Kale, often a key component to green smoothies, has gained a lot of popularity over the years, and for a good reason, too! For one thing, it’s more nutrient-dense than regular iceberg lettuce, making it a great choice for salads, too. Adding kale to your diet can be beneficial to your health in several ways. For example, kale health benefits include it being anti-inflammatory, which can safeguard against many diseases, including cancer. Learn more about kale benefits by reading the list below!
Here are 7 kale health benefits:
Kale health benefits start with the powerful ability to fight inflammation. Western diets tend to be low in important omega-3 fatty acids, yet have an excessive amount of omega-6 fatty acids. However, kale boasts a nearly perfect omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, favoring omega-3, making it one of the best inflammation fighting foods. (1)
So many of the processed foods we eat are rich in omega-6 fatty acids and are absolutely pro-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation is widespread and it’s killing us. Inflammation causes such diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s and cancer.
To reap these kale health benefits, add more of this vegetable to your diet today.
Next up on the list of kale health benefits is the heaping amounts of antioxidants this veggie has to offer. In particular, kale is rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin A.
By now you may have heard that antioxidants can repair damage caused by free radicals. It’s true, and when it comes to antioxidants, kale is an excellent choice. (2)
Free radicals cause oxidative stress, which can lead to conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. But kale benefits your body by fight against these free radicals and correcting the damage they cause.
Another fantastic way kale benefits your body is through the ability to detoxify. While it’s true that your body knows how to detox on its own, it can only do as good of a job as what you feed it. Whole, natural foods like kale can help achieve this!
Kale has ITCs, which can help your body detox at the cellular level. Plus they pack a powerful wallop against free radicals, which can come from such sources as processed foods, pollutants, pesticides and pharmaceuticals.
If you can, garden your own kale, or get it from a local organic farmer’s market—the sooner you eat it after harvesting, the better. This is because the ITCs in it necessary to fight free radicals and remove toxins from your body start to diminish the longer kale is stored. (3)
4. Heart Support
Kale health benefits extend to your heart, too! Deirdre Orceyre, who is a naturopathic physician at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the George Washington University Medical Center, asserts that dark-colored vegetables like kale indicate a load of nutrients. “Any vegetable that has a very deep color the way kale does, that means there is a high concentration of nutrients, and that translates into a range of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body.” (4)
And these traits make kale great for your heart! Kale benefits the heart much like do other vegetables. However, according to registered dietician and nutritionist Cheryl Harris, “Brassica vegetables are known to help with general health as well as heart disease and cancer, but even among this group kale stands out.”
Plus, kale benefits cholesterol levels, too, in that it can lower cholesterol that is bad while increasing the good. Studies show that kale can increase the HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol ratio by up to 27 percent, in fact. (5)
5. Brain Development in Infants
Kale health benefits continue with the ability to nurture infant brain development. This dark green veggie is a great source of folate, which can help prevent birth defects.
Folate also promotes a healthy birth weight, neural tube formation, and the proper development of the face and heart.
6. Cancer Prevention
Cruciferous vegetables are great for fighting and preventing cancer. In fact, more than 70 percent of all research conducted on cruciferous vegetables concluded that they protect your body from cancer.
Kale health benefits, then, due to kale’s classification as a cruciferous veggie, include fighting and preventing cancer. Kale and all cruciferous vegetables are rich in glucosinolates, which is a large group of sulfur-containing compounds. This is the secret behind their cancer-fighting abilities! (6)
For a good dose of a cancer-fighting food, make kale a regular part of your diet.
7. Healthy Vision
Kale health benefits also include protecting your eyesight. This is due to two nutrients in kale, lutein and zeaxanthin, which give this vegetable its dark green color. These nutrients can help prevent both macular degeneration and cataracts.
Start enjoying the many kale health benefits by adding this fantastic veggie to your diet today! Start with this delicious warm and spicy kale salad with shiitake mushrooms!