits the neural damage of your brain. In this way, it prevents Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. It synthesizes the fats called sphingolipids. These lipids contribute to a well-functioning nervous system. Kale contains omega 3 fatty acids which are responsible for preventing damage of brain cells. Kale also contains carotenoids that reduce the chances of cognitive decline.
10. Helps in curing depression
If you are going through depression, you should add kale to your diet. The nutrients present in kale can ward off depression. Researches at Harvard University prove that carotenoids are linked to an uplifted mood. As kale contains carotenoids, it can make you feel optimistic. The green, leafy vegetable is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that can help in fighting symptoms of depression. The combination of Vitamin B6, iron, folate, and protein can create more dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals can elevate your mood. As kale contains all these compounds, it helps in depression.
11. Good for healthy hair and skin
If you want to have great hair and skin, you should start having kale daily. The vegetable contains sulfur that helps in removing toxins from your skin. Vitamin C helps in building and maintaining collagen. It is the main protein that makes the skin look youthful and helps in healing wounds. Kale is good for the skin as it promotes collagen production and scar reduction. Hair loss is linked with iron deficiency. As kale is rich in iron, it keeps your hair healthy.
12. Helps in weight loss
One of the popular health benefits of kale is that it helps in weight loss. The leaves of kale contain 80% water and no fat. It makes you feel full for a longer time. Vitamin C present in kale boosts the metabolism of the body and keeps it hydrated. It also keeps the blood sugar levels stable, which aids in weight loss. If you want to get rid of the excess fat, you can have a glass of kale and lemon juice.
13. Prevents premature aging
The antioxidants and Vitamin C present in kale are responsible for preventing premature aging. If you add this green vegetable to your diet, you will look younger for a long time. Having a glass of kale juice can detoxify your body by flushing out the harmful toxins. You will look radiant and youthful always.
14. Prevents anemia
Anemia is a dangerous health condition that can result due to the deficiency of iron. As kale is rich in iron, it can prevent anemia. Iron is essential for hemoglobin production. It helps in transporting oxygen to various parts of the body. When there is a healthy oxygen level in the body, all the body functions are carried out properly. The body needs iron for the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
15. Protects skin from sun damage
As kale is rich in copper, it can protect your skin from sun damage. Copper helps in the synthesis of the pigment called melanin that protects your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
After knowing about the nutritional value and health benefits of kale, you must add it to your diet. You can add kale to your salads or smoothies. Many people love having kale chips made with virgin olive oil. It is a crunchy, delicious, and super healthy snack. You can also use kale to make various other dishes. Having kale regularly can keep you healthy as it contains essential vitamins and minerals. So, what are you waiting for? Incorporate the nutrient-dense vegetable into your dishes and stay healthy.