Kale~Did You Know

Kale: 10 Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits

Kale is a highly nutritious food that is also a favorite with individuals looking to manage their weight. It is a versatile leafy green that can be included in meals raw or cooked, although slightly steaming it has been studied to provide maximum nutritional value.

Here are some nutritional facts and health benefits about this superfood.

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1. Impressive nutrient profile

Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods available. It has a plethora of vitamins and minerals that possess a number of health benefits. Everything from vitamins A, B, C and K to manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus is present in kale.

Yet, despite its nutrient density, kale remains one of the most healthy low-calorie foods available. All nutrients come with a mere 33 calories in one cup of raw kale. Of these, there are 6 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber, and 3 grams of protein.

2. Ideal for weight management

Given its low calorie count, kale is often considered a good choice for people looking to lose weight. It is known to be a good option for dramatically increasing the total nutrient content of the diet without adding in the calories.

Kale does contain some fat content, a large portion of which is part of the omega 3s known as linolenic acid; linolenic acid is considered a healthy fat to include in the diet. Together these features make kale a most suitable food to consume when trying to lose or manage weight.

3. Vitamin K content

While kale does boast a vast nutrient profile, its vitamin K content deserves special mention. This is because kale is one of the best sources of vitamin K with one cup of raw kale yielding almost seven times the recommended daily amount.

Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting as well as for proper absorption of calcium for healthy bone development. Low intakes of vitamin K have been linked to a higher risk of bone fracture, while adequate vitamin K consumption improves calcium absorption and contributes to improved bone density.

4. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties

Like other leafy greens, kale is also very high in antioxidants.

The different flavonoids present in kale combine both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits in a way that kale becomes a leading dietary choice for preventing oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.

Among these kaempferol and quercetin are instrumental in neutralizing inflammation. The vitamin K content in kale is also crucial for helping regulate the body’s inflammatory response. And being an alkaline food, kale can also help cleanse the blood.

5. Cancer prevention

A combination of inflammation and oxidative stress are risk factors for the development of cancer. In kale, the concentration of flavonoids and carotenoids have clearly been linked to many cancer preventive benefits.

Plus, the chlorophyll content found in kale and other green vegetables is not readily absorbed by the human intestinal tract. Instead this chlorophyll helps inhibit the absorption of carcinogenic elements. In this manner, the chlorophyll in kale binds to these carcinogens and prevents their absorption, thereby reducing the risk of cancer.

6. Cardiovascular support

The fiber, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C content in kale can all support heart health. To lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, an increase in potassium intake while reducing sodium intake is recommended.

At the same time, kale contains substances called bile acid sequestrants which bind bile acids in the digestive tract and prevent them from being reabsorbed. This feature helps in lowering cholesterol levels which in turn can reduce the risk of heart disease over time.

7. Diabetes management

It has been studied that individuals with diabetes exhibit lower or improved blood glucose levels when they follow a high fiber diet. Kale has a fair amount of dietary fiber that can help improve glucose level readings and there is also an antioxidant known as alpha lipoic acid which is beneficial in lowering glucose levels, increasing insulin sensitivity and preventing oxidative stress in individuals with diabetes.

Inclusion of kale on the menu can contribute to a healthy daily intake of alpha lipoic acid.

8. Vision health

Kale offers good supplies of lutein and zeaxanthin which are carotenoid antioxidants needed for good eye health. These carotenoids help prevent damage to the eyes from excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, as well as protect the retina against oxidative damage. At the same time, lutein and zeaxanthin are also known to reduce disability from glare, enhance contrast and reduce photo stress recovery times.

It has been studied that individuals who consume enough lutein and zeaxanthin have a much lower risk of age related eye disorders such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

8. Vision health

Kale offers good supplies of lutein and zeaxanthin which are carotenoid antioxidants needed for good eye health. These carotenoids help prevent damage to the eyes from excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, as well as protect the retina against oxidative damage. At the same time, lutein and zeaxanthin are also known to reduce disability from glare, enhance contrast and reduce photo stress recovery times.

It has been studied that individuals who consume enough lutein and zeaxanthin have a much lower risk of age related eye disorders such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

10. Evidence based detox food

Detox foods work to cleanse the liver and remove toxins from the system. In this respect, kale and other leafy greens that are high in chlorophyll are very beneficial. Plant chlorophylls can extract environmental toxins from the blood stream and neutralize heavy metal, chemicals and pesticides.

At the same time kale also yields fiber and sulfur, both of which are needed for detoxifying the body and keeping the liver healthy. Sulfur compounds in particular are required for supporting and completing Phase II detoxification in humans.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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