Kale (Brassica oleracea acephala) is a green leafy vegetable that is a member of the cruciferous or cabbage family. In fact, kale is probably the closest relative of wild cabbage in the entire cabbage family. Kale and collards are essentially the same vegetable, only kale has leaves with curly edges and is less tolerant to heat.
Other greens of the cabbage family, such as mustard greens, turnip greens, kohlrabi, and watercress, offer similar beneﬁts as kale and collards and can be used similarly. There are several varieties of kale, known commonly as curly kale, ornamental kale, and dinosaur kale, all of which differ in taste, texture, and appearance. Curly kale has rufﬂed leaves and a ﬁbrous stalk and is usually deep green in color.
It has a lively, pungent ﬂavor with delicious bitter, peppery qualities. Ornamental kale is a more recently cultivated species that is often referred to as salad savoy in the U.S.A. Its leaves may be green, white, or purple, and its stalks coalesce to form a loosely knit head. Ornamental kale has a more mellow ﬂavor and tender texture. Dinosaur kale is the common name of the kale variety known as Lacinato.
It is better known as cavolo nero or Tuscan kale in Europe. It features dark blue- green leaves that have an embossed texture. It has a slightly sweeter and more delicate taste than curly kale.
History of KaleKale
Kale is a descendant of the wild cabbage, a plant thought to have originated in Asia Minor and to have been brought to Europe around 600 B.C.E. Curly kale was a signiﬁcant crop in ancient Rome and a popular vegetable eaten by peasants throughout the middle age. Kale was brought to the United States by English settlers in the 1600’s. Today in the United States, kale and collards are grown primarily on the East Coast from Delaware to Florida.
Nutritional Highlights of Kale
Kale is among the most highly nutritious vegetables It is an excellent source of carotene, Vitamins C and B 6, and manganese. In fad, One cup of kale supplies more than 70 percent of the recommended dietary intake for vitamin C, with only 20 calories. It is also a very good source of dietary ﬁber, as well as many minerals, including copper, iron, and calcium. In addition, it is a very good source of vitamins B 1, B 2, and E.
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Vitamin A (10,302 IU or 206% RDA)
Vitamin A is a retinoid that is essential for optimal function of the immune system, the nervous system, the reproductive system and vision. While it is possible to achieve toxicity from animal-based vitamin A, the body only converts plant-based beta carotene into vitamin A as needed.
Therefore, eating kale may be a safer way to get your vitamin A than through a supplement or animal-based food products. Kale contains 206% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A.
Vitamin K (547 mcg or 684% RDA)
Vitamin K is crucial for helping the blood to clot properly and supporting bone health. It has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and coronary heart disease. Because vitamin K is much less bioavailable from food than from supplements, the fact that there is so much of it in just one cup of kale helps ensure that you are absorbing enough if you eat this vegetable.
Vitamin C (80.4 mg or 134% RDA)
The human body doesn’t naturally make vitamin C on its own, so the vitamin must be acquired from food or supplements. Although many people think of Vitamin C as the nutrient that helps prevent you from getting sick. Vitamin C also helps the body make and use collagen, certain neurotransmitters and protein.
Vitamin B 6 (0.2 mg or 9% RDA)
Vitamin B 6 is necessary for the body to metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Researchers believe that vitamin B 6 may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The vitamin has also been linked with a reduced risk of certain cancers, age-related cognitive decline and even morning sickness during pregnancy. High consumption of vitamin B 6 from food has not been shown to be detrimental to your health. However, consistently taking too much B6 in supplement form can cause neurological problems, skin lesions, photosensitivity and digestive distress.
Calcium (90.5 mg or 9% RDA)
Although you may associate calcium with dairy products, green leafy vegetables, like kale, are a great source of the nutrient. Calcium is the most plentiful mineral in the human body. The majority of the calcium in your body is used to support the structure and function of your bones and teeth. It is also necessary for hormone secretion, cellular communication, muscle function, contraction and dilation of the blood vessels and nerve transmission.
