Kale Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts
Rachel Hemraj

November 14, 2018

How This Helps

Kale (Brassica oleracea) is also called as boerenkool, and is very similar to cabbage.

Kale is one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant-based foods in the world, with a very low-calorie count.

It is rich in Vitamins (C, E, K, B6, Folic acid) along with minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, potassium, and phosphorus.

 

Instructions

Nutritional value per 100 g

Nutrients Amount

Water 84.04 g

Energy 49 kcal

Energy 207 kJ

Protein 4.28 g

Total lipid (fat) 0.93 g

Ash 2.01 g

Carbohydrate, by difference 8.75 g

Fiber, total dietary 3.6 g

Sugars, total 2.26 g

Minerals

Calcium, Ca 150 mg

Iron, Fe 1.47 mg

Magnesium, Mg 47 mg

Phosphorus, P 92 mg

Potassium, K 491 mg

Sodium, Na 38 mg

Zinc, Zn 0.56 mg

Copper, Cu 1.499 mg

Manganese, Mn 0.659 mg

Selenium, Se 0.9 µg

Vitamins

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 120 mg

Thiamine 0.11 mg

Riboflavin 0.13 mg

Niacin 1 mg

Pantothenic acid 0.091 mg

Vitamin B-6 0.271 mg

Folate, total 141 µg

Folate, food 141 µg

Folate, DFE 141 µg

Vitamin A, RAE 500 µg

Carotene, beta 5927 µg

Carotene, alpha 54 µg

Cryptoxanthin, beta 81 µg

Vitamin A, IU 9990 IU

Lutein + zeaxanthin 8198 µg

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 1.54 mg

Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 704.8 µg

Lipids

Fatty acids, total saturated 0.091 g

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.052 g

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.338 g


Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28


Characteristics:

Kale is seen to be very similar cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.

It has green or purple leaves, which are either curly or smooth, depending on their types.

Though they can be found all year long in the supermarket, the kale is a winter plant. Some varieties can be grown once or twice a year.


Useful in:

Brain | Heart Diseases | High Cholesterol | Obesity | Antioxidation | Bones | Teeth | Blood clotting | Cancer | Diabetes | Eyes | Anti-inflammation | 


Use It In

Tender kale greens can be used raw, or steamed in salads, stir-fries, chips, soups etc.

They have many ornamental uses due to the presence of differently colored leaves like green, purple, blue, lavender, white or pink.

Pairs With

Kale can be paired with a wide variety of foods like pine nuts, apples, feta cheese, dry-roasted peanuts, pasta, soy sauce, beef, potatoes,   turnips etc.

Caution

If you are suffering from chronic kidney disease or are consuming medications like beta-blockers, eating high potassium foods can be dangerous for your health. In such cases, consume kale under the guidance of your doctor

Science and Research

Cancer:

Kale is rich in many flavonoids and phytochemicals that can help prevent cancer. Some of these compounds like sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates made from the glucosinolates in kale, are able to fight colon, breast, bladder, prostate and ovarian cancer.


Heart:

The liver produces bile acids from the cholesterol which helps in the digestion of fats. Once the fats are absorbed in the body, the bile acids are reabsorbed in the blood stream. Kale contains chemicals called as bile acid sequestrants, which prevent the reabsorption of bile acids, thereby improving the breakdown of higher amounts of fats from the body, and decreasing cholesterol.


Anti-oxidative properties:

Kale is loaded with compounds like vitamin C, beta-carotene, as well as various flavonoids and polyphenols, which act as anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are very vital compounds that prevent many heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, lower blood pressure, and decrease aging. 

Kale contains very high amounts of flavonoids like kaempferol and quercetin which have shown antiviral, anti-depression, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective and many other benefits in the laboratory.

Health benefits of kale

Kale comprises fiber, antioxidants, calcium, vitamins K and C, iron, and a broad array of different nutrients, which may help prevent various health issues. Antioxidants help the body eliminate unwanted toxins that result from natural processes and environmental stresses. These toxins, called free radicals, are unstable molecules. If a lot of build-up in the body, they can result in cell damage. This may lead to health problems like inflammation and ailments. Experts think that free radicals may play a part in the progression of cancer.


Diabetes Type 2

The American Diabetes Association advocates consuming foods that are full of vitamins, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. There's evidence that some of them may provide protection against diabetes.

Fiber: A 2018 research reasoned that those who consume the greatest amounts of dietary fiber seem to have a lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Consuming dietary fiber may also lower blood sugar levels, the authors note.

Antioxidants: Authors of a 2012 article notice that high blood glucose levels can trigger the creation of free radicals. They notice that antioxidants, such as vitamin C and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), can help reduce complications that may occur with diabetes. Both these antioxidants are found in kale.


Heart disease

A variety of nutrients in kale may reduce heart disease.

Potassium: The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends increasing the consumption of potassium while reducing the consumption of additional salt or sodium. This, say the AHA, can decrease the chance of elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. A cup of cooked kale supplies 3.6% of an adult's daily needs for potassium.

Fiber: A Cochrane review from 2016 discovered a connection between consuming fiber and a lower blood lipid (fat) levels and blood pressure. Individuals who consumed more fiber were more likely to have reduced levels of overall cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or"bad" cholesterol. 


Cancer Care

Chlorophyll: Kale and most other green vegetables that contain chlorophyll can help stop the body from absorbing heterocyclic amines. These chemicals occur when folks grill animal-derived foods at a high temperature. Experts have linked them to cancer. The human body can't absorb much chlorophyll, but chlorophyll binds to these carcinogens and prevents the body from absorbing them. This manner, kale may limit the possibility of cancer, and pairing a chargrilled beef with green vegetables can help reduce the negative effect.

Antioxidants: The vitamin C, beta carotene, selenium, along with other antioxidants in kale might help prevent cancer. Studies haven't found that nutritional supplements have the exact same effect, but people that have a high consumption of fruits and vegetables appear to have a lower risk of developing a variety of cancers. This may be due to the antioxidants that these foods contain.

Fiber: A high use of fiber may decrease the possibility of colorectal cancer, according to a 2015 research paper.


Bone health

Calcium and phosphorus are important for healthy bone formation. A research study has suggested that a higher intake of vitamin K can reduce the possibility of bone fractures. A cup of cooked kale supplies a healthy dose of vitamin K, calcium, and phosphorus requirement needed daily.


Digestive System

Kale is high in fiber and water that help prevent constipation and promote a healthy gastrointestinal tract.


Weight Loss

Kale has several ingredients that make it a friendly food item for weight-loss. It's quite low in calories but still provides substantial bulk that makes you feel full. Due to the low calorie and higher water content, kale has a low energy density. Foods that have a low energy density have been proven to assist many with weight loss in scientific studies. Kale also contains protein and fiber, essential nutrients in losing weight.


Eye health

Kale comprises lutein and zeaxanthin, an antioxidant combination that might help decrease the possibility of age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc also play a part in eye health. All these are present in kale.


Skin and Hair

Kale is a fantastic supply of beta-carotene, the carotenoid that the body converts into vitamin A as it requires it. Beta-carotene and vitamin A are essential for the growth and maintenance of all body cells, including the hair and skin.

The body needs vitamin C to build and keep collagen, a protein that provides the structure for skin, hair, and bones. Vitamin C is also found in kale. A cup of cooked kale provides a healthy dose of vitamin A and vitamin C.


See: Diabetic friendly foods to eat

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