Kale, also popularly known as borecole is an undomesticated form of cabbage. This curly vegetable with purplish or darkish- green leaves is a nutrition heavyweight. This ‘Queen of Greens’ falls under the Brassica oleracea species and is closest to wild cabbage. This space highlights various health benefits of Kale.
Nutritional value of kale is exceedingly high. This vegetable consists of a heady mix of minerals and vitamins essential for daily intake. This super vegetable has high fiber content. What makes Kale hugely popular with the masses is the low presence of calories. One cup of kale contains 0% fat and just36 calories. Some varieties of Kale cultivated near marshlands reach a height of to 7 to 10 feet, whereas varieties for commercial consumption are compact and smaller in size. Stir fried varieties of chopped or minced kale are extremely popular in world cuisine.
This vegetable contains sulforaphane, a chemical that is known to fight cancer cells. Its anti-cancer properties make it one of the most popular green vegetables. Kale consumption is associated with a number of health benefits which is why this leafy green vegetable is included in a healthy diet. Although this vegetable is boiled and used in recipes in many parts of the world, it is recommend that you stir-fry, steam, or microwave kale, because boiling greatly decreases level of sulforaphane present.
Health benefits of Kale
1. Excellent for weight loss
Anybody looking to maintain weight of lose weight should include Kale in their diet. This vegetable is a rich source of Vitamin C and fiber. Vitamin C present in this green vegetable ensures that the body is hydrated and in the process increases metabolism. This vegetable makes an excellent post-workout stir-fried snack. Kale is a preferred choice among health conscious individuals because of absence of fat. 1 cup of kale has 0% fat content.
2. Kale, a detoxifying superfood
Kale offers a generous amount of sulphur and fiber in a serving (1 cup) both of which play an important role in body detoxification. Fiber quality present ion this vegetable is extremely good for digestion and organ function.
3. Essential for healthy glowing skin
If you want that natural healthy glow on your skin make sure you start eating kale. This vegetable has an alkalizing effect on the body. This leafy green vegetable is a rich in vitamin A and beta- carotene that help get rid of acne, skin blemishes, and scars. Vitamin C present in this vegetable plays a pivotal role in collagen production beneath skin surface. Consumption of kale is good for cell reproduction, which in the process helps prevent loose skin and wrinkles. So, if you want younger looking skin this is a vegetable you should target.
4. Superfood for bone health
Kale is a rich source of calcium. Its per calorie calcium count is more than milk. Vitamins K and D along with calcium ensure excellent bone health. Intake of kale in your diet helps maintain healthy metabolism and minimizes the risk of osteoporosis. The presence of vitamin C aids in bone joint functions and cartilage health. A cup of kale consists of 10% of RDA-omega 3 fatty acids which help against arthritis.
5. Essential for good cardiovascular health
Kale is loaded with antioxidants that are essential for good cardiovascular health. This leafy green vegetable contains folate, vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, potassium and fiber that are important for a healthy heart. Research reveals Kale is has a high content of lutein which protects against Atherosclerosis (Arteriosclerotic vascular disease- ASVD). Kale also an unusual and rare compound called glucoraphanin that plays a pivotal role in activating Nrf2, a protective protein that helps protect artery walls from plaque and fat build up, mainly cholesterol. Kale consumption reduces the risk of heart diseases. This vegetable is recommended by dieticians and nutritionists as part of a healthy diet because it is rich in fiber, fat-free, low in calories and rich in nutrients.
6. Improved immunity with kale
Kale is an excellent vegetable for improved immunity. This vegetable has the potential to fight harmful viruses and bacteria. Individuals that suffer from constant colds should include this leafy green wonder in their diet and witness a miracle happen. Vegans/vegetarians often complain about lack of iron in foods. Iron content in kale is higher than that in beef making it the perfect source for this valuable mineral for veggies. Iron consumption is essential to regulate oxygen levels for blood. Individuals that are anemic have benefitted significantly by including kale in their diet. Individuals that have a suppressed immune system should include leafy green vegetables to increase immunity. Iron present in kale aids in formation of enzymes and hemoglobin.
7. Good for eyesight
Individuals that consume kale in their daily diet are less likely to suffer from optical diseases in old age. Vitamin A present in this green vegetable is essential for retina functions. Compounds, zeaxanthin and lutein present in kale promote good eye health.
