Kale is a member of the cruciferous family (Brassicaceae), as are cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Kale grows well in the colder winter months and makes a good addition when other fruits and vegetables are less readily available.
This firm and crunchy green winter vegetable has a lot of fiber on board. Kale can be raw, steamed, stewed, boiled, baked or added to salads, smoothies, sandwiches, wraps, soups and stews. The vegetable contains antioxidants, calcium, fiber and vitamin K.
The nutrients in kale promote well-being and prevent a range of health problems. Kale, for example, is good for the skin, hair, bones and heart.
Kale is a green vegetable that is rich in nutrients and fiber. Kale contains very little fat, but much of the fat contains the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. Because kale has very few calories, the vegetable is one of the most nutritious foods available. Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total amount of nutrients in the diet.
- Antioxidants : Kale has many powerful antioxidants on board, such as quercetin and kaempferol.
- beta carotene : Beta carotene is an antioxidant that the body converts into vitamin A. Immune function, vision and reproductive function rely on the presence of sufficient vitamin A in the body.
- lutein and zeaxanthin : These nutrients reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and age-related cataracts.
- Vitamin C : Kale is also extremely rich in vitamin C (more than oranges). This ensures the construction and maintenance of collagen.
- Vitamin K : Vitamin K helps blood to clot. In the event of a deficiency, various health problems such as stroke , osteoporosis , muscle atrophy (loss of muscle mass) and kidney stones are also less likely to arise when people do not take enough potassium.
Types of kale
Various types of kale are known. These all have slightly different nutritional profiles. Typically, younger leaves and summer leaves are less bitter and stringy.
Palm cabbage (Lacinato kale) is a dark blue variety with a flaky texture that is firmer, more robust and less bitter than regular kale. The leaves are longer and flat and keep the same texture after cooking. For making kale chips, palm cabbage is an ideal vegetable.
Red kale (Red Curly Kale) usually has a purple color. This type of kale has tight, ruffled leaves that are easy to tear.
Red Russian Kale
Red Russian kale has flat leaves that are somewhat reminiscent of oak leaves. The color of the stems are light purple in color while the leaves are colored red. The stems contain a lot of fiber and are usually not edible, because they are difficult to chew and then swallow. The sweet and more delicate leaves of red Russian kale go well in salads, sandwiches and juices, among other things.
Health Benefits of Kale
Vitamin C and iron are also present in kale. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. An adequate intake of iron helps prevent anemia by iron deficiency ( iron deficiency anemia )
Kale contains vitamin K, which is important for bone health . People who take little vitamin K are more likely to suffer from bone fractures . Vitamin K is usually created by the body itself, but eating enough vitamin K is important for proper function and maintenance of bones.
3. Diabetes mellitus (diabetes)
Kale contains the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid. This substance may help to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and decrease peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy in patients with diabetes mellitus . Nevertheless, these conclusions focus mainly on high doses of alpha-lipoic acid given by a physician intravenously (through a vein), rather than dietary sources. Still, it’s important to get enough antioxidants to improve overall health.
The fiber and antioxidants in kale may offer protection against diabetes. By consuming a lot of fiber, the blood sugar level in people with type 1 diabetes mellitus . The values of blood sugar, lipids and insulin also improve.
5. Heart disease
Kale contains fiber, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6. These all support heart health . By taking in more potassium, blood vessels dilate, lowers blood pressure and prevents cardiovascular disease .
6. Skin and hair
Kale contains a lot of beta-carotene. The body converts this carotenoid into vitamin A. This allows all body tissues such as hair and skin to grow. Beta-carotene is also needed for sebum production, the oil that helps keep skin and hair hydrated. Cooked kale also provides plenty of vitamin C, which is necessary for building and maintaining collagen, the main protein that provides structure for skin, hair, and bones.
Kale contains chlorophyll. This substance prevents the body from absorbing heterocyclic amines. These chemicals – which are associated with cancer – are produced when grilling animal foods at high temperatures. The body cannot absorb much chlorophyll. Chlorophyll in kale, however, still binds to these carcinogens present so that the body does not absorb the toxic substances. In this way it is possible to limit the risk of cancer. It is therefore recommended to always eat green vegetables such as kale with a grilled steak.
One cup of cooked kale has over 1,000 percent more vitamin C than one cup of cooked spinach. Unlike spinach, kale is low in oxalate. In other words, the calcium and iron present in kale is more easily absorbed by the digestive system. Kale also has a lot of fiber and water on board. Both help prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements.
A patient with heart disease may be prescribed beta-blockers , a type of medication that leads to an increase in blood potassium levels. People taking beta-blockers should be careful about consuming nutrient-rich foods (such as cooked kale and bananas) and should only take them in moderation. When patients with kidney problems take too much potassium, it causes serious health problems or even death. Also, people taking warfarin or any other type of blood thinner should be careful about consuming kale as this vegetable interferes with the action of blood thinners.