You have probably seen someone drinking a smoothie or other pureed drink and wondered what the green concoction was made out of. If it happened within the last five years or so, there’s a good chance that it contained kale. Seemingly overnight, everybody started putting kale in their salads or chopping it for smoothies or toppings left and right. It’s just as popular now as it has ever been, and many people wonder why.
Kale has actually been around for a long time, though it started to become more popular when it reached the western countries such as the United States and Canada. During World War II, it became more relevant than ever due to rationing at home, then saw a resurgence in recent years due to its health benefits. So what’s so great about kale, and should you be eating more of it? Let’s look at the proven health benefits that come from eating kale.
Weight Loss with Kale
If you chop up kale and cook it without adding any fat, you are only getting 33 calories per cup. That makes it one of the most calorie dense foods that you can find, and you can seemingly eat pounds of the stuff without gaining any weight yourself. Of course, kale is good for weight loss in the fact that it is so low in calories, so how does that work for you?
Replacing a high calorie snack that you would normally pick out of the vending machine with kale is going to take off a couple hundred calories right away. Not only that, but kale contains a high amount of fiber, so it will still help you feel full if you eat enough. Just one cup has more than 10 percent of your daily recommended dietary fiber content, which is phenomenal considering it doesn’t look like much. That fiber will help your digestive system, as well, allowing your metabolism to operate more efficiently.
There are some great fruits and vegetables that are packed with vitamins and nutrients, but perhaps none of them stack up to kale. Just one cup of kale will get you more than enough of your daily recommendation of vitamin C (treating and preventing illnesses) and vitamin K (blood and bone health). Kale also contains a significant amount of vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, calcium and manganese.
Finding a food that contains that many nutrients outside of taking a multivitamin can be hard, and those vitamins will help your body function at a higher rate. Some of the other nutrients that are found in smaller doses within kale contain thiamine, riboflavin, iron, potassium and zinc. Even when cooked, kale hangs onto much of the nutritious properties it contains.
Many of the vitamins that are found in kale will help your skin, hair and eyes much better. Kale has plenty of antioxidants that will keep your skin moisturized, allowing you to slow down the aging process that we see from cracked and dry skin. Your hair won’t break as easily and the increased blood flow will actually make you grow hair faster. You can also stay away from many of the common scalp problems thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids that act as an anti-inflammatory agent.
As for your eyes, the vitamin C that is found so abundantly in kale prevents eye diseases that are more common with age. This includes cataracts, which become quite common the older you get. So not only will you look younger thanks to kale, but you can also have the vision of a much younger person.
Anti-inflammatory properties of kale sound great when it comes to your hair, but it goes much further than that. Research has shown that kale’s nutrients can help you prevent certain types of cancers that include breast, colon and prostate cancers. Some of the more important nutrients in kale that help in preventing cancer include sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol.
Even those that have already been diagnosed with cancer will see some relief in their symptoms thank to kale. You’ll feel better and many of the nutrients can slow the growth of cancer cells. While it won’t be able to completely cure your cancer, adding kale to a healthy diet will make treatment more efficient.
Your liver, heart and brain all depend on a healthy blood flow, which you can get from eating kale. The liver will be able to operate more efficiently, which ties into your body’s cholesterol. With a better absorption of nutrients, your cardiovascular health will improve and kale has been shown to lower cholesterol by up to 10 percent in just a few weeks. All while increasing the amount of good cholesterol that your body needs by nearly 30 percent.
Of course, with lowered cholesterol comes fewer heart problems, which is always welcome. Kale also contains vitamins that will help you prevent blood clots that can reach up to the brain. People don’t think about their blood enough when it comes to their health, but they should, and kale can help significantly.
Summing it Up
When it comes to kale, some people don’t want to start eating it because they fear it won’t taste all that good. While it does have an interesting taste that some people might find off putting, there are plenty of ways to prepare it so that it tastes better without making it unhealthy. Many in Europe find themselves stewing kale so that they get the nutritious benefits while making it easier to eat.
There’s no doubt that kale is considered a superfood with a lot of benefits, but what about any negative aspects? Well, there are some aspects of kale that could interfere with certain types of medication, so make sure to clear up anything with your doctor. Eating too much kale on a daily basis can also prevent you from absorbing calcium, causing you to urinate calcium deposits.
There are other slight side effects of kale, but they only happen when you eat a ridiculous amount on a daily basis, but that could be said for just about any food. There’s really not much to worry about, and the benefits of kale outweigh any minor negatives by a longshot.