8. Minimizes the risk of cancer
Eating kale minimizes the risk of cancer. This green vegetable has several health benefits in regard with cancer. This leafy green vegetable has antioxidants and flavonoids that fight growth of cancer cells. Carotenoids present in kale are known to play a key role in prevention of cancer and other deadly life threatening diseases. The high vitamin K offers enhanced antioxidant activity and also reduces the risk of blood clots.
9. Kale has anti inflammatory health benefits
Kale is a super food with anti inflammatory properties. 1 cup of kale provides a generous amountof vitamins in micrograms. There are a number of vegetables that have anti-inflammatory properties; however effectiveness of anti inflammatory properties in kale significantly higher than other healthy foods because of varied presence of flavonoids that include quercetin and kaempferol. Vitamin K is a key nutrient that plays a huge part in regulation of inflammatory process on our body. Regular intake of kale minimizes the risk of cellular inflammation, thereby keeping preventing disease. Omega 3 fatty acids in this vegetable prevent autoimmune disorders.
10. Fights age related diseases
As we grow older age related disease crop up. Including kale in your diet regularly helps minimize risk of disease that come with age. Ocular diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts can be avoided with consumption of fibrous food rich in vitamins and minerals.
Nutritional value of Kale
Kale is a popular superfood because of its composition of flavonoids and antioxidants. This vegetable is loaded with nutrients that promote good health. Kale offers a rich source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the body. This leafy vegetable has a large amount of vitamin K, which plays an important role in healthy bone composition and is essential for healthy body functions. Consumption of leafy vegetables with vitamin K minimizes the risk of blood clots, prevents excess calcium build-up on tissue and ensures the myelin sheath around nerves is healthy. Vitamin C present in Kale is required for a healthy immune system. Vitamin A in this vegetable is important for healthy functioning of reproducing organs and minimizing the risk of urinary stones. Health benefits of kale are linked to antioxidant vitamins and phytonutrients that contain sulphur. Specific types of antioxidants, flavonoids and carotenoids present in kale are known for their ability to stop cancer cell growth. A number of compounds in this vegetable are essential for healthy body and mind development. Kale is a rich source of zeaxanthin, beta carotene, and lutein.
Nutritional value of Kale- per 100 grams (Source-USDA Nutrient Database)
• Vitamin A- 13621 IU
• Vitamin C- 41.0 mg
• Vitamin E- 0.85 mg
• Vitamin K- 817.0 mcg
• Vitamin B9 (Folate) - 13 mcg
• Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) - 0.049 mg
• Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) - 0.053 mg
• Vitamin B3 (Niacin) - 0.500 mg
• Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) - 0.070 mg
• Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) - 0.138 mg
• Zinc- 0.24 mg
• Calcium- 72 mg
• Phosphorous- 28 mg
• Manganese- 0.416 mg
• Iron- 0.80 mg
• Sodium 23 mg
• Potassium- 228 mg
• Magnesium- 18 mg
• Carbohydrates- 5.63 g
• Water- 91.20 g
• Fat 0.40 g
• Sugars- 1.25 g
• Protein- 1.90 g
• Energy 28 kacl
• Dietary Fiber- 2.0
Different Kale varieties
There are a variety of leaf types in Kale, each variety with distinct leaf pattern and shape. The curly leaves kale variety are available in most Western parts of the world while the plain leaf variety found in excess in Asian counties. A variety of this vegetable, Rape Kale is harvested towards the end of winter period in traditional agricultural norms. The Leaf and Spear variety of Kale is a hybrid that contains both curly leaves and plain leaves. Another variety of kale called Lacinato or black cabbage is hugely popular in Italy. Jersey Kale also known as cow cabbage is one of the tallest variety of kale. The vegetable is also used as an ornamental plant for decoration, mainly because of the color of its leaves. Colors such as violet, lavender, pink, red and white that are found in the rosette interior are hugely popular in ornamental decoration. Though many do not use ornamental kale in cooking, is it is edible and can be used in a variety of colorful salads.
Culinary Uses of Kale
Kale can be used in a number of dry salads and wet salads. Several potato dishes are made with stir fried kale as an accompaniment. In Europe this vegetable is popular accompaniment with sausages, salami and ham. Also, European countries consume the highest kale stew in the world. In Asia stir-fry varieties of kale preparation with beef, chicken and pork are common. Kale can be minced, diced or kept whole. In the US curly kale is preferred braised. In several cultures kale juice is consumed as a dietary supplement because of its diverse health benefits. A variety of thick soups, stews with minced kale and chicken are popular in China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia and Thailand.
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