It’s still becoming more and more popular everyday, kale is the ‘new’ leafy alternative to spinach, cabbage or chard. It’s a member of the cabbage family and is available in different types, green or purple in colour and smooth or curly in shape. Low in calories but considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, kale has earned the status of “superfood“ and is beneficial to your health in many ways. Let’s get into the Top 5 Benefits of Kale!
1. Lowers cholesterol
Our liver uses cholesterol to produce bile acids. These are stored in the gallbladder and are released when we consume fat-containing foods to aid in their digestion and absorption. Kale is rich in fibre, which binds together with some of these bile acids, bringing them out of our body. In response, our body draws upon existing cholesterol to replace the lost bile acids. As a consequence, our cholesterol level drops which contributes to a reduction in the risks of coronary artery disease. Though kale is beneficial even when eaten raw, the cholesterol-lowering effect increases significantly when the vegetable is steamed.
2. Controls blood glucose levels
After the consumption of a carbohydrate-containing meal, our plasma glucose concentration rises, peaks and then returns to preprandial levels in response to insulin secretion. When the body has too little insulin or can’t use insulin properly, blood glucose levels remain high (hyperglycaemia) and can seriously compromise your health. Kale is high in fibre and contributes to regulate postprandial increases in plasma glucose levels.
3. Prevents cancer
Cancer is characterised by uncontrolled growth of cells. Kale is loaded with organosulfur compounds (glucosinolates), which break down into biologically active compounds (such as indoles and isothiocyanates). These have been proven to block the growth of cancer cells and inducing cancer cell death (apoptosis) in animal studies. Researchers investigate possible associations between kale consumption and decreased cancer risks in humans. Moreover, organosulfur compounds help support a healthy immune system, which is a key component in staving off cancer.
Free radical formation occurs continuously in bodily cells. The body can cope with some free radicals, but an overload has been linked to certain diseases, including heart disease, liver disease and some cancers. Antioxidants, such as some minerals and vitamins A, C and E, can neutralise these free radicals. Kale is extraordinarily high in vitamins A, C and K, manganese and copper and thus helps in the detoxification process.
Kale contains very little fat, but a large portion of the fat in it is the most basic omega-3 fatty acid (alpha linolenic acid), that appears to have important anti-inflammatory benefits. Kale is also rich in vitamin K, a key nutrient in the regulation of inflammatory processes. Taken in combination, the green leaf is exceptional in lowering the risk of chronic inflammation and associated health complications.
These super green leaves are delicious, versatile and completely packed with goodness. Including kale in your diet will help you to dramatically increase the nutrient content of your dishes. Bake, steam, stir fry, boil, stew or “smoothie” it! Enjoy kale and don’t forget to tell us how you have yours!