Kale is quickly becoming one of the most highly sought after cruciferous vegetables available. This leafy green took a backseat to others like lettuce and spinach for years. However, kale has recently received attention for its vast array of health benefits. Specifically, many believe kale plays a role in preventing the development of cancer. If you are unfamiliar with kale or you have yet to add it to your diet, read on to learn more about the many essential benefits kale offers.
Kale is a Great Diet Food
If you are trying to lose weight or you want to maintain your weight and enjoy as much variety in your diet as possible, kale is a great option. It is low in calories and high in fiber. It contains only 36 calories per cup, each of which is packed with five grams of fiber. Kale also contains no saturated fat. The fiber content promotes healthy digestion and for such a low calorie food, kale is dense with vitamins and nutrients, including magnesium and folate.
Kale is also high in iron. As a matter of fact, kale has more iron per calorie than beef. Kale is rich in vitamins A and C, and contains a great deal of calcium. Vitamin A promotes healthy vision and is thought to prevent lung and oral cancer. Vitamin C is one of the worlds best immunity boosters and helps your metabolism further enhancing kales weight loss benefits. Finally, the calcium content in kale is more than milk and helps prevent osteoporosis.
If your goal is to cut calories without sacrificing any of the nutrition your body needs, kale is one of the most valuable foods to include in your diet.
Kale is Considered One of the Best Cancer Prevention Foods Available
Kale has recently received a great deal of attention for its ability to aid in the prevention of cancer. This is due in part to it being a generally healthy food. When you eat foods that are filled with vitamins and minerals, contain no saturated fat, and are whole and natural, you improve your overall health. Generally healthy diets provide your body what it needs to protect itself and research suggests this can also aid in reducing cancer risk.
However, kale is so much more than a generally healthy food. It is actually one of the healthiest options available. It offers all of the benefits of other fresh vegetables and leafy greens, but some even consider it tops among these healthy choices.
Kale is packed with antioxidants, which have shown promise in protecting the body against the free radicals thought to trigger unhealthy cell development. Kale contains two of the most powerful antioxidants, flavonoids and carotenoids, known for their ability to prevent oxidative stress in the body. There are 45 total flavonoids in kale, but studies have shown quercitin and kaempferol specifically target the formation of cancer cells.
Kale also provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Some medical experts believe inflammation in the body could be a precursor to cancer. A single cup of kale contains 10% of a persons recommended daily allowance of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to promoting heart health, omega-3s also fight asthma, arthritis, and various autoimmune disorders. The vitamin K content in kale gives it an additional boost of anti-inflammatory benefits.
Kale is a Great Heart Healthy Food
Remember the omega-3 content mentioned in the previous section? It is also beneficial for heart health. Additionally, kales fiber content is beneficial for lowering bad cholesterol levels. It binds with the digestive acids that process fat. Ultimately, the binding process results in lowering cholesterol levels in the body.
Kales cholesterol lowering benefits are enhanced when it is cooked. Raw kale is still beneficial, but the fiber in steamed kale is better able to bind with the acids in your body as it moves through the digestive tract.
The fiber content in kale also benefits the overall health of the digestive system. Eating kale helps prevent constipation. Additionally, this leafy green contains properties that prevent bacterial growth in the stomach lining. Some medical experts believe these bacteria play a role in the development of gastric cancer.
Kale is an Excellent Detox Food
Whether you are planning a dietary cleanse or you simply want to keep your diet as clean as possible on a regular basis, kale is a great addition. Its fiber content is useful for helping the digestive system work efficiently. It contains isothiocyanates that come from glucosinolates, which are known for aiding in both phases one and two of the detoxification process. Kale also contains sulfur, which is essential in the second phase of the bodys detoxification process.
Glucosinolates are also one of the biggest reasons kale is considered an anti-cancer food. Glucosinolates have proven to be effective in preventing several types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, bladder, reproductive, and gastric cancers.
Kale is Packed with Vitamins that Do More than Help in Cancer Prevention
Obviously the cancer fighting benefits from the vitamins in kale are impressive and enough to make the veggie an important part of your diet. However, those vitamins offer benefits in addition to aiding in the prevention of cancer.
Kale contains nearly 200% of ones daily recommended allowance of vitamin A. This helps boost immunity, prevents urinary stones, promotes healthy teeth and bones, and is essential to the health of reproductive organs.
A cup of kale features about 88% of our recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. This promotes a healthy immune system, helps lower blood pressure, and fights against various vision health issues, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Finally, kale is packed with Vitamin K. A cup of kale features more than 1300% of a persons recommended daily allowance. This vitamin is necessary in the synthesis of sphingolid, which is a fat that helps maintain the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves in our body. Vitamin K is also essential for the bodys synthesis of osteocalcin. This is a protein that keeps our tissues strong and helps prevent stroke and cardiovascular disease.
If you have decided to improve the health of your diet or you want to use food to manage specific health conditions, kale is a must to have in your kitchen. Whether you are steaming it for a healthy side dish, chopping it to add to a salad, or baking the leaves to create crispy kale chips, you will want to make sure this health powerhouse is a part of your diet.