Health benefits of kale
It will certainly be not wrong to label kale as the super green food of all times. Kale is definitely the most nutritious and healthiest plant food at present, loaded with many beneficial compounds and medicinal properties. Here are some of the health benefits that kale imparts.
Kale is a member of Brassica family and is related to cruciferous vegetables. Found in many different colors, such as purple or green and curly or smooth shape, kale is nutritionally dense and a must have vegetable for everyone. About 2.4 ounces of kale provides 33 calories, 2g fiber, 3g protein, 206% of RDA of Vitamin A (beta carotene), 684% of RDA of Vitamin K, 134% of RDA of vitamin C, 26% of RDA of manganese, and 10% of RDA of copper. Apart from that kale is also a great source of Vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, thiamine, magnesium, riboflavin, niacin, iron and phosphorus.
Kale is loaded with extremely useful antioxidants such as beta carotene, vitamin C, polyphenols, and flavonoids (like quercetin, kaempferol), which helps to counter oxidative stress caused by free radicals inside our body. The flavonoids in kale are relatively larger in quantities and there are studies to support their powerful anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, blood pressure lowering, cardioprotective, antiviral and anticancer effects on our body.
Kale is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which is also a water soluble antioxidant and is necessary to synthesize collagen. Kale has about 4½ times more vitamin C than in spinach and a cup of raw kale contains more vitamin C than an orange!
Kale contains extremely useful bile acid sequestrants, which bind with bile acids and prevent it from getting reabsorbed that results in lowering total cholesterol levels of our body. A study reports that daily kale juice consumption for 12 weeks resulted in increased HDL cholesterol by 27% and lowering of LDL cholesterol by 10%, apart from improving antioxidant status of the body. Steamed kale is extremely beneficial and is 43% as potent as cholestyramine, which is a cholesterol lowering drug.
Kale is known for its high vitamin K content that is critical for normal clotting of blood. A single cup serving of raw kale contains almost seven times of the recommended daily quantity of vitamin K. Kale is also loaded with cancer protective compounds such as sulphoraphane (fights cancer formation at the molecular level) and indole-3-carbinol (helps to prevent cancer).
Kale is the perfect plant based food source as it may help to manage your daily recommended minerals intake as it is a good source of calcium (crucial for bone health), magnesium (protects against type 2 diabetes and heart disease), and potassium (maintains electrical gradient, blood pressure and lowers risk of heart diseases). Kale is also low in oxalate that may prevent minerals from being absorbed.
Kale is significantly high in lutein and zeaxanthin that reduces the risk of macular degeneration and cataract. Owing to its low calorie status and high water content, kale is extremely beneficial to assist in weight loss!