The kale is “trendy” thanks to its enormous nutritional value and medicinal properties. But what are its potential health benefits?
1. It is One of the Foods with the Highest Nutritional Density on the Planet:
Kale is from the same family as cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Its leaves can be green or purple, depending on the type, and also be smooth or wavy. The most common variety has curly and green leaves, and a hard and fibrous stem.
One cup of raw kale (approximately 67 grams) contains:
- Vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene): 206% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
- Vitamin K: 684% of the RDA.
- Vitamin C : 134% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B6 9% of the RDA.
- Manganese: 26% of the RDA.
- Calcium: 9% of the CDR.
- Copper: 10% of the CDR.
- Potassium: 9% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 6% of the CDR.
It also contains 3% or more of the RDA of vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron and phosphorus. This includes 33 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrates (2 of which are fibers) and 3 grams of protein. Kale has very little fat, but the majority is alpha linoleic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid.
2. Includes Powerful Antioxidants, Such as Quercetin and Kaempferol:
The antioxidants in kale include beta carotene, vitamin C and various flavonoids and polyphenols. In addition to preventing oxidative damage of cells, some antioxidants have other very important functions. For example, quercetin and kaempferol (included in kale) have cardioprotective, blood pressure normalizing, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antidepressant and anticancer effects, among others.
In summary: Kale contains many powerful antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol, which have numerous health benefits.
3. It is an Excellent Source of Vitamin C:
Kale has more vitamin C than most other vegetables. For example, it contains four times more than spinach. This makes it one of the best sources of this vitamin. One cup of raw kale even contains more vitamin C than an orange.
In summary: Kale has a very high vitamin C content. One cup includes it in greater proportion than an orange.
4. It Helps Lower Cholesterol:
One of the functions of cholesterol in the body is to serve as a raw material for the secretion of bile acids, which help digest fats. The liver converts cholesterol into these acids, which are then released into the digestive system every time fatty foods are consumed. When the fat has been absorbed and the bile acids served their purpose, they are reabsorbed in the digestive system to be reused. There are substances called bile acid sequestrants that can bind them in the digestive system and prevent their reabsorption. And this reduces the total amount of cholesterol in the body.
“And kale contains bile acid sequestrants, which can lower cholesterol levels and, in the long term, lower the risk of heart problems”.
In this sense, one study found that the consumption of kale juice for 12 weeks raised HDL cholesterol (the “good”) by 27% and lowered LDL levels by 10%, while improving levels of antioxidants. In addition, according to other research, steaming cabbage dramatically elevates the effect of bile acid sequestrants. In fact, steamed kale has 43% of the potency of cholestyramine, a cholesterol-lowering drug.
Summarizing: Kale contains substances that bile acids bind, lowering blood cholesterol levels. Steamed cabbage is even more effective.
5. It is One of the Best Sources of Vitamin K on the Planet:
One cup of raw kale contains almost seven times the recommended daily amount of vitamin K, critical for blood clotting. The form of the vitamin present in this vegetable is K1, which is different from K2, which is usually found in fermented soy foods and some animal products. It is useful for preventing heart problems and osteoporosis.
In summary: Vitamin K is an important nutrient involved in blood clotting. One cup of kale contains seven times the recommended daily amount of this vitamin.
6. Contains Several Anticancer Substances:
Kale contains components that are believed to contribute to the fight against cancer. This includes sulforaphane, a substance that has been shown to fight cancer formation at the molecular level. It also contains indole 3-carbinol, another component that appears to prevent cancer. And, in general, some studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables such as kale can significantly lower the risk of certain types of cancer, although the evidence in humans is inconclusive.
In summary: Savoy contains substances that, it has been shown, help fight cancer in laboratory tests and animal studies, but the evidence in humans is still inconclusive.
7. It is Very High in Beta Carotene:
It is usually said that kale has high vitamin A content, but it is not exactly true. It is high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that the body can convert into that vitamin and thus raise its blood levels.
In summary: Kale has a high content of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body can convert into vitamin A.
8. It is a Good Source of Minerals that People Do Not Incorporate Sufficiently:
Kale is a great vegetable source of calcium, very important for bone health and for various cellular functions. It also has a decent presence of magnesium, which is generally not sufficiently incorporated by most people. Consuming it can protect against type 2 diabetes and heart problems. Savoy also contains enough potassium, which helps maintain electrical gradients in cells. Its adequate intake reduces blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. And an advantage that cabbage has over other leafy vegetables such as spinach is that it is low in oxalates, substances found in some vegetables and that can prevent the absorption of certain minerals.
In summary: Many important minerals, such as calcium, potassium and magnesium, are found in kale. Some of them are generally deficient in the modern diet.
9. It is Rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Powerful Nutrients that Protect Eyesight:
There are several nutrients that can prevent the deterioration of vision that appears with age. Two of the main ones are lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoid antioxidants found in large quantities in kale and other foods. Many studies have shown that people who consume sufficient amounts of these two nutrients have a much lower risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
In summary: Kale is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that are associated with a drastically lower risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
10. It Can Help You Lose Weight:
Kale is very low in calories but contributes to the feeling of fullness. It has a very low energy density, and several studies have shown that eating foods with low energy density can contribute to weight loss. Despite its few calories, it contains small amounts of protein and fibers, two of the most important nutrients when losing weight. And although there are no studies that have directly tested the effects of kale on weight loss, it makes sense to be a good addition to any diet to lose weight.
To Take into Account:
Fortunately, adding kale to the diet is easy. It can be added to salads and used in various recipes. Its leaves can also become snacks by sprinkling them with extra virgin olive oil and salt, and baking them until they dry.