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18 Major Health Benefits of Kale

Kale or leaf cabbage are is a variety of cabbage grown for its edible leaves. Kales are more close to wild cabbage than the domestic cabbage. It is native to Europe but is now cultivated in many regions of the world. Being a good source of many nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, protein, dietary fibers etc. kale provides a number of health benefits. In this article, we will know about the major health benefits of kale, but first, let’s take a look at the below-mentioned nutrition chart of kale.

Nutrition Chart of Kale

Nutrition Chart of Kale
Source-USDA

Health Benefits of Kale

Health Benefits of Kale
Source- Pixabay.com

 

(1) Reduces The Risk of Several Types of Cancer(s)

Regular and moderate consumption of Kale has been found to be very beneficial for reducing the risk of several types of cancers like colon cancer, skin cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer etc. This benefit of kale is mainly due to the presence of antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin K and other antioxidantal compounds in them.

The antioxidants present in the kale fights with the free radicals of our body, stabilize them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells, and thus reduces the risk of several types of cancers. Free radicals are nothing but the unstabilized ions that get formed during the oxidation process in our body. As these are unstabilized, so, they steal electrons from the neighboring molecules and cause oxidative damage to them.

In addition to the antioxidants, chlorophyll present in the kale and other green vegetables also plays an important role in reducing the risk of cancer. This is because chlorophyll binds to the carcinogens and prevents them from getting absorbed by our body. Our body is not able to absorb chlorophyll, but carcinogens can easily be absorbed by our system. However, prevents them from getting absorbed by our system as they carcinogens with them.

They are also a good source of glucosinolates, a compound that significantly reduces the risk of cancers.

(2) Keeps Our Cardiovascular System Healthy

Eating kale on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very beneficial for our heart, and plays an important role in keeping our cardiovascular system healthy. This benefit of kale is mainly due to the presence of many nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fibers and other compounds in them.

The antioxidants present in the kale protect our cardiovascular system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals, and thus reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, irregular heartbeat etc.

They are also a good source of dietary fibers that manages cholesterol level in our system and improves our cardiovascular health. The potassium, a vital mineral present in the kale regulates blood pressure and helps in keeping our cardiovascular system healthy.

Other nutrients like vitamins and minerals etc. also plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy heart.

Kale is also a good source of bile acid sequestrants that aids in lowering cholesterol level in our system. As per a Los Angeles study, it was found that presence of lutein in kale makes them very beneficial for reducing the risk of atherosclerosis ( hardening of arteries) and reduces the risk of clogging of arteries by fat, plaque etc.

Another compound, glucoraphanin present in the kale also plays a significant role in keeping our arteries and veins healthy as they activate Nrf2, a special reactive protein that forms a protective coating in arteries and veins and thus prevents the accumulation of plaque in them.

(3) Good For Diabetic Patients

Kale has been found to be very beneficial for the diabetic patients or those who are at the risk of developing diabetes. This benefit of kale is mainly because of their low glycemic index. Glycemic index of kale is 4, which is very considered as very low. A low glycemic index means kale releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slow rate and prevents a sudden spike in the blood sugar level, and thus helps in managing diabetes.

In addition to this, the dietary fibers present in the kale also plays a significant role in regulating blood sugar level. This is because they reduce the rate at which sugar gets absorbed into the bloodstream and thus helps in controlling diabetes. Kale is beneficial not only for Type-1 diabetes but also for type-2 diabetes.

(4) Provides Relief From Inflammation

Eating kale on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very beneficial for providing relief from pain and inflammation caused by the inflammatory diseases like arthritis, gouts, rheumatism etc. This anti-inflammatory benefit of kale is mainly due to the presence of antioxidant like Vitamin C in it. Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory in nature which means it is very effective in providing relief from pain and inflammation.

It also fights with the free radicals in our body, stabilizes them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells and tissues.

In addition to this, the presence of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid in the nearly right proportion of 1:1 also plays a significant role in treating inflammation.

(5) Provides Antioxidantal Benefits

Another healthy reason to include kale in your regular diet is the presence of antioxidants in them. Kale is a rich source of antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, beta-carotene and other antioxidantal compounds like flavonoids and polyphenols. These antioxidants and the relevant fights with the free radicals of our body, stabilizes them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells, and thus reduces the risk of various cancers.

Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that get formed in our body during the oxidation process. As they are unstabilized, so, they steal electrons from the neighboring molecules, and while doing so, they cause oxidative damage to our cells and tissues.

Antioxidants provide a number of other benefits like aids in the elimination of toxins from our system, improves liver healthy, keeps our cardiovascular system healthy, improves cognitive functions, strengthens immunity and so on.

