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8 Benefits Of Kale That Will Surprise You (+Healthy Recipes)

8 Benefits Of Kale That Will Surprise You (+Healthy Recipes)

From t-shirts exclaiming “Kale Yeah!” to Brooklyn brunch menus offering eclectic kale frittatas, this super food has come a long way in the past decade. The hipster-hype surrounding kale has given this cruciferous vegetable the popularity needed to charm its way into smoothies, juices, salads, and the hearts of veg-heads everywhere. Aside from being a socially endorsed food, kale also has a long list of health benefits. Read on to learn about how the many benefits of kale can invigorate your health.

1. Kale helps with weight loss

If there’s one food you should add to your diet in preparation for swimsuit season, it’s kale. Despite being low in calories, kale is rich in your body’s favorite nutrients, like Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, and Potassium (to name a few). These vitamins maintain your body’s internal composition, giving you cleaner energy and a balanced appetite.

Kale also contains protein and fiber—two very necessary nutrients for weight loss. Adding kale into your diet can increase volume without compromising calorie intake, making you feel fuller on less food.

Calcium is another nutrient that’s present in kale, which is great since calcium has been linked to considerable fat burning in several studies. Next time you go to pack your lunch, try swapping out the potato chips for some kale chips.

2. Kale helps with vision

You’ve probably been told that eating your vegetables is good for your eyesight, but is it actually true? It is for kale. The vegetable is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two notorious defenders of ocular health. Incorporating kale into your diet can significantly lower your risk of developing age-related eye disorders while also preserving the quality of your vision. Hold the cataracts and bifocals—more kale, please.

3. Kale has tons of vitamins

Because of the way many foods are processed, frozen, and cooked, many minerals and vitamins get filtered out. As a result, most people have a deficiency of at least one vitamin, if not several vitamins. Kale is an excellent source of these vitamins, containing well beyond the recommended daily amount in Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.

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It’s also a great source of calcium, magnesium, and several other nutrients our body needs. When you’re consuming a sufficient amount of these nutrients, your immune system is stronger and your body performs better. Instead of taking a handful of vitamins everyday, just eat kale on a regular basis (it’s cheaper than buying those vitamins!).

4. Kale contains cancer-fighting agents

In an age where almost every product and food is somehow linked to cancer, how can we protect ourselves from getting sick? One of the best things we can do is consume a diet that makes our bodies inhospitable for cancer. Such a diet might include low pesticide fruits, low hormone meat, and kale, kale, kale.

This superfood is packed with compounds, such as sulforaphane, that fight cancer at the earliest molecular level. Many of the same cancer-fighting agents are also found in other vegetables from the cabbage family, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Including one of these vegetables in a meal 4–5 times each week will work to improve your health and prevent future sickness.

5. Kale naturally detoxes your body

If you’ve ever been interested in doing a detox program, you probably know how expensive they can be. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a chemical detox, try eating a large amount of kale for a couple of weeks. Perhaps one of the most compelling benefits of kale is how it detoxes cells within the body. We’re constantly coming in contact with toxins through both our food and our environments, and our body has a natural detoxing process that breaks up and flushes those toxins out.

The high sulfur content in kale as well as the isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from kale’s glucosinolates support that detox regulation function of cells within our body. By boosting your kale intake, you can naturally “rev up” your body’s detox response naturally while flushing out toxins.

6. Kale helps lower cholesterol

One of the main functions of cholesterol within the body is creating bile acids. These help us digest fats after we splurge on that greasy burger or pizza, and our body reuses the bile acids after all the fat from a meal has been absorbed. These bile acids are performing a digestive function and absorbing the fat, but after the bile acids have done their job, they’re returned into the bloodstream, making the cholesterol level within the body rise (this is one reason why a fatty diet leads to high cholesterol).

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Kale has a high number of bile acid sequestrants, which keep the bile acids in the digestive system rather than getting reabsorbed into the bloodstream. This means that eating more kale will result in more bile acid sequestrants to bind the bile acids, which will then result in lower cholesterol over time. Hooray!

7. Kale makes you pretty

Want to achieve that natural glow? Try adding kale into your daily diet—it’ll boost and brighten your appearance from the inside out. Kale is extremely high in beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A. This fuels the production of bodily tissues and sebum, which replenish old cells and keep new ones hydrated.

The end result? Beautiful hair, clear and hydrated skin, and strong nails without having to break the bank on expensive vitamins.

8. Kale is easy to cook with

If you’re new to kale, you’re probably not thrilled at the thought of eating a cold, crunchy leaf. The good news is that kale has incredible cooking versatility! It can be incorporated into nearly every dish, contributes a non-intrusive but full flavor, and is sure to satisfy your hunger.

Enjoy the benefits of kale while tickling your taste buds with one of these easy recipes.

Kale Smoothie with Pineapple

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    Kickstart your day in 5 minutes with this tasty and simple smoothie! The kale in this recipe will provide the fuel you need to make it to lunchtime while satisfying all your taste buds.

    Kale, Potato, and Onion Frittata

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      With less than 150 calories per serving, you can have a guilt-free brunch and go for that second mimosa. Host brunch at your house next weekend and try this easy and delicious recipe!

      Kale Ricotta Dip

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        You’ve heard of spinach artichoke dip, but have you tried kale ricotta dip? You can have just as much flavor and less than half the calories with this recipe. Grab some pita chips and say hello to your new favorite appetizer.

        Sausage Pizza topped with Crispy Kale

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          The easiest fancy pizza you’ll ever make. This dish is as aesthetically pleasing as it is delicious-eating your vegetables never looked so good.

          Kale and Pink Grapefruit Salad

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            This refreshing citrus and kale salad will invigorate your work day. It’s satisfying and simple, and you can make it your own by adding your favorite toppings or pairing it with a side of toast.

            Image Credits: Kale Smoothie, Citrus via Pixabay; Kale Frittata via John Valiant; Kale Dip via Popsugar Photography, Leta Shy; Kale Pizza via Kelli Foster

            Featured photo credit: Kale Varieties via pixabay.com

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            Last Updated on August 12, 2019

            12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

            12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

            Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

            But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

            I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

            Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

            1. Nuts

            The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

            Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

            Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

            Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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            2. Blueberries

            Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

            When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

            3. Tomatoes

            Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

            4. Broccoli

            While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

            Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

            Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

            5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

            Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

            The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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            Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

            6. Soy

            Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

            Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

            Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

            7. Dark Chocolate

            When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

            Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

            8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

            Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

            B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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            Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

            Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

            To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

            9. Foods Rich in Zinc

            Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

            Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

            Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

            10. Gingko Biloba

            This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

            It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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            However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

            11. Green and Black Tea

            Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

            Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

            Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

            12. Sage and Rosemary

            Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

            Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

            When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

            More About Boosting Brain Power

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

            Reference

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