Kelly Shertzer works in Web Marketing at Medical Support Products Inc. On the side she enjoys a life full of health and fitness.
Kale, also referred to as borecole, has been named one of the world’s healthiest foods according to whfoods.com (World’s Healthiest Foods). Because it is packed with nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, many people are realizing this incredible vegetable is worth incorporating into their diet. Kale is a health powerhouse because it is packed with a bounteous amount of nutrients essential for your well-being.
Kale is a hardy wild cabbage that usually takes on a green, purple or deep red color. It has large, erect leaves that do not form a head. This leafy green is available in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. Kale is a part of the Brassica family which is made up of cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts.
Now, we all know that leafy greens or a cup of veggies is a good choice when it comes to nutrition. They are an excellent choice to pair with your meal or even to snack on. But what you may not have realized is that certain vegetables are worth more of your time trying to purchase and prepare than others. One of those is kale. Let’s give you some numbers here. In one cup of kale you will obtain:
684% daily value of Vitamin K
206% daily value of Vitamin A
134% daily value of Vitamin C
10% daily value of Calcium
5 grams of Fiber
5% daily value of Iron
3 grams of Protein
121 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids
92.4 milligrams of Omega-6 fatty acids
*other great minerals include copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, folate and magnesium
The one vitamin that blows every other one out of the water in this leafy green is Vitamin K. There is 550 micrograms of Vitamin K in 1 cup of kale. Potassium is crucial in many bodily functions like normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity and bone health. Also, Vitamin K is helpful in building antioxidant levels, which can reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer.
The next big vitamin in kale is Vitamin A. The reason this vitamin is so important is because your vision, skin and hair are all affected. Without Vitamin A, sebum could not be produced to keep your hair moisturized. Vitamin A is also necessary for growth of all body tissues and even helps prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
Kale is also high in Vitamin C, which is helpful for the immune system, metabolism and hydration. Impressively, one cup of cooked kale has over 1000% more Vitamin C than a cup of cooked spinach. Vitamin C also supports skin and hair health by producing and maintaining collagen. Collagen provides structure to skin and hair. Actually, according to Webmd.com, Vitamin C can protect against cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and even skin wrinkling.
In 1 cup of kale you can gain 10% of your daily value of calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk and as much absorbable calcium as 2/3 cup of milk. Calcium strengthens bones, and ultimately prevents osteoporosis. Joint flexibility, cartilage maintenance and a healthy immune system are all attribute to the work of calcium in the body.
Because kale contains fiber and sulfur, it is great for detoxing the body and keeping the liver healthy. Also, the fiber and water content in kale fights constipation and increases regularity for the digestive tract. Fiber found in cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels.
Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. In one cup of kale you can receive 5% of your daily value of Iron. Benefits of Iron include: cell growth, proper liver function, and formation of hemoglobin and enzymes which transport oxygen to many parts of the body.
Kale’s cancer risk lowering benefits have recently been updated to 5 different cancers including: bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate according to whfoods.com. New research has shown that Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits. More recently, researchers have been looking into why kale may have this ability to fight off cancer. There are three main strengths in kale that lead many to believe this:
- antioxidant nutrients
- anti-inflammatory nutrients
- anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates
Without enough antioxidants our oxygen metabolism can become compromised and we can experience “oxidative stress.” Without anti-inflammatory nutrients one can become familiar with chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress mixed with chronic inflammation equals risk for cancer.
The wild cabbage kale is quite impressive and is a nutrition powerhouse. It is practically dripping with key nutrients and adds a nice texture to sandwiches, salads and more. Winter is approaching, and most plants will die off and hibernation will take charge. Yet kale still flourishes during the cooler months. Do yourself a favor and give this beautiful vegetable a try. Enjoy and happy eating!
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