Over the last few years, kale’s popularity has skyrocketed and has become a part of today’s mainstream culture. This nutrient-filled superfood can now be easily purchased at your local supermarket is pre-rinsed and trimmed bags, ready for consumption.
Before kale’s rise in popularity, it was already widely consumed dating back to Roman times and other parts of Europe and the United States. According to history books, Thomas Jefferson used to experiment with several varieties of kales at his estate in Monticello in the early 1800s.
Today, kale is more accessible than ever and with the amount of nutritional value it has, adding kale into your everyday diet can help boost your overall well-being.
In this article, we will be delving into the top reasons why you should add kale in stir-fried or baked dishes and salads.
Before learning more about kale’s health benefits, let’s take a look at the different varieties of kale available:
Known for its pungent and peppery flavor, the bright green ruffled leaves, the Curly kale is probably the type of kale you’re most familiar with.
This narrow looking kale variant was named dinosaur kale due to its wrinkly texture, like a dinosaur’s skin.
The redbor kale is known for its distinct color, ranging from deep red to purple.
The more rare kale variant, the Russian kale is harder to find. It has flat fringed green, red and purple leaves.
To know about the kale’s nutritional value, here are the top benefits of adding kale in your everyday diet:
Kale is packed with Nutrients
Known as one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, adding kale to your dishes like stir-fried chicken can make a huge difference to your meal.
For every 1 and a half cup of kale, here’s a list of the type of nutrients you will consume:
- Carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin)
- Flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol)
- Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- Omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid)
- Omega-6 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid)
From the list of nutrients above here’s what you take note of about kale:
- Kale contains healthy fats in the form of omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid.
- With its incredibly low-caloric content, eating more kale is a great way to effectively increase your total nutrient intake.
Kale is Loaded with Powerful Antioxidants
Strengthen and boost your body’s immune system with kale’s powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants are substances that help combat oxidative damage—leading drivers of aging and many diseases.
Aside from counteracting oxidative damage, kale also contains heaps amount of flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, substances that can help with the heart, blood pressure, inflammation, viruses and many more.
Kale’s antioxidants can help strengthen and maintain your body’s health.
Kale is an Excellent Source of Vitamin C
Kale is extremely high in vitamin C, an important water-soluble antioxidant that has many important roles in the body.
Compared to most vegetables like spinach, kale is richer in vitamin C. In fact, a cup of raw kale contains a whole lot more of vitamin C than a whole orange.
If you’re feeling like you’re about to have a cold, adding in some kale to your meal would definitely help give your immune system a boost!
Kale can Help Lower Cholesterol Levels
By making dishes like kale in stir-fry, the kale will be able to help lower your cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol has many important functions in the body like how it is used to make bile acids, substances that help the body digest fats. Whenever you eat a fatty meal, the cholesterol is turned into bile acids in the liver, which is released into the body’s digestive system.
To reduce the body’s cholesterol levels, substances called bile acid sequestrants to bind the bile acids in the digestive system to prevent them from being reabsorbed.
Kale contains bile acid sequestrants and therefore can help lower and maintain cholesterol levels.
There Are Numerous Substances in Kale that Can Help Combat Cancer
This is one of the most important health benefits Kale contains are substances that can help prevent cancer—a disease known to destroy the body’s tissue through the uncontrolled growth of cells.
With kale—a superfood loaded with compounds— as part of your everyday diet, you’ll be able to lower the risk of being diagnosed with cancer.
One of these cancer-fighting compounds is called sulforaphane, studies have found that this particular substance has been shown to help fight the formation of cancer at a molecular level. Kale also contains indole-3-carbinol, a substance that is also believed to help prevent cancer.
While kale can’t definitively prevent people from cancer, it does have compounds that can help lower the risk.
With kale’s nutrient-density, adding this superfood into your everyday diet can have a lasting effect on your long-term health. So, if you can incorporate kale in your stir-fry, omelet or salads, why not?