Often called “the world’s healthiest food”, kale is arguably the healthiest vegetable you can incorporate into your daily diet. You know I am one of those veggie types of girls that love greens, and kale is among my favorites. Now, when I talk about kale consumption, I don’t want you to go all in on kale and consume it every day. Remember, even with healthy foods, you want some diversion.
So, with that in mind, I prefer to take my kale two times per week, which is more than enough to reap the benefits of kale. I mix between kale, spinach and other cruciferous vegetables each and every day, but I try to get one cup of veggies per day.
The best part about kale is that you get absolutely zero fat, low amount of calories (only 35 per serving), and extremely high amount of healthy nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Before we go over the benefits of kale, let’s break down the nutritional value of the vegetable. As mentioned, one cup provides you with 0 fat and lots of nutrients. Among those vitamins, vitamin K leads the way, with more than 500% of the daily recommended dose pumped in just one serving.
One cup of kale also gives you 98% of the daily dose of vitamin A, 71% of the daily dose of vitamin C, 27% manganese, 22% copper, 11% vitamin B6 and 10% fiber. You will also get small, but decent doses of calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B2 and vitamin E.
High in Antioxidants
Let’s start the benefits of kale with the antioxidant aspect. There is a saying that you can never get enough antioxidants, and it is true. When it comes to antioxidants, kale is packed with beta-carotene, flavonoids, polyphenols, and vitamin C.
I always mention antioxidants when I talk about health benefits of certain food, and kale is no exception. What you need to know is that antioxidants slow your aging process, and help you counteract the damage done by free radicals.
Help with Diabetes
Going back to the antioxidants breakdown, kale is also rich in alpha-lipoic acid. Now, without going all science and biology on you, alpha-lipoic acid is one of the most important acids when it comes to lowering glucose levels and increasing insulin sensitivity.
Alpha-lipoic acid also helps patients with diabetes prevent oxidative stress changes. And it is widely known that fiber-rich diets help with blood glucose levels. One cup of kale provides around 3 grams of fiber, which is more than enough when considered that women need between 20 and 25 grams per day while men need between 30 and 38.
The veggie contains several compounds that promote heart health, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, and potassium. But potassium is the most important mineral here, as it helps you decrease your sodium intake.
Reducing the amount of sodium is the healthiest dietary change you can make to prevent heart diseases. High potassium diet is also closely related to reduced risk of stroke.
Due to its low amount of calories, kale is one of the most popular diet foods. One of the benefits of kale is that the vegetable helps you manage weight loss and improve your digestion system. With little to no calories, but high amounts of fiber, kale keeps you full for longer periods of time. And then kale also contains magnesium, a mineral that prevents and helps with stress eating.
Loaded with compounds that can protect you from cancer, kale has been proven to be most effective at blocking carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines. F
or those of you that do not know, heterocyclic amines are generated by grilling food at high temperature, which is one of the reasons why healthy diets do not support grilled food. However, if you are fan of grilled food, take more kale to counteract the negative effects of it. Kale also fights cancer cells at molecular level, thanks to richness in the substances sulforaphane.
As mentioned at the beginning, one cup of kale provides you more than enough vitamin K, a vitamin crucial for bone health, as it helps you absorb calcium. Vitamin K also helps you reduce urinary excretion of calcium.
I mentioned previously that kale is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants that help us fight free radicals. But the most important task of flavonoids is to reduce the risk of stroke, and improve our brain health.
Kale also has decent concentration of iron, a mineral we need to form hemoglobin and carry oxygen to our body cells. Additionally, kale contains small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, making it the veggie all-in-one compound for brain health.
Healthy Hair and Skin
For the women out there, you can never have enough kale. If you want to have shiny hair and skin, you know you need moisturizing. Kale is rich in vitamin A, the vitamin our body needs to produce sebum and also used for the growth of bodily tissues. Sebum keeps our hair moisturized, which is crucial for shiny look.
Kale is also rich in vitamin C, the vitamin we need for building collagen, the compound that provides the structure for our hair and skin.