KALE:

7 Health Benefits of Kale

There’s a reason kale is often called a “superfood.” The leafy green is a veritable powerhouse of nutrients!

 

1. Great source of plant-based protein

When you hear the word “protein,” vegetables might not immediately come to mind – but many are high in healthy plant proteins. While green peas and spinach are a couple of great sources, kale holds its own with about 3 grams of protein per cup. Considering that’s only 33 calories – and about a third of them come from protein – kale can deliver loads of healthy protein that serves as an essential building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

2. Improves digestion 

Fiber is another macronutrient that is well-represented in kale. Dietary fiber is essentialfor healthy digestion, blood sugar, cholesterol, weight control, and more. Though many vegetables are a great source of fiber, kale will give you about 2 grams per cup, which is a third of its overall carbohydrate content. Depending on your age and gender, you should be aiming for 21-39 grams of fiber per day.

 

3. Protects against diabetes 

Upping your intake of kale and other high fiber foods can also help regulate blood sugar that can lower your risk for developing diabetes. Kale also has a secret ingredient called alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), which can increase insulin sensitivity. When you’re more sensitive to insulin, your body will only need to produce small amounts to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Conversely, you’ll need to produce larger quantities if you’re not sensitive to insulin, which can increase your risk for pre-diabetes and diabetes.

4. Contains powerful antioxidants & compounds

Another one of the health benefits of kale is its abundance of several powerful micronutrient compounds. Two of them are quercetin and kaempferol, flavonoids that have anti-viral, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effects, in addition to improving brain and heart health. There’s also an anti-cancer phytochemical called sulforaphane, and vision-protecting carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, among others.

5. Boosts heart health

Kale supports heart health primarily thanks to its fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Potassium, in particular, has been shown to reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease when consumed in high enough quantities.

6. Builds strong bones

“Got kale?” It might surprise you, but kale has more calcium per calorie than milk. The leafy green is also one of the best sources you can find of vitamin K, another bone-health necessity based on studies that associate vitamin K intake with higher bone density.

7. Gives you healthy skin and hair

Kale is high in beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A and vitamin C. Both vitamins are great for skin and hair. Now that’s a veggie with health benefits that are good for you inside and out.

Kale recipes and how to cook kale

With so many health benefits of kale, look for ways to fit this versatile vegetable into many types of recipes, from pasta dishes to stir-fries. This power-packed superfood may just become one of your new produce staples! 

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