Kale, also known as leaf cabbage, is a green vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked.
Just like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and brussels sprouts, it belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables.
The leaves of kale can be green or purple and have either a smooth or curly shape.
It boasts of nutrients such as vitamins A, C and K; manganese, copper, calcium, potassium, fibre, iron, earning itself the reputation of “the healthiest food” on earth.
One serving of kale, which contains just 30 calories, is said to provide a day’s worth of vitamin C, twice the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, and nearly seven times the recommended amount of vitamin K.
Whether as a dish or an addition to salads and smoothies, here are many health benefits of kale.
Great for diabetics
Cruciferous veggies such as kale contain sulforaphane, a compound which helps to control blood sugar levels by reducing hepatic glucose production.
Kale also contains fibre, which has a low glycemic index and can prevent blood sugar spikes after eating high-carbohydrate foods.
The fibre and antioxidants in kale can help lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes.
Prevents heart disease
Love your heart, love kale. The fibre, potassium, vitamin C and B6 found in kale all support good heart health.
The potassium in kale neutralises that adverse effects of sodium, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
A high potassium intake is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density, and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
Abnormal cell growth leads to cancer, which often involves a tumour and which can attack any bodily organ.
But not to worry, kale possesses anti-cancer antioxidants like sulforaphane, a substance that has been shown to help fight the formation of cancer at the molecular level.
Kale also contains a indole-3-carbinol, another cancer-fighting substance. The vitamin K and beta carotene content in kale also protect the body against cancer.
Enhances your vision
Kale is a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoid antioxidants required by the eyes to block blue light from reaching the underlying structures of the retina.
These antioxidants lower risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Aids weight management
Kale has several properties that make it a weight loss friendly food. It is low in calories, but still provides significant bulk that should help you feel full.
Despite the low amount of calories, it does contain small amounts of protein and fibre. These are two of the most important nutrients when it comes to losing weight.
Boosts brain activity
Kale contains not fewer than 45 different flavonoids, all of which act as potent antioxidants to prevent inflammation in the brain or the ageing of the brain due to free radicals.
Kale is one of the world’s best sources of vitamin K, with a single raw cup containing almost 7 times the recommended daily amount.
Your brain needs this vitamin for sphingolipid metabolism and maintaining brain structure.
Vitamin B6 in kale also boosts levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, which help improve overall cognition and prevents dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other cognitive impairment.
Good for pregnant women
The nutrients present in kale are what a pregnant woman needs for herself and her unborn child.
The iron in kale reduces the risk of a premature birth, vision and auditory problems, vulnerability to infections, metabolic problems, low birth weight, and even child and maternal mortality.
Kale also contains beta carotene, which is extremely important during pregnancy and the breastfeeding period, particularly for lung development and maturation.
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