For most of us, when we hear the word ‘kale’ we pull a funny face. We know it’s good for us but man, it’s not the most enjoyable vegetable to eat. How many health benefits can kale contain? Well, read on and learn just why you need to incorporate this leafy green into your diet, and then find a delicious recipe that is not only incredibly quick and easy to make, but will convert even the biggest of kale haters.
So, what is so great about kale?
Here are 10 things to get you excited about kale.
1 cup of kale provides you with a whopping 3 grams of protein
For vegans and vegetarians, this is a god send. Protein is essential for all functions within the body, making this a macronutrient. It is particularly essential for growth and development, energy production, immune function and blood sugar regulation.
1 cup of kale gives you 2.5 grams of fibre
Along with protein, fibre helps stabilize our blood sugar levels. The result? Sustained energy throughout the day (no afternoon slump) and less cravings for sugar or carbs. Fibre is essential for the health of our bowels, and regulating bowel movements. Fibre also gives you a sense of satiety, so it discourages over eating. Fibre is a functional food for the treatment and prevention of conditions such as elevated cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
Kale is incredibly high in vitamin A, in the form of beta carotene
Vitamin A is essential for immune function and the health of our mucous membranes. What are these mucous membranes you might ask? These are membranes that line the body cavities that lead to the outside world. Mainly, the respiratory, digestive and urogenital tracts. They also line our mouth, nose, eyelids, lungs, intestines, urethra, urinary tract, stomach and trachea. The health and nourishment of these mucous membranes are heavily dependent on our vitamin A status. If you suffer from dry eyes, dry skin, asthma, eczema, even vaginal dryness during menopause, then consider increasing your vitamin A levels.
Kale is high in lutein and zeaxanthin
Teamed with beta carotene, this combination is excellent for eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are a class of carotenoids that are found within the retina and macula. They protect our eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays from sunlight and because lutein and zeaxanthin are abundant within the macula, they are protective against macular degeneration, and overall eye health.
Kale is so high in vitamin C it’s ridiculous
We all know how good vitamin C is for our immune system but did you know it is essential for collagen and connective tissue repair? Any injuries will greatly benefit from vitamin C intake and because it is a potent antioxidant, it is also an excellent antiaging supplement. Not a lot of people would know, that in times of stress, our adrenals chew up our vitamin C. Therefore, we often get run down or sick at the most inconvenient of times. It is important to keep vitamin C levels up during periods physical or mental stress. Training for a marathon or iron man, or simply training hard? You know where I’m going with this.
Kale is high in vitamin K
Vitamin K comes in 2 forms, K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is predominantly obtained by leafy greens such as kale. K2 is generally from animal, or fermented products. K1 is essential for the process of blood coagulation (so we don’t bleed to death), K2 is important for bone health. Think of K2 as the traffic inspector, ensuring calcium is directed to the bones, and not deposited in any arteries or tissues. This is essential for maintaining bone health and bone density, but also to minimise the potential for cardiovascular events. Our bodies can covert vitamin K1 to K2, however this is heavily dependent on the health of our gut.
Kale is rich in chlorophyll
It’s particularly good at removing heavy metals such as mercury. It’s antioxidant, alkalising, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. Chlorophyll can promote oral hygiene by reducing bad breath! It can help restore and replenish red blood cells, therefore, prevent anaemia and improve oxygen status throughout the body. Shall I go on?
Kale contains calcium
I’m constantly hearing vegans raise concerns about where they will get their calcium from. Dark leafy greens are a great source of calcium. It’s essential for bone health and for the nervous system.
100g kale gives you 49 calories
An incredibly healthy, guilt free option for those on a weight management program. We now know how high in protein and fibre Kale is, so it’s a bit of a no brainer to incorporate it into your diet.
Kale contains many powerful antioxidants
Making it protective against cancers, supportive for the immune system, and antiaging.
As you can see, this dark leafy green vegetable is a nutrient power house, the health benefits are through the roof. The thing I love about plant based foods is how they are perfectly found in nature as is. The combination of nutrients provides a synergistic effect in maintaining a healthy balance. Kale covers all bases.
Now. How in the hell do we consume kale, and enjoy it? Simple. Here’s the best kale salad you’ll ever eat.