What are the benefits of eating Kale?
What are the benefits of eating Kale?
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Recently, this leafy green has taken center stage, being added to smoothies, turned into chips, and has replaced lettuce as the reigning champ of salad greens. We all know it’s supposedly health, but is Kale really the superfood we’ve all been told it is?
So... What are the health benefits of eating kale?
Kale has long been known as a superfood, and for good reason. Kale contains high amounts of important nutrients for health, including vitamins K, A , and C, micro minerals like manganese, copper, calcium, iron, and potassium, and is high in fiber and phytonutrients.
As a matter of fact, on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, a chart developed to determine a foods nutrient density compared to it’s caloric density, Kale is one of only 5 foods that holds a perfect score!
Gram for gram, Kale boasts one of the highest amounts of vitamin K you can find from a plant. Vitamin K is an essential vitamin that helps control normal blood clotting and inflammation in the body.
In fact, Kale has such a high vitamin K content that people on blood thinners should be careful when consuming Kale, as the high vitamin K content could interfere with the effects of their medication.
Alpha Linolenic Acid, or ALA, is an essential fatty acid demonstrated in several studies  to have anti inflammatory effects in the body. While studies are still underway to determine ALA’s exact mechanisms, there’s growing support for it’s cardio and neuroprotective qualities resulting from its ability to reduce inflammation.
Kale contains 240 milligrams of ALA in just one cup, about half of the recommended daily intake.
Furthermore, research has shown ALA is effective for reducing symptoms of neuropothy, or nerve pain, those with type two diabetes tend to suffer from .
Cruciferous vegetables have been of interest to cancer research for decades, especially in the prevention of hormonally related cancers like breast, ovarian, uterine, and prostate cancer. A group of chemicals found in vegetables likely responsible for the preventing cancer is isothiocyanates, or ITCs for short.
In particular, an ITC called indole-3-carbinol that is found in abundance in cruciferous vegetables like kale can help regulate hormonal levels, especially estrogen. High levels of estrogen have been linked to an increased risk for breast, cervical and ovarian cancer.
Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to help the body excrete excess estrogen and possibly both reduce the risk of developing cancer as well as therapeutically assist for those who’ve already developed cancer.
Heart and Bone Health
The high vitamin K content of kale also helps to protect the heart by preventing calcium from depositing on arterial walls, what’s called atherosclerosis. Instead of depositing in arterial tissue, Vitamin K helps signal calcium to deposit into bone. Adequate levels of Vitamin K, therefore, have been associated with both higher bone densities leading to lowered instances of osteoporosis as well as a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
So, if you haven’t already, don’t you think it’s time to start eating more kale? Personally, I love making kale chips in the dehydrator or throwing some leaves in with my salad.
However, you may be one of those people who just doesn't like the taste. If that’s the case, blending some kale leaves up in a green smoothie will give you all the benefits while masking the taste with berries and fruit.
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