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There's a reason why kale is all the rage--this powerhouse veggie is packed with nutrients that offer many health benefits, offering even more nutritional value than spinach.
Nutritional Value of Kale
Kale weighs in at only 33 calories per one-cup serving of the raw vegetable. This same serving contains three grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fiber, folate, alpha-linoleic acid, lutein, vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. It’s also a powerful source of antioxidants. Below are some of the health benefits that go along with consuming kale as part of your regular diet.
Reduced Risk of Bladder Cancer
A study appearing in the Oxford Journals in 1999 found that consuming high amounts of cruciferous vegetables, like kale, may reduce the risk of developing bladder cancer, though other vegetables and fruits appear to offer no definitive notable protection against this form of cancer. Since bladder cancer is the sixth most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in the U.S., the fact that kale can help reduce the risk is important.
People suffering from arthritis, asthma, and various autoimmune disorders can especially appreciate the fact that kale has anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, according to North Carolina State University, one cup of kale meets 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance of omega-3 fatty acids.
Per calorie, kale's iron content is greater than that of beef. Iron is an essential nutrient for proper cellular growth and liver function, making it very important for healthy living. The fact that it’s available so abundantly in kale makes this vegetable essential for vegetarians who often suffer from anemia.
Medical News Today reports that people who have type 1 diabetes and consume high-fiber diets have lower levels of blood glucose. It goes on to say that people living with type 2 diabetes may also experience improvements in lipids, blood sugar, and insulin levels. One cup of raw kale contains approximately 2.6 grams of fiber, making it an excellent choice for diabetic diets.
The benefits don’t end there, however. The alpha-lipoic acid in kale also helps to reduce glucose levels and decrease peripheral and autonomic neuropathy among diabetic patients.
Heart Health Benefits
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Kale is filled with good things like fiber, potassium, vitamins C and B6, all of which support a healthy heart. Today’s Dietitian reports that people who consume 4,069 mg of potassium per day enjoy a 49 percent lower risks of death from ischemic heart disease than those who consume 1,793 mg of potassium each day. Additionally, consuming kale can help reduce cholesterol levels, further improving heart health.
Skin Health Improvements
Skin is one of the most important organs in the human body. It’s the first line of defense against countless illnesses, diseases, and bacterial infections. Kale is rich in vitamins A and C, which help your skin maintain adequate hydration for youthful fullness and beauty.
With so many healthy reasons to eat kale, it’s a good idea to consider making kale a routine part of your daily diet. Though patients on beta-blockers should take caution to avoid too much potassium, as it may have harmful side effects. Otherwise, dig into a heaping helping of kale!Read More ›
My current go-to green vegetable is kale, which has nutritional value and health benefits that are off-the-charts. Whether I’m throwing it in my smoothie or steaming it as a recipe addition, I do my best to eat it every day.
The next time you are at the supermarket grab a bunch of kale and start cooking these recipes that you’ll actually eat and taste great.
Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes
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