Health Benefits of Kale: Green smoothies, superfood shakes and vegetable juices seem to be taking the world by storm off late. What happens to be the common denominator in each of these green superfood concoctions is kale. These wonder green curbs unhealthy cravings, boosts immunity and is also a speedy way to cash in on some nutrition. Kale is rich in Vitamins K, A and C, and its health benefits include heart support, cancer prevention and detoxification to name a few.
Best 10 Health Benefits of Kale
1. As an Agent of Anti-Inflammation
This perfect food contains the ideal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, making it a powerful anti inflammatory agent. Rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and crohn’s are caused by excessively omega-6 rich processed foods, that have been linked to every disease known to man to this day. But kale, on the other hand, promotes pro inflammatory omega-6 and anti inflammatory omega-3 balance in a 1:1 ratio. The presence of higher levels of omega-3 reduces the effects of omega-6 rich processed food.
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One of the top health benefits of kale is that it can be used to detoxify, removing and eliminating toxins from your body due to the presence of a component known as isothiocyanates which is made of glucosinolates. Toxins from the environment such as pollutants, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals increase the toxic levels in the body, thereby increasing the chances of disease. The compounds mentioned above detox your body at a cellular level, whereby the antioxidants destroy the toxins and glucosinolates eliminates them off your body.
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3. As a Source of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is important for healthy growth of cells as well as to synthesize collage, which is the most abundant structural protein in the body. When compared to other vegetables, kale has a higher content of Vitamin C, almost 4.5 times more than spinach. A single cup of kale contains Vitamin C that is equivalent to that of an entire orange. Tap in on the world’s best source of Vitamin C by incorporating this superfood into your everyday diet.
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4. Cancer Prevention
Cruciferous vegetables in general have cancer fighting components and it’s no surprise that kale does too. The reason behind their immaculate cancer curbing powers is due to the presence of high levels of glucosinolates which are sulfur containing compounds. These compounds break down into biologically active compounds during the chewing and digestion processes which helps to prevent cancer cells from growing in the following ways:
- By inactivating carcinogens.
- By inhibiting tumor blood vessel formation.
- By protecting cells from DNA damage.
- By inducing apoptosis (Cell death).
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5. Helps to Lower Cholesterol
Another health benefit of kale is that it helps to lower cholesterol. Cholesterol has many roles to play in the body, one of which happens to be the production of bile acids for digestion of fats. The liver is responsible for conversion of cholesterol into bile acids which are then released into the digestive system whenever a fatty meal is consumed. Once the fat has been absorbed and the bile acids have served their purpose, they will be reabsorbed into the bloodstream and used again. But bile acid sequestrants bind bile acids in the digestive system, preventing them from being reabsorbed. This in return reduces the total amount of cholesterol in the body. Kale contains bile acid sequestrants which lower cholesterol levels in turn reducing the risk of heart disease.
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6. Brain Development in Infants
One of the key health benefit of kale is its ability to aid in infant brain development while it’s still in the womb. This is because it is a valuable source of folate. Consuming this superfood regularly promotes:
1. Development of the heart and face.
2. Healthy neural tube formation.
3. Adequate birth weight.
Natural sources of folic acid are the best, though most doctors prescribe folic acid supplementation which has been linked to epilepsy, lack of focus, trouble with sleep and Vitamin B12 deficiency.
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7. As a Source of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is an important nutrient which is critical for the clotting of blood. Also, proteins are activated by this vitamin which gives them the ability to bind calcium. A single cup of raw kale can provide you with 7 times the daily recommended intake of Vitamin K. Consuming vitamin K also prevents heart disease and osteoporosis.
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8. Healthy Vision
An amazing health benefit of kale is that it improves your eyesight. Two nutrients are responsible for this: Lutein and Zeaxanthin, both give kale its rich dark green color, which in turn prevents cataracts and macular degeneration. They serve as antioxidants in the eye by filtering out high energy wavelengths of light. Also this indomitable duo helps to protect and maintain healthy eyesight overall. So if you find yourself suffering from poor foggy vision, you know what to pile up on your plate!
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9. As an Antioxidant
Kale is an antioxidant food complementing its anti inflammatory potency. Our bodies are exposed to free radical molecules on daily basis through the polluted air we inhale, the toxins in our food and the chemicals present in our water. This causes oxidative stress which triggers cell damage. This in turn contributes to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s as well. Being particularly high in Vitamin C and beta carotene, this super food helps to counteract damage caused by free radicals.
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10. Helps in Weight Loss
The many benefits of kale seem to have yet another counterpart as a weight loss friendly food. It is very low in calories but provides you with enough bulk to help you feel full longer. The low calorie and high water content present in this superfood gives it a low energy density. Foods less in energy density levels aid in the weight loss process. Low in calories and high in protein and fiber, kale is the one stop destination for all your weight loss woes.
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Make the most of the nutritional powerhouse, kale. The beneficial compounds, most of which are medicinal should not be skipped out on at any cost.