Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that boasts an abundance of antioxidants and other disease-fighting agents and has amazing health benefits. Kale, also called borecole, is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, and is especially good for the brain. This leafy green vegetable is a member of the cruciferous family which includes cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and collards among others. The three most common types of kale are ornamental kale, dinosaur kale and curly kale, each having their own distinct flavor, texture and appearance.
Nutritional Content of Kale
A cup of chopped kale contains a meager 36 calories while providing 9% of the daily value (DV) of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. Kale is also a good source of copper, potassium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, carotenoids, flavonoids and fiber.
Health Benefits of Kale
1. Kale is low in calories, has no cholesterol or fat and is high in fiber. A serving of kale has only 36 calorie, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. These characteristics make kale an excellent food in weight loss diets.
2. Kale is a source of 2 powerful antioxidants: carotenoids and flavonoids that protect cells from free radicals which cause oxidative stress. In addition, kale has ample amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A and manganese which are also antioxidants.
3. Kale has great anti-inflammatory properties because of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids that play key roles in reducing inflammation in the body by regulating inflammatory processes. It helps fight against arthritis, auto-immune diseases and asthma.
4. Cancer prevention properties: Kale’s anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory powers work hand in hand to prevent and combat several cancers, including colon, breast, bladder, prostate, ovarian and gastric cancer. Like all crucifers, kale contains glucosinolates whose derived isothiocyanates block growth of certain types of cancer cells and help in DNA repair.
5. Kale boosts detoxification process. Both the isothiocyanates from glucosinolates and sulphur found in kale are found to aid in detoxifying the body.
6. Cardiovascular health: Apart from the heart healthy anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, kale has sufficient quantity of fiber to influence the lowering of cholesterol in the body. Reducing cholesterol lowers the risk of heart diseases and stroke. In addition, kale contains Indole-3-carbinol, a phytonutrient that helps reduce the secretion of the cholesterol transporter by the liver, thus benefiting the cardiovascular system.
7. Kale is high in vitamin A which is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is also essential for healthy vision. Foods rich in vitamin A are known to protect against lung and oral cancers. The beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin present in kale helps protect the eyes from UV rays and prevent the onset of cataracts, osteoporosis and age-related macular degeneration.
8. Kale is an excellent source of vitamin C which is known to build up the immune system and help fight diseases. Vitamin C also boosts the metabolic rate which is good for overall body performance.
9. Kale has an unbelievable amount of vitamin K, as much as 700% DV in a serving. Vitamin K is necessary in promoting bone health, limiting neuronal damage in the brain, normal blood clotting and help with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. It is also essential for the synthesis of sphingolipid, the fat required to retain the myelin sheath around the nerves.
10. Calorie for calorie, kale provides more calcium than milk. Calcium aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
11. Copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus are other essential minerals found in kale that boost overall health. Potassium promotes cardiovascular health, iron is necessary for cellular oxidation and red blood formation and manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the anti-oxidant co-enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
12. Kale is a notable source of B-vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, thiamin, pantothenic acid,etc., that are essential for substrate metabolism in the body.
Find Kale seeds at Sweet Corn Organic Nursery.