Once upon a time, kale was referred to as a food for poor people. However, much like other ‘peasant food’ such as chia and quinoa, kale has become immensely popular in recent years. This is mostly due to the fact that the Western world has discovered the incredible health benefits that it has. In fact, these days, it is better known as the new King of Vegetables. But what is it about kale that is so beneficial and why should it be an essential part of your diet?
1. Rich in Vitamin C
In addition to promoting overall health, Vitamin C is also great for your hair. It helps to stimulate the production of sebum in your follicles, which is a natural conditioner and moisturizer. It also helps to fight hair loss by eradicating free radicals. One cup of kale contains 134% of your daily Vitamin C requirements.
2. It Plays Well With Others
Many of kale’s most healthy compounds are more effective once its combined with other food. For example, pairing it with good fats such as olive oil or avocado, make its fat-soluble carotenoids more readily available to your body. Or for an acidic twist, mix it with lemon to release for iron.
3. Protects Your Eyes
Kale is rich in Vitamin A, which assists your retinas in absorbing light and therefore helps them to maintain proper vision. Vitamin A also has cancer prevention properties that can stop cataracts later in life. In addition, kale contains lutein and zeaxanthin – carotenoids which protect your eyes from excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, just like sunglasses.
4. Good for Brain Health
Kale contains alpa-linoleic acid (ALA), which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid. It’s important because it assists in the proper function and general well being of your brain. But It doesn’t stop there. ALA is also an anti-inflammatory and can help to fight diabetes, arthritis, obesity and depression.
5. High in Calcium
Incredibly, kale has a higher calcium content than milk. 100g of kale contains 150g of calcium, whereas milk only contains 125mg. This is particularly good news for those of you out there who are lactose intolerant. Its high calcium (and Vitamin K) content means that it can help you maintain healthy and strong bones. As such, it’s also a preventative for osteoporosis, including the strain that can develop during pregnancy.
6. Good For Your Skin
Kale is packed full of antioxidants, which are essential for maintaining skin health. They help your skin to feel fantastic and look younger. More importantly, antioxidants can assist in fighting diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s by helping to main low levels of free radicals within your system.
7. Assists Your Digestion
Kale is high in fiber, which makes it incredible beneficial for your digestive system. As a result, it can also be be a natural remedy for constipation.
8. High in Iron
Your body needs iron for energy (as well as maintaining ordinary functions), and kale can help you feel energized throughout the day. This is particularly beneficial in the late afternoon when your coffee has worn off.
9. Creates a Healthy Immune System
Kale can help stave off colds and other nasties by keeping your immune system healthy. This is because it contains sulforaphane; a molecule that helps to nourish and maintain the immune system.
10. Cancer Prevention
The organosulfur compounds within kale are known to help to prevent cancer, particularly within the colon. The aforementioned Vitamin K also helps with cancer prevention. One cup contains a staggering 684% of your daily required intake of Vitamin K.
11. Healthy Heart
Fiber isn’t just good for digestion. The fiber found within kale lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure and can therefore help to prevent heart disease.