(6) Aids In Detoxification

Regular and moderate consumption of kale has been found to be very beneficial for removing toxins from our system. This benefit of kale is due to the presence of dietary fibers in them.

The dietary fibers present in the kale acts as a natural laxative, improves bowel movement and thus ensures smooth elimination of stool from our system. Antioxidants present in the kale protects our cells and tissues from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and also aids in getting rid of toxins from our system.

Suggested Read- 13 Wonderful Beauty Benefits of Kale For Skin And Hair

(7) Improves Liver Health

Our liver is a vital organ that plays a major role in the elimination of toxins and other impurities from the system/. Presence of too many toxins in our system can cause havoc to our health, and it is important to get rid of them as soon as possible, and liver performs this function in a very efficient manner.

However, if there are too many toxins in our system, the liver can get overloaded and this makes it difficult for the liver to perform its other functions efficiently. Some other functions performed by the liver are production and excretion of bile juice, excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, and hormones, metabolism of fats, protein and carbohydrates, enzyme activation, storage of glycogen, synthesis of plasma protein and so on. ( source)

Regular and moderate consumption of kale has been found to be very beneficial for keeping our liver healthy. This benefit of kale is due to the presence of antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin K and other antioxidantal compounds in them.

These antioxidants protect our liver from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals, and also plays a major role in eliminating toxins from our system. When toxins are removed from our system in an efficient manner, it reduces the burden from vital organ like liver, allowing them to focus on their other functions too.

Dietary fibers present in the kale also plays a significant role in the detoxification and thus contributes to liver health.

Presence of other nutrients like selenium, phosphorus, Vitamin B-12 and folic acid etc. in the kale also plays a part in keeping our liver healthy.

(8) Good For Our Bones

Kale is a wonderful vegetable for our bones. It has been found that eating kale on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for making our bones stronger, and for reducing the risk of Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which our bones become very weak and fragile, and is more prone to fractures.

This bone strengthening benefit of kale is due to the presence of calcium in it. Calcium is a vital mineral that makes our bones stronger and also aids in the proper development of the bones. Eating 100 grams of kale provides around 150 mg of calcium, which is about 15 percent of the daily requirement of calcium in our body.

In addition to the calcium, kale is also a good source of other minerals like potassium, magnesium etc. that plays a major role in keeping our bones stronger. When our bones are stronger, the risk of developing osteoporosis diminishes automatically and it also preserves our bone density.

Beta-carotene ( which gets converted to Vitamin A in our body) present in the kale also contributes to bone health, but only when consumed in moderation. High level of beta-carotene in our system can increase the risk of fractures.

(9) Keeps Our Digestive System Healthy

Consuming kale on a regular and moderate basis is very good for our stomach and helps in keeping our digestive system healthy. This benefit of kale is due to the presence of dietary fibers in them.

The dietary fibers present in kale acts as a natural laxative, improves bowel movement and ensures smooth elimination of waste from our system. This provides relief from constipation and as well as other digestive problems like abdominal pain,, flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating etc.

In addition to this, they are also a good source of antioxidants that protect our digestive system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and reduces the risk of colon cancer, stomach cancer, pancreas cancer etc.

(10) Improves Vision Health

Eating kale on a regular basis has been found to be very beneficial for improving our vision health.

This benefit of kale is due to the presence of antioxidants like Vitamin C, beta-carotene and other antioxidantal compounds in them. The antioxidants present in kale protects our eyes from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals. This plays an important role in reducing the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration etc.

Beta-carotene present in the kale gets converted into Vitamin A by our body, an essential vitamin for our eye health.

In addition to this, other nutrients like Lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and Omega fatty acids etc. also plays a significant role in keeping our eyes healthy.

(11) Keeps Our Neurological System Healthy

Consuming kale on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very beneficial for our neurological system and thus reduces the risk of various neurodegenerative diseases like amnesia, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease etc.

This benefit of kale is due to the presence of antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, beta-carotene and other antioxidantal compounds in them. The antioxidants present in the kale fights with the free radicals of our system, stabilize them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells, including the brain cells aka neurons.

Vitamin K present in the kale is essential for the production of sphingolipids, a specialized fat responsible for maintaining the structure of the brain cells.

In addition to this, other nutrients like zinc, iron, Vitamin B6, and folate also plays a significant role in improving our brain health.

Eating kale also increases the production of essential hormones like dopamine and serotonin, and thus provides relief from stress and depression.

(12) Eliminates Fatigue

Consuming kale on a regular basis is good for eliminating fatigue too. This benefit of kale is due to the presence of