Kale is a dark green leafy vegetable which has been used in diet since Roman times and is common in European countries. It is from the cabbage family which also has vegetables like broccoli, collard and cauliflower. Kale is one of the healthiest green vegetables and the benefits of kale are plenty. It is very nutritious with lots of beneficial compounds and medicinal properties.
Benefits of Kale
Nutritional Benefits of Kale
Kale is one vegetarian source with decent amount of alpha-linolenic acid or Omega-3 acid. It is a rich source of calcium, iron, potassium and copper. The vitamins available in good quantity are B1, B2, C, E and K. The other nutrients with high content present in Kale are Beta Carotene, Lutein and Zeaxanthin. It is rich in compounds like Borecole which has cancer-fighting properties and Flavonoids which helps in controlling indigestion, inflammation and stress. Given below is the nutritional content of Kale:
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Role of Kale in Diabetes
A diet rich in fiber helps in lowering the blood glucose levels in people suffering from type 1 diabetes. For people suffering from type 2 diabetes, it helps in improving blood sugar, lipid and insulin levels. You get 2 grams of fiber from just one cup of fresh kale. Studies have shown that alpha-lipoic acid, which is greatly present in kale, has lots of benefits for diabetics like lowering glucose levels, increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing changes caused by oxidative stress. It decreases peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy in diabetics.
Benefits of Kale in Heart Disease
The various nutrients present in kale which are responsible for improving health of the heart are fiber, vitamin C, B6 and potassium. Studies have shown that risk of cardiovascular disease can be reduced by increasing intake of potassium and lowering sodium intake. High potassium intake also reduces risk of stroke, preserves bone mineral density, avoids loss of muscle mass and reduces formation of kidney stones. Potassium has vasodilator effects which help in lowering blood pressure.
Have Weight Loss and Detox Effects
The weight loss and detox effect is attributed to its fiber and sulfur content. It helps in digestion, lowering cholesterol as well as improving the liver health. Vitamin C present in Kale helps in boosting the metabolism, hydrating the body, causing weight loss and in lowering blood sugar level.
Strengthen the Immune System
Another benefit of Kale is that it helps in strengthening the immune system. The various nutrients help in fighting organisms like viruses and bacteria. The iron content of Kale is higher than that of beef and hence is a good source of vegetarians. It is an important source of iron for people who are anemic.
Kale has a good concentration of Omega 3 & 6 acids which helps in keeping the body strong, healthy and beautiful. It can help to give the skin a healthy appearance and improve the overall tone.
Develop Infants' Brains
One of the most important benefits of kale is the role of brain development of fetus in the womb. Kale has high levels of which is essential for healthy neural development of fetus. It ensures proper birth weight, neural tube formation and proper development of the face and heart. For women who are trying to conceive and are given synthetic supplements which can have some unpleasant side effects should incorporate kale in their diet.
Cruciferous vegetables have been shown to have cancer preventing properties in various studies. The cancer-preventing properties of cruciferous vegetables like kale are due to the presence of a compound called Glucosinolates. These are sulfur containing compounds which are broken down into compounds likes – indoles, thiocyanates and isothiocyanates which prevent the growth of cancer cells. Cancer of various types like bladder, breast, liver, colon, lung and stomach can be prevented by intake of Kale.
Enable Good Vision
One of the most wonderful benefits of kale is the improvement in eyesight and vision. The nutrients in kale which help in improving vision are Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which also give kale its dark green color. It also helps in preventing macular degeneration and cataract. It helps in filtering away the harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light by acting as anti-oxidants. These carotenoids are deposited in the highest quantity in the retina of the eyes, thus help in protecting and maintaining healthy cells.