8 Benefits of Kale
With celebrity endorsements, major health benefits, superfood status, and deep love from the general public, it is no wonder that kale is the rock star of the vegetable world. Although it hasn’t replaced broccoli on America’s number one favorite vegetable list, it’s a popular food trend that is not going away anytime soon.
Types of Kale
Common Curly Kale
This is the common variety that you normally see displayed at your local grocery store. It is green to deep green in color with frilly leaves. Its filled with vitamins and minerals and you incorporate this variety into a salad of any kind. Roast in the oven with some extra virgin olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt. You can make kale chips or use this healthy green in a hearty bean soup or even incorporate it into a fruit smoothie.
Otherwise known as dinosaur kale due to its reptilian skin appearance. This Italian variety of kale is dark blue-green, slender, with long leaves. It lacks the curly frilled leaf its cousin, the common curly kale has. Lacinato looks similar to savoy cabbage and normally used for Tuscan soups and stews. It can also be used for a salad.
Red Russian Kale (Ragged Jack)
This variety is considered heirloom kale and its appearance looks like overgrown oak leaves. Depending on the outside temperature, the leaves may be blue-green to purple-reddish. Unlike its bitter-tasting cousins, this variety is semi-sweet and tastes richer after a frost. Its leaves are tender and go well cooked in salads.
If you are an Asian food fan or enjoy stir fry then you are probably unaware that you have been eating this variety of kale for a while. Its other name is Chinese broccoli and it is very high in calcium, iron, vitamins A and C. Its good advice to increase the amounts you eat during cold season and it can be steamed or stir-fried.
It’s noted as a cold-hardy variety with large gray-green ruffled leaves. It is grown as a winter crop in the southern United States. This variety is high in vitamin C and according to home cooks and many culinary professionals, it is best sautéed with garlic and onions.
Health Benefits of Kale
Trend or not, the nutritional value of kale is impressive and the health benefits of this green leafy vegetable are endless. For starters, it is packed with vitamin A, which keeps your eyes healthy from age-related vision ailments and it wards off night blindness. There is strong scientific research that suggests vitamin A along with the carotenoids and flavonoids found in kale lowers your risk of certain cancers. The vitamin A found in kale supports a healthy immune system and for younger populations, it reduces the risk of acne. It is also ideal for bone health and overall well-being.
Kale also contains high levels of vitamin C, which helps combat the common cold. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that boosts the human immune system and reduces the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease. Eating kale increases your intake of vitamin C.
Kale is rich in vitamin K which is another essential vitamin our bodies use on a daily basis. It helps us during injuries such as a fall or trauma from a car accident. Vitamin K helps regulate normal blood clotting and it also transports calcium throughout the body. Our bodies need vitamin K for optimal bone health. Maintaining good levels of vitamin K assists with bone loss, and decreases the risk of bone fractures. It also may help to prevent calcification of arteries and other soft tissue.
According to many medical doctors and nutritionists, eating just one cup of chopped kale will give you over 200% of your daily value of vitamin A, 134% of your daily value for vitamin C and almost 700% of your daily value for vitamin K. If you are not getting enough fresh vegetables then consider increasing your kale intake throughout the year for overall health.
Kale has important vitamins that benefit our immune system, heart, muscles, and helps us maintain good bone health. The leafy superfood gives our bodies additional benefits from minerals too. Kale is loaded with important minerals like manganese, copper, phosphorus, and potassium, which helps the human body regulate fluid, send nerve signals, and regulate muscle contractions.
You might be surprised to know that per calorie, kale has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk. Iron is vital to the human body because it helps the blood carry oxygen throughout the body and it also produces red blood cells. Iron is an essential nutrient that cannot be produced in sufficient quantities and therefore must be consumed through food sources.
8 Health Benefits of Kale
- Promotes eye health
- Natural detox due to antioxidants
- Great source of Vitamin C, and K which benefits the immune system and bone health
- Lowers cholesterol
- High in fiber which aids in digestion
- Promotes heart health
- Anti-inflammatory food
- High in Omega-3 fatty acids
Eat Your Kale!
Not everyone has a progressive pallet. Some of you with vegetable aversion may have been mildly scarred by early parental demands to finish all the vegetables during a meal. There are even some people who do not like the taste of fresh vegetables. Regardless of your veggie intake history, there are several types of kale you can purchase at your supermarket with numerous ways to prepare it. Give it a go, its versatile, inexpensive, and maybe you will find something you’ll like and more importantly get the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Invest in a couple bunches of kale and enrich your diet with this versatile and nutritious green leaf! Your body will thank you.