Leaf cabbage, better known as kale, is in the cabbage family and the leaves are edible. Kale is praised as one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. Kale is packed with nutrients and has powerful health benefits. Let’s check out the amazing health benefits of kale.
Packed With Nutrients
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable much like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. There are many types and they have green or purple curly leaves. Just one cup of kale contains the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3
There is only 33 calories in one cup of kale, 3 grams of protein, and 4 net carbs. As far as fat content, there is hardly any but the fat it does contain is the good kind, Omega-3 fatty acid.
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants. Its necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which is a protein important in health and anti aging and how our skin looks and the cushioning of our joints. Kale is higher in Vtamin c than most vegetables. One cup of raw kale contains more Vitamin c than a whole orange.
Packed With Antioxidants
Just like Vitamin C, kale is also full of beta-carotene as well as polyphenols and flavanoids. Antioxidants are important substances that help counteract oxidation stress in our cells. Oxidative stress can cause premature again and dull skin as well as one of the reasons for disease.
Substances such as flavanoids, kaempferol, and quercetin are also antioxidants and kale has large amounts of these. They’re powerful in reducing things such as heart disease, and help lower inflammation and blood pressure, among many other things.
May Help Lower Cholesterol
Cholesterol is important for our digestion. Cholesterol helps our body produce bile to break down fats. When all the fats are absorbed bile acids are reabsorbed back into our blood stream to be used again. To reduce the amount of cholesterol in the body substances called bile acid sequestrants can bind bile acids in the digestive system to prevent our body from reabsorbing them reducing the amount of cholesterol.
Kale actually contains bile acid sequestrants, which can lower cholesterol levels. This might lead to a reduced risk of heart disease. A study done found that drinking kale juice daily for 12 weeks reduced the amount of bad cholesterol in the body and increased the good cholesterol. Steamed kale was found to be about 43 % as effective as cholestyramine, a cholesterol lowering medicine.
Kale is also one of the best sources for Vitamin K. Vitamin K is an important nutrient critical for helping blood to clot. It works by binding and activating proteins giving them the ability to bind calcium. The well-known medicine warafin actually works by blocking the mechanisms of this vitamin. 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.
Kale is an excellent vegetable packed with nutrients. To incorporate it into your diet, you can eat it steamed and seasoned, raw or blended into shakes. I found a site linked here with some awesome recipes. As always if you have any comments or questions please leave them below.