Kale is one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant foods in the world. Kale is loaded with all sorts of beneficial compounds.
Here are some health benefits of kale.
Powerful Antioxidants – Kale is very high in antioxidants. These include beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as various flavonoids and polyphenols (1). Antioxidants are substances that help counteract oxidative damage by free radicals in the body (2). The flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, which are found in relatively large amounts in kale (3). They have powerful heart-protective, blood pressure-lowering, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-depressant and anti-cancer effects, to name a few (4).
Excellent Source of Vitamin C – Vitamin C is an important water-soluble antioxidant that serves many vital functions in the body’s cells. Kale is much higher in vitamin C than most other vegetables (5).
Lower Cholesterol – Cholesterol has many important functions in the body. The liver turns cholesterol into bile acids, which are then released into the digestive system whenever you eat a fatty meal. When all the fat has been absorbed and the bile acids have served their purpose, they are reabsorbed into the bloodstream and used again. Kale actually contains bile acid sequestrants, which can lower cholesterol levels. This might lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over time (6).
Vitamin K – Vitamin K is an important nutrient. It is critical for blood clotting, and does this by “activating” certain proteins and giving them the ability to bind calcium. Kale is one of the world’s best sources of vitamin K, with a single raw cup containing almost 7 times the recommended daily amount.
High in Beta-Carotene – Kale is often claimed to be high in vitamin A, but this is not entirely accurate. It is actually high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body can turn into vitamin A (7).
High in Lutein and Zeaxanthin – One of the most common consequences of aging is that eyesight gets worse. There are several nutrients in the diet that can help prevent this from happening. The main ones are lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoid antioxidants that are found in large amounts in kale and some other foods.
Lose Weight – Kale has several properties that make it a weight loss friendly food. Because of the low calorie and high water content, kale has a low energy density. Eating plenty of foods with a low energy density has been shown to aid weight loss in numerous studies (8).
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