Magnesium (22.8 mg or 6% RDA)
Magnesium is abundant in the human body and helps control biochemical reactions related to protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood pressure management and blood sugar regulation. Magnesium can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. People who eat magnesium-rich diets have a lower risk of diabetes.
Studies show that women can increase their bone density by consuming magnesium, possibly reducing the risk of osteoporosis. People who experience chronic headaches or migraines may be deficient in magnesium. Kale also contains 10% of the RDA of copper, 9% of the RDA of potassium and 3% or more of the RDA of iron, phosphorous and some other B vitamins.
That’s just in one cup. One cup also contains just 33 calories and 6 grams of carbohydrates. If you saute kale, add it to a smoothie or make chips with it, you can easily consume much more than one cup, packing your system with vital nutrients in just one meal or snack.
Kale Contains High Levels of Vitamin K
One cup (67 g) of kale contains over 6 times the RDA for Vitamin K (547 mcg or 684%).
Kale provides you with potassium.
You now know some of the valuable nutrients that kale contains, like calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C. But did you know that kale is also a good source of potassium? 1 cup of chopped kale contains 299 mg of potassium, which is 9% of your daily required amount. Dietary potassium fills many important roles in the maintenance of human health.
You need adequate potassium in order to regular blood pressure, reducing the chances of developing stroke and heart disease, and to prevent bone loss and kidney stones. Nonetheless, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 Advisory Committee found that potassium is a shortfall nutrient. That means that most Americans are not getting enough potassium to support all these functions at the optimum level.
Eating more kale is a great way to help fill this nutritional shortfall and get back on track.
Health Benefits of Kale
Kale has almost three times as much calcium as phosphorus, which is a very beneﬁcial ratio since high phosphorus consumption has been linked to osteoporosis because it reduces the utilization and promotes the excretion of calcium.
As members of the cabbage family, kale and collards exhibit the same sort of anticancer properties as other members. Kale is also extremely high in chlorophyll and carotene, especially beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Kale Has Potent Antioxidants
Kale contains high levels of antioxidants, including the following:
• Vitamin C
What are antioxidants?
They’re compounds that fight oxidative stress in the body. Oxidation is normal within the body. The body needs oxygen to survive, and when the body is at homeostasis, there is a balance of oxidation and antioxidants. However, certain cells react to oxygen by creating free radicals.
Changes in homeostasis can increase the number of free radicals produced in the body. Free radicals are not bound to any other molecule. Therefore, they seek other molecules with which they can combine. When a free radical attaches to another molecule, like a protein cell or DNA, it causes damage.
That damage produces more free radicals, and a chain reaction begins. Biological researchers have been intensely studying oxidative damage in recent years because it is thought to be one of the main causes of many health problems, like diabetes and cancer.
Two of the flavonoids that are abundant in kale, quercetin and kaempferol, have been found to have many health benefits, including:
• Protecting the cardiovascular system
• Lowering blood pressure
• Reducing inflammation
• Fighting viruses
• Improving mood
• Lowering the risk of cancer
Just be aware that cooking kale can lower its antioxidant activity, especially the benefits of vitamin C and polyphenols. To get the most antioxidant benefit from kale, it is recommended to eat it raw or blanch it quickly in boiling water.
Eating Kale Can Help You Manage Your Cholesterol
Cholesterol has been made out to be the enemy, but it is important for several bodily functions. Cholesterol helps synthesize certain acids that aid in the digestion of dietary fats. When you eat something with fat in it, your liver uses up some of the cholesterol in the blood to make bile acids.
Those bile acids help the fat be absorbed through the gut. Then, the bile acids return to the bloodstream. Bile acid sequestrants are compounds that prevent the bile acids from being reabsorbed after they are used for digestion.
Because the digestive system then has less bile available, the liver must synthesize more from cholesterol. This process lowers levels of cholesterol that circulate through the blood. Kale contains bile acid sequestrants and is one of the most effective vegetables for binding bile acids.
Kale was found to bind about 25% of the bile acids that Cholestyramine, a bile-acid-sequestering medication did. This is promising for the use of kale in general management of cholesterol. One study showed that people who drank kale juice for 12 weeks saw a 27% increase in HDL, the “good” cholesterol. The participants LDL levels also decreased by 10%.
Although we mentioned that cooking kale can reduce its antioxidant effects, steaming the vegetable can improve its ability to bind bile acids. In one study, researchers found that steaming kale makes it 43% as effective as Cholestyramine in lowering cholesterol.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a handful of kale could work just as well, if not better. One cup of raw kale contains about 80 mg of vitamin C. This is 8 times the amount of vitamin C found in a cup of raw spinach. One cup of orange segments contains only slightly more vitamin C than kale, about 95 mg. That apple that supposedly keeps you healthy only contains about 6 mg of vitamin C.
While you may associate vitamin C with helping ward off the common cold, studies show that it is only marginal beneficial when it comes to preventing viruses. However, because vitamin C is such a potent antioxidant, it can help lower the risk of other diseases, including:
• Autoimmune disease
• Cardiovascular disease
• Some cancers
• Vitamin C also helps the body produce collagen, a structural protein that helps maintain healthy skin.
As you age, you lose collagen, causing wrinkles and sagging skin.
Kale Can Lower Your Risk of Cancer
Cancer is characterized by the overgrowth of certain cells. Many of the substances in kale are linked with a lowered risk of cancer. We have discussed the benefits of the antioxidants in kale that help to restore DNA damage that can lead to cancer. Many studies have investigated the role of Brassica vegetables, like kale, in protecting against cancer.
One of the substances in kale-family vegetables is sulforaphane, a protective enzyme that has been found to have anticarcinogenic effects. Sulforaphane can also help protect healthy cells from the toxic effects of anti-cancer drugs. The indole-3-carbinol in kale has also been shown to have anti-cancer effects.
Research has found that people who eat cruciferous vegetables, such as kale and broccoli, may have a lower risk of cancer. However, the evidence is inconsistent.
Kale May Lower Your Risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease
Kale contains many minerals that some people are deficient in. The magnesium in kale has been shown to protect against type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The potassium in kale has also been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease as well as a reduction in hypertension.
Some researchers have hypothesized that calcium, which is plentiful in kale, may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol and the ability of the body to absorb fat. However, studies have found inconsistent evidence linking calcium to improved heart health. Researchers have raised concerns that taking too much calcium in supplement form could actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
For this reason, consuming calcium through foods may be safer than taking it as a supplement. Oxalate may prevent minerals from being absorbed. Kale is low in oxalate compared to other leafy greens.
Kale May Aid in Weight Loss
Understand which foods can fuel you without adding large amounts of calories. The fiber and water content in kale can make you feel full even though it only has 33 calories per cup. Kale also contains 2 gram of protein per cup.
If you saute the kale down, you could easily consume 4 to 5 cups at once. This could deliver 10 grams of protein and 35 grams of complex fibrous carbohydrates, which help you feel full. Romaine lettuce, which is often consumed during weight-loss efforts, only contains 1 gram of protein and 2 grams of complex fibrous carbohydrates in one cup.
While it’s low in calories, it’s not likely to help you feel as satisfied as kale. Kale is considered to be a food with low energy density. Studies show that low-energy-density foods can help you lose weight.
Kale is Good For Your Eyes
The antioxidants and beta-carotene in kale are good for eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are vitamin A-based antioxidants that are abundant in kale. Research shows that these antioxidants are liked with a decreased risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, two eye problems that may occur as you age.
Kale can help detoxify your body.
As we go about our everyday lives, we are exposed to toxins in our environments as well as the products we use and consume. We can benefit from routinely cleansing our bodies of these toxins to restore balance and health. One way you can do this is simply by eating more kale.
Kale contains special compounds made from glucosinolates called “isothiocyanates,” or “ITCs.” These compounds have powerful detoxification properties. You already know that kale contains antioxidants that can combat radicals in the body.
Now you know a second way in which kale helps to protect your body. First, the antioxidants destroy the dangerous toxins. Then the ITCs help to flush them out of your body. Additionally, ITCs help to slow the growth of tumor cells and stimulate their destruction. This contributes to kale’s cancer-fighting properties.
Kale has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
While inflammation does play an important role in bodily health, when the fires burn out of control, they can cause pain, discomfort, and chronic health issues Chronic inflammation is a condition which is associated with many diseases in the body, a few examples being arthritis, IBD, and ulcerative colitis. Inflammation can also be an acute problem associated with injury or illness.
One way to combat the damage caused by excessive inflammation and to help mitigate the symptoms and progression of inflammatory diseases is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Kale has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can be a key component in such a diet. Part of the reason for this is that kale has an ideal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-6 fatty acids worsen inflammation while omega-3 fatty acids curb inflammation. As the research above reports, western diets are out of balance. Most of us are eating too many foods which are rich in omega-6 fatty acids and are not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in our diets.
By eating more kale and fewer processed foods which contain high amounts of omega-6, you are helping to balance out your fatty acid intake. The result is a diet which is less inflammatory. If you can make your ratio ideal across the board by eating other healthy foods like kale, you might even achieve an anti-inflammatory diet.
This diet will help to stave off the fires of inflammation now and over the years to come. This in turn will help to ensure your health now and in the future.
Kale is rich in folate.
When you hear the word “folate,” you may immediately think about pregnancy. This is because doctors advise pregnant women to increase their folate intake so as to prevent birth defects and promote proper brain development in infants. The safety and toxicity of synthetic folic acid supplements are however still under review.
Folic acid supplementation has been potentially linked to a number of health risks and conditions including epilepsy, concentration issues, insomnia, mood swings, vitamin B12 deficiency, and zinc absorption issues. This does not necessarily mean that folic acid supplementation is the wrong option for everyone, but it does mean that turning to natural sources where possible is wise. Kale contains high concentration of folate. 1 cup of chopped kale gives you 5% of your daily recommended value.
So if you are pregnant or need to increase your folate intake for other health reasons, adding more kale to your diet is a safe, effective and delicious way to do it.
Eating kale regularly can help protect your brain health.
With diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia on the increase with no known cure, it is more important than ever to take steps to protect brain health. When it comes to doing that, kale is one of the best things you can eat. It contains 45 or more flavonoids, which can reduce your risk of getting a stroke.
You also now know that kale has a high omega-3 fatty acid content. Not only are omega-3 fatty acids powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, but they also are vital for brain health, improving and protecting memory, function, and performance. Kale’s antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory effects, and may boost cognitive function following traumatic brain injury.
Consuming kale is good for fortifying your bones.
Kale is rich in calcium. One cup of chopped kale contains 90.5 mg of calcium, accounting for 9% of your daily required value.
Bones which are deficient in calcium have a low bone mass, which means that they are prone to fractures as well as health problems like osteoporosis. You also now know that kale contains a very high amount of vitamin K.
Insufficient vitamin K intake also has been linked to an increased risk of fractures. Vitamin K also can help to boost your body’s absorption of calcium while reducing urinary excretion of the same. Indeed according to the source just linked, you can get about the same amount of absorbable calcium from a cup of cooked kale as you can from a cup of cow’s milk. So kale helps to protect bone health through the combined action of vitamin K and calcium.
Kale can protect your DNA.
As you now know, kale contains high levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C can help to prevent IMA-induced DNA damage. This may have to do with increased concentrations of hepatic lutein. Researchers still do not fully understand the mechanism through which kale provides DNA protection, but the relationship does appear to be established.
Improve the appearance and health of your hair and skin.
If you have been looking for a nutritious food that can nourish your hair and skin, kale is a great choice. Kale contains a carotenoid called beta-carotene. Your body converts this carotenoid into vitamin A. Vitamin A (retinol) can help to reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles in the skin, reducing the visible signs of aging.
Retinol also may be useful in promoting hair growth. Kale contains an ample helping of manganese.
Manganese does not get a lot of attention when it comes to minerals, but it is an important trace mineral which we all need to stay healthy. Manganese is used to manufacture connective tissue, bones, sex hormones, and blood clotting factors. It also helps to regulate your metabolism, including calcium absorption. It plays a role in nerve and brain function.
Kale is especially rich in manganese, containing 0.5 mg per cup. That equates to 26% of your recommended daily value.
Kale can help to fight depression.
The omega-3 fatty acids contained in kale have been used successfully to treat symptoms of depression. Many medications for depression have negative side effects both over the short-term and the long-term. Omega-3 fatty acids on the other hand are well-tolerated, and produce many positive health effects. This may make dietary changes such as eating more kale a good approach to treating depression, whether as a standalone method or as a supplementary therapy.
How to Select and Store Kale
High-quality kale and collards, as well as other “greens,” are fresh, tender, and dark green. Avoid greens that show dry or yellowing leaves, evidence of insect injury, or decay. Smaller-sized leaves are not only easier to handle, they will be more tender and have a milder ﬂavor than those with larger leaves. Kale is available throughout the year, although it is more wide available, and at its peak, from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring.
Kale should be stored in the refrigerator crisper wrapped in a damp Paper towel or placed in a perforated plastic bag. Do not Wash before storing, as this will cause it to become limp. Kale can be kept in the refrigerator for several days, although it is best when eaten within one to two days after purchase since the longer it is stored, the bitterer its ﬂavor will become Cooked kale will keep for two days refrigerated.
Tips For Preparing Kale
Wash kale leaves thoroughly under cool running water to remove any sand or dirt that may remain in the leaves. If not organically grown, soak them in a mild solution of additive-free soap or use a produce wash, rinse thoroughly, and dry with paper towels or a salad spinner. Both the leaves and the stem of kale can be eaten; simply cut the leaves and stem into the shape and size you desire.
If your recipe calls for the leaves only, take a leaf in hand and fold it in half lengthwise, then hold the remaining folded leaves near the base where they meet the stem and gently pull on the stem of the single leaf you’re holding. You can also use a knife to separate the leaves from the stem.
While people are accustomed to eating kale only when it is cooked, this leafy green vegetable has a strong but delightful taste when eaten raw. Cut into small pieces, it adds a spark, both ﬂavor-wise and nutritionally, to vegetable or grain salads.
Kale leaves make an excellent addition to fresh vegetable juices, too. Typically one third of the volume of the juice should be composed of kale, as it can be quite strong. Usually the leaves can be fed into the juicer intact, but large leaves may need to be cut.
Quick Serving Ideas for Kale
- Perk up your dinner salad by using chopped kale as a salad green.
- Lightly saute kale with fresh garlic and sprinkle it with lemon juice before serving.
- Braise chopped kale and apples, then sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and chopped walnuts just before serving.
- Combine chopped kale, pine nuts, and feta cheese with whole-grain pasta drizzled with olive oil.
- The taste and texture of steamed kale make it a wonderful topping for homemade pizzas.
- Put cooked kale and potatoes together and season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and cumin for a delicious soup. Add vegetable stock if needed.
Simple Kale Recipes
Now that you know all about kale, you probably are wondering how you can introduce more of this leafy green vegetable into your diet. Here are a few quick and easy kale recipes for beginners!
1. Garlic Kale
Here is a delicious kale recipe which makes a great side dish to accompany any meal. Only three ingredients are needed!
• 1 bunch of kale
• 1 tsp minced garlic
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• Chop up your kale into pieces that measure approximately an inch.
• Put a skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil.
• Stir the garlic in and wait for it to sizzle (takes about 1 minute).
• Add the kale and cover it.
• Cook for the next 5-7 minutes. Now and again, remove the lid and stir the kale so that it cooks evenly. When it is bright green in color, it is done. It should be just slightly tender.
Even though this recipe is simple, it is delicious, and will make kale the next sensation at your dinner table!
Kale Juice Health Benefits
Kale is one of those foods that you either love or hate. Sadly, most people fall toward the “hate” side of things, thanks to the strong, bitter flavor of the leafy green.
But did you know that the nutrients that give it the strong, bitter flavor are what make it one of the healthiest of the greens? If you’re going to add anything to your juices, you’ll find that kale is the BEST of all. It has a lot more nutrients than even spinach, chard, and broccoli, and it’s loaded with nutrients that offer A LOT of health benefits.
1. Rich in Iron
Iron is one of the most important nutrients for your body. Without iron, your body cannot produce red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for not only transporting the food you eat, but also the oxygen you breathe. A lack of red blood cells leads to anemia, which causes both fatigue and malnutrition.
Thankfully, kale juice is loaded with iron. It contains more iron per calorie than you get from even beef, so you can get a lot of iron from drinking kale juice. Another of the kale juice benefits is that iron helps to detoxify your liver!
2. High Doses of Vitamin K
Most people know about Vitamis A, C, and E, but they tend to forget about Vitamin K. Vitamin K is needed in order for you blood to coagulate, meaning it helps to stop bleeding from wounds. It is also necessary for healthy bones and body tissues, making it one of the most important vitamins for your health. It can also help deal with Alzheimer’s disease. Kale is an excellent source of Vitamin K, so it’s worth adding into your juices in order to benefit your entire body!
Note: Everything in moderation! Too much Vitamin K can be harmful for those who are taking anticoagulants. If you’re taking medications, it’s best to check with your doctor before adding a lot of kale juice to your diet.
3. Low in Calories
Did you know that an entire cup of kale juice contains just 36 calories? One of the best kale juice benefits is the fact that it’s very low in calories, so you can pretty much drink as much as you want without worrying about overdoing it.
Another great thing about kale juice is that it’s usually loaded with fiber. While many people run their kale leaves through the juicer, those who blend the leaves get the soluble and insoluble fiber that makes kale such a healthy option.
4. Get More Antioxidants
Kale contains antioxidants like carotenoids, which are essentially a form of Vitamin A that benefit both your eyes and your skin. Flavonoids are also found, and one of the best kale juice benefits is the high dose of antioxidants in the leafy green. Not only will these antioxidants help to get rid of the toxins in your body, but they can protect against cancer, inflammation, heart disease, and many more disease.
5. Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is the both the cause and the symptom of many health conditions. For example, chronic pain is usually caused by swelling, such as rheumatoid arthritis attacking the joints. For those with autoimmune disorders, inflammation in the body is a sign that the immune system is attacking important tissues and cells. Thankfully, kale juice can help to reduce swelling. Kale contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to prevent inflammation caused by arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and even asthma!
6. Boost Heart Health
One of the great things about kale juice is that it’s EXCELLENT for your heart–probably the most important organ in your body!
The antioxidants in kale will protect your heart against wear and tear, reducing the strain that is placed on it by your daily activity. The vitamins in the leafy greens will help to lower your blood pressure, strengthen your heart muscle, and dilate your blood vessels in order to improve circulation. If you drink kale juice with the healthy fiber in it, the fiber will help to lower your blood cholesterol levels. All in all, kale is one of the heart-smartest vegetables around.
7. Detoxify Your Body
Most people drink kale as a detox drink, and the truth is that it’s one of the most effective of the detoxifying foods on the planet. One of the things that makes it so useful for detoxing is the natural fiber found in the leaves. Fiber bonds with the toxins floating around your body, preventing them from being absorbed and sending them out the waste chute into Toilet Town. As long as you drop a few kale leaves into the blender when making your kale juice, you get all the fiber you need.
Kale also contains sulfur, a very sticky mineral. When sulfur molecules come in contact with toxins and free radicals, it tends to stick to these toxins. The combination of sulfur and toxins is much easier for your body to get rid of, effectively detoxifying your body.
8. Improve Immunity
Did you know that free radicals and toxins slow down your immune system? Your immune system is forced to deal with these problems before they can ever deal with the bacteria and pathogens invading via your skin, your food, and your respiratory system. By detoxifying your body with kale, you free up your immune system to focus on the invaders seeking to do your body harm.
Kale is also very rich in Vitamin C, the antioxidant that increases your body’s ability to fight off invaders. If you want to give your immune system a boost, the Vitamin C in kale is the way to go.
9. Fight Cancer
Remember the sulfur in kale? The organosulfur compounds in kale have proven to be effective at fighting cancer, particularly cancer in your colon. Not only will the high fiber content of the kale flush all the toxins and wastes from your intestines, but it will help to prevent the formation of carcinogens in your intestinal tract.
Considering that colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the country , it stands to reason that eating more kale is the smart way to go!
10. Improve Eye Health
They say that carrots are the healthiest foods for your eyes, but kale is almost as good! Kale is loaded with many of the same carotenoids contained in carrots. Carotenoids are basically nutrients your body can use to produce Vitamin A, the most important vitamin for the health of your eyes. The Vitamin A in kale will help to prevent the degeneration of your eye cells, and will ensure that they continue working for years to come!
Kale contains two very powerful carotenoids–called lutein and zeaxanthin–which prevent damage to your eyes caused by the UV radiation from the sun. It’s almost like wearing kale sunglasses!
Wow! Who knew that this leafy green was so rich in nutrients, or provided such a wide range of health benefits?
- 1 1/2 pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 10 min
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar.
Negative Effects of Kales
May Cause Dry Mouth and Dehydration
Kale is diuretic in nature which means it increases the frequency of urination in our body and allows our body to get rid of toxins and other impurities from our system in an efficient way. However, it should be noted that along with the toxins, our body loses a plenty of water during the urination. Losing too much water from our system can increases the risk of dehydration and dry mouth.
Some other symptoms of dehydration are rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, sunken eyes, dry skin, drowsiness etc. Water plays a major role in keeping us healthy as it is required by our vital organs like liver, kidneys, brain etc. for proper functioning.
Importance of water for our body can easily be understood by the fact that our body is made up of about 70 percent water, and our vital organs like lungs, kidneys, and brain etc. are also made up of 83 percent, 79 percent, and 71 percent water respectively. Water is there in our bones too. For this reason, it is advisable to include diuretic foods like kale, asparagus etc. in moderation.
Too Much Dietary Fiber Is Bad For Stomach
Eating kale on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very beneficial for our stomach and helps in keeping our digestive system healthy.
This benefit of kale is due to the presence of dietary fibers in them. The dietary fibers present in kale acts as a natural laxative, improves bowel movement and ensures smooth elimination of stool from our system. This provides relief from constipation and also provides relief from other digestive problems like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, flatulence etc.
Dietary fibers are also good for regulating cholesterol, promoting weight loss and for regulating sugar. Although dietary fibers provide a number of benefits, it is advisable to limit the intake of dietary fibers in our body. This is because eating too many dietary fibers can give rise to problems like poor absorption of nutrients or malabsorption, indigestion, intestinal gas, intestinal bloating etc.
If you are taking dietary fibers in excess and not drinking enough water then it can also lead to dehydration and may even increase the risk of constipation.
May Develop Allergic Reactions in Some Individuals
Kale is a good source of various nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, phytochemicals etc. that provides a number of health and beauty benefits. Although kale is good for us, not every one of us can enjoy its benefits.
This is because it has been found that some individuals might be allergic to kale and may develop allergic symptoms like swollen eyes, itching in eyes, runny nose, itching throat, skin rashes, nausea, dizziness etc. on consuming kale.
For this reason, individuals allergic to kale are advised to avoid kale in their diet. It has also been found that individuals who are allergic to other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus etc. then you are highly likely to be allergic to kale.
Not So Good For Pregnant and Nursing Women
Kale is a wonderful source of many nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, dietary fibers etc. and presence of these compounds make them very beneficial to be eaten during the pregnancy and nursing period.
The antioxidants present in kale protects the vital organs of the mother, and as well as the baby growing in her from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals. Folate or folic acid present in kale aids in brain development and reduces the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida. Other nutrients like zinc, iron, selenium, calcium, magnesium etc. also plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Although kale is a good food to be eaten during pregnancy, it is advisable to eat them in moderation and that too after consulting with a doctor. Nursing mothers should also keep an eye on their kale intake as too many dietary fibers can cause stomach discomfort in the infants and may give rise to problems like abdominal pain, bloating, intestinal gas etc. in the infants.
Pregnancy is an important stage in every woman’s life and what she eats and drinks not only determines her health, but also the health and wellness of the fetus developing in her womb. During the pregnancy stage, avoiding bad food ( or food that can be bad when consumed too much) is as important as eating healthy food. For this reason, it is advisable to eat kale in moderation, especially when you are going through pregnancy and nursing stage.
Too Many Antioxidants Are Bad For Our Health
Eating kale on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very beneficial for reducing the risk of several types of cancers like colon cancer, skin cancer, abdominal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer etc. This benefit of kale is due to the presence of many antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K and as well as other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols etc. in them.
These antioxidants fight with the free radicals in our body, stabilizes them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells and tissues, and thus reduces the risk of various cancers. Antioxidants also provide a number of other benefits like aids in the elimination of toxins from our system, improves cardiovascular health, strengthens immunity, improves cognitive functions etc.
Although antioxidants present in the kale are great for our system and provides a number of benefits, it is advisable to eat kale in moderation. This is because over intake of antioxidants for a long period of time is bad for us.
As per a study published by the Journal of the Cancer Institute, it was found that smokers who took beta-carotene supplements in excessive quantity were more likely to develop lung cancer in comparison to the smokers who didn’t. As per another study conducted by the Office of The Dietary Supplements, it was observed that too much vitamin E in our system can increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
This side effect of antioxidant is because of the fact that in excessive quantity, antioxidants not only target the cancer cells but also targets the healthy cells around them, and in this way it causes oxidative damage to our cells and tissues, and thus increases the risk of various cancers.
May Increase the Risk of Hypoglycemia
Consuming kale on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very beneficial for the diabetic patients or those who are at the risk of developing diabetes. This benefit of kale is because of the low glycemic index of kale. Glycemic index of kale is 15 which is considered as low. A low glycemic index means kale releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slow rate, prevents a sudden spike in the blood sugar level and thus helps in managing diabetes.
In addition to this, the dietary fibers present in the kale also plays a significant role in managing diabetes. It reduces the rate at which sugar gets absorbed into the bloodstream and thus helps in regulating blood sugar and aids in managing diabetes.
Although kale is beneficial for the diabetic patients, it is advisable to eat them in moderation. This is because eating too much kale can decrease our blood sugar to a very low level giving rise to hypoglycemic. Hypoglycemic is a condition in which
Additionally, if you are a diabetic patient and already taking medication for the same, then eating too much kale can interfere with the medication and may worsen the situation.
May Cause Hypotension
Regular and moderate consumption of kale has been found to be very beneficial for providing relief from hypertension or high blood pressure which is a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, irregular heartbeat etc.
This benefit of kale is due to the presence of vital mineral “Potassium” in it. Potassium is a natural vasodilator which relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation and thus helps in controlling blood pressure and provides relief from high blood pressure or hypertension.
Although kale is very beneficial for providing relief from hypertension, it is advisable to eat them in moderation. This is because the high level of potassium in our system can lower our blood pressure to a very low level giving rise to hypotension. Hypotension is a condition in which our blood pressure drops to a very low level giving rise to symptoms like fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, clammy skin, depression, blurry vision etc.
Additionally, if you have hypertension and already taking medication for the same then it is better for you to eat kale in limited quantity as too much potassium can interfere with the medication.
Members of the cabbage family contain goitrogens, naturally occurring substances that can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Dietary goitrogens are usually of no clinical importance unless they are consumed in large amounts or there is coexisting iodine deﬁciency.
Cooking helps to inactivate the goitroenic compounds. Individuals with already existing and untreated thyroid problems may want to avoid consumption of cabbage-family vegetables in their raw form for this reason Kale also contains signiﬁcant amount of oxalate. Individuals with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid over consuming kale and other oxalate-containing greens.
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