Every vegetable comes packed with health benefits. But kale? Kale is a powerhouse for your body and soul. By incorporating more kale into your diet, you can live a healthier life. Find out about all the health benefits of kale.
What is Kale?
Before you learn about the health benefits of kale, you should learn about the vegetable itself. Kale is similar to cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower in that it’s a cruciferous vegetable1. It comes in many forms, such as curly kale, dino kale, and red Russian kale. Typically, the leaf shape and color varies depending on the type of kale.
Over the past few years, kale has become a mainstream vegetable. People are just starting to realize the many health benefits of kale. Often, people refer to the vegetable as a "superfood".
The Health Benefits of Kale
Curious about what kale can do for you? Here’s a look at some of the benefits of incorporating kale into your diet.
1. Get a High Dose of Vitamins and Minerals
Getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet can be a struggle. However, kale can simplify that struggle. In one cup of raw kale, you can find 684% of your daily vitamin K. You can also find 206% of your daily vitamin A.
Kale also contains all of the following:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
Although kale does not contain much fat, it does contain a type of omega-3 fatty acid. With so many great nutrients in a small serving of the vegetable, kale is a prime choice of vegetable.
2. It Can Fight Cancer
Kale is not only full of vitamins and minerals, but it’s also full of antioxidants. In one serving of kale, you can get enough antioxidants to help your body combat cancer.
Scientists believe that oxidative damage from free radicals contributes to cancer and aging. The antioxidants in the kale work against the oxidative damage that free radicals cause. As a result, eating kale can keep cancer at bay.
It’s worth mentioning that the antioxidants in kale help your body in other ways. For example, they can help you lower your blood pressure, fight viruses, and protect your heart.
There are other ways in which kale can help you fight cancer. For example, indole-3-carbinol is believed to combat cancer. Sulforaphane also has the same ability. Although researchers are still studying its effects, they believe that sulforaphane fights cancer on a molecular level.
3. Helps You Fight Colds
There are several elements of kale that make it extremely effective at fighting colds. As mentioned above, the antioxidants can assist your body in the fight against viruses.
Another soldier in your fight against colds is vitamin C. Fortunately, kale contains a huge dose of vitamin C - much more than many other vegetables. It has about 4.5 times more vitamin C than spinach, and even more vitamin C than an orange2.
With a little kale, you can equip your body with what it needs to fight colds. This makes it a key ingredient to a healthy diet.
4. Limit Your Risk of Heart Disease
Kale can help you lower your cholesterol. Typically, your liver turns cholesterol into bile acids. Those acids help your body digest fats. Then Once they accomplish that goal, they go back into the bloodstream as cholesterol and wait for another chance to digest fats.
Your body uses something called bile acid sequestrants to bind your bile acids together to keep them in your digestive system. Therefore, they keep cholesterol from traveling around your bloodstream.
Wondering what this has to do with kale? Kale contains bile acid sequestrants which lower your cholesterol levels and limit your risk of heart disease. In one study, drinking kale juice daily for three months lowered bad cholesterol by 10%3.
In fact, research shows that steamed kale was 43% as strong as a drug designed to lower cholesterol. Kale in any form is good, but steamed kale gives you the most bile acid sequestrants.
5. Improve Blood Clotting
With enough vitamin K, you can improve your blood clotting ability. The vitamin activates certain proteins and allows them to bind with calcium. Wayfarin, a popular anticoagulant, is effective because it blocks vitamin K’s functions.
Because kale has almost seven times the amount of vitamin K you should receive, it’s a smart dietary choice. It improves your body’s ability to clot blood.
6. Protect Your Eyes
If you want to protect your eyes, kale can help. The vegetable has high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. Both nutrients impact the health of your eyes. They are carotenoid antioxidants that decrease your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
As individuals age, their eye health generally suffers. It’s not uncommon for people to experience eye disease or poor vision as they age. With kale, you can limit the impact of aging on your eyes.
7. Get Stronger Bones
Everyone can benefit from stronger bones, and kale is an easy way to improve your bone health. Whether you’re young or old, the calcium in kale strengthens your bones.
Adults 50 and younger should receive at least 1,000 mg of calcium every day for optimal bone health4. Meanwhile, adults 51 and older should receive at least 1,200 mg of calcium daily. Kale contains enough calcium to get you close to your goal. It’s an important piece of the dietary puzzle.
8. Weight Loss
It’s not often that eating food can help you lose weight. By eating kale, you can lose weight quicker and more easily.
First, kale is low in calories. You can eat a satisfying amount of it without hurting your diet. Actually, kale might make you feel fuller quicker than most foods because it’s bulky enough that it satisfies your hunger.
Additionally, kale contains fiber and protein: The fiber keeps the bacteria in your gut healthy5, while the protein boosts your metabolism5.
A quick and easy way to add more greens into your diet is to try NATURELO’s Raw Greens Whole Food powder that contains blends for immunity, anti-stress, energy, detox/cleansing, anti-aging, probiotics and, digestive enzymes. It can be mixed with water, milk or juice to create a refreshing smoothie.
References: 1. https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/kale/, Kale Nutritional Facts 2. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2, Kale, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories 3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0895398808600124, Kale Juice Improves Coronary Artery Disease Risk Factors in Hypercholesterolemic Men, February 2008 4. https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/calciumvitamin-d/, What is Calcium and What Does it Do?, February 26, 2008 5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fiber-and-belly-fat, How Eating Fiber Can Help You Lose Belly Fat