Every once in a while, a new superfood emerges and takes the world by storm. One of the best examples of the trendiest and healthiest foods is kale. This green, leafy vegetable gives spinach a run for its money, being loaded with so many nutrients that it has gained nicknames like “the new beef”, “nutritional powerhouse”, and “the queen of greens”.
Kale’s 6 Best Health Benefits
What makes kale such a veggie superstar? Check out this list and discover why many hail kale as king.
1. Help You Shed Extra Pounds
One of the main reasons why kale got so popular is because it’s the perfect diet food. It helps people shed some pounds off because it is:
- Rich in fiber so it makes you feel full even if you eat it without carbohydrates.
- Great in hunger suppression as it also contains 3 grams of protein.
- Has low calorie content so you can stuff yourself with this veggie and not worry about your caloric intake. A cup of raw kale only has 33 calories, so you shouldn’t worry too much about it.
- A great substitute to calorie-rich foodstuffs. Instead of munching on potato chips, go with baked kale chips. You can also ditch the buttered vegetables or mashed potatoes and swap it with a kale salad.
- Nutrient-dense so you can be sure to get a good load of your required dietary allowance by eating a few servings of this veggie on a regular basis.
2. Loaded with Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Highly Effective Nutrients that Provide Protection to the Eyes
Green, leafy vegetables are also great for keeping your eyesight in great shape. This is why kale and others like collard greens and spinach are recommended for those who want to keep their eyesight healthy. As these greens contain carotenoids and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, they get to protect the eyes against the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration or AMD.
Cataracts and AMD are two of the most common causes of visual impairment as well as acquired blindness in America. Dietary studies have confirmed, however, that frequent consumption of greens rich in lutein and zeaxanthin manages to reduce the risks of developing these health problems.
3. Best Sources of Vitamin K
A cup of kale has 1180% of vitamin K. This is seriously a lot of vitamin K in a single cup of vegetables, making kale one of the best sources of this type of vitamin. What makes it great is that vitamin K has a lot of benefits including:
- Boosts normal blood clotting, allowing you to respond to and heal from injuries better.
- Helpful in bone health as it assists in the body’s better absorption of calcium, resulting in stronger bones. It also reduces bone loss, prevents osteoporosis, and risks of bone fractures.
- Help keep calcium out of the artery linings and other body tissues, thus preventing damage and cardiovascular diseases.
- Can help lessen risks of cancer.
You can enjoy all of these benefits by just eating some kale. Just how awesome is that?
4.Help Lower Cholesterol, Which May Reduce The Risk of Heart Attacks
Cholesterol isn’t necessarily bad as it helps us digest fats by making bile acids. However, having high amounts of cholesterol could lead to cardiovascular issues, so keeping it in check is necessary. To do that, kale magnificently helps out by:
- Containing high amounts of lutein which lowers the levels of LDL cholesterol. It also stops cholesterol buildup.
- Containing bile acid sequestrants from its rich fiber content which bind bile acids in the digestive system and releases them instead of re-using them again. This causes the body to create a new supply of bile acid from stored cholesterol, thus keeping its levels down. This also helps in getting rid of fats instead of storing them in the body, as the re-absorption of bile acids also causes fat absorption. According to studies, kale can bind up to 42% of bile acids, making it effective in lowering the body’s cholesterol levels.
5. Best Sources of Vitamin C
With 134% of vitamin C in every serving of raw kale, it is definitely a great source for this type of vitamin without having to deal with the sour flavor. While it can’t cure the common cold, it can significantly lessen the time you have to endure the illness as well as prevent its more serious complications. Kale can also let you enjoy the many benefits of vitamin C, including the following:
- Slow down skin aging.
- Lessen stress.
- Lessen prenatal health problems.
- Prevent serious cardiovascular diseases.
- Protection against immune system deficiencies.
6. Full of Powerful Antioxidants like Quercetin and Kaempferol
Kale also contains high amounts of the antioxidants quercetin and kaempferol which are proven to be:
- Capable of fighting off free radicals in the body.
- Able to lower blood pressure.
- Can lessen risks of various types of cancer.
How to Enjoy Kale
With the many benefits kale has, your next concern should be how you can enjoy such a marvelous food item. If you haven’t tried kale before, though, the first thing you need to know is that it has a very strong flavor that needs some getting used to. Unlike other greens, it really tastes like leaves and may even have a slightly bitter after taste, so it can be a bit off-putting for first timers.
However, there are lots of ways to prepare this vegetable. You can juice it, make baked kale chips, toss them in salads, add to pasta, substitute to spinach in various recipes, or add them in soups. You can also just steam the kale leaves and call it a healthy day.
The trick in enjoying kale is in finding the best way to prepare it, so you can get most of its nutrients and benefit greatly from what it has to offer. You can even experiment and try your own recipes to discover how you like kale the most.