Kale, often referred to as a “superfood,” is a leafy green vegetable with an impressive array of health benefits. It is a powerhouse of micronutrients and antioxidants, and is one of the extremely nutritious green leafy vegetables. Additionally, kale has a range of beneficial compounds that enhance several medicinal properties. This nutritional powerhouse is a versatile addition to your diet and can have a positive impact on your overall well-being.
Health Shots contacted N Lakshmi, Senior Dietitian, Kamineni Hospitals, Hyderabad, to explore ten notable health benefits of kale.
10 Surprising Health Benefits of Kale
Kale is versatile and delivers a burst of nutty, earthy flavor on the palate that helps it work wonders with a myriad of recipes. Here are the health benefits of kale:
1. Rich in nutrients
“Kale is exceptionally nutrient dense. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, calcium and potassium. This diverse nutritional profile contributes to general health and well-being,” explains the expert.
2. Rich in antioxidants
Kale is a powerful source of antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol. These antioxidants help fight oxidative stress and inflammation, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
3. Rich in fiber
The expert says: “Kale is a rich source of dietary fiber, which contributes to healthy digestion. It induces a feeling of fullness and helps control blood sugar levels. It is particularly rich in soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels.
4. Strengthens bones
Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K, which is essential for bone health because it helps calcium reach the bones. Adequate vitamin K intake can also reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
5. Good for the eyes
Kale contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids essential for eye health. They protect the eyes from harmful UV rays and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
6. Promotes heart health
“Kale’s combination of fiber, potassium, and antioxidants supports heart health by lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol levels, and decreasing the risk of heart disease,” says the expert.
A study of 149 people suffering from metabolic syndrome concluded that consuming 14 grams of kale powder daily for 8 weeks led to a significant drop in bad cholesterol levels, as well as blood pressure, fasting blood sugar. and abdominal fat.
7. May Help Prevent Cancer
The expert says phytochemicals in kale, such as sulforaphane, have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer. They help the body detoxify and eliminate potentially carcinogenic compounds.
8. Reduces Inflammation
Kale’s high content of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids may help fight chronic inflammation, which contributes to many illnesses, including arthritis and autoimmune diseases.
9. Manages weight
“Kale is low in calories and high in fiber, making it a great choice for those looking for weight loss-friendly foods. It provides a feeling of satiety without excess calories,” adds the expert.
10. Blood Sugar Regulation
The fiber and antioxidants in kale can help regulate blood sugar levels, making it beneficial for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing the disease.
How to include kale in your diet?
Incorporating kale into your diet can be easy and versatile. It can be used in salads, smoothies, stir-fries, soups and even cooked as crispy kale chips. However, it is essential to remember that while kale offers many health benefits, it is best to eat a diverse diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure a wide range of nutrients.
It’s also important to consult a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making any significant dietary changes, especially if you have any specific health conditions or concerns. They can provide personalized advice on how to incorporate kale and other foods into a balanced, healthy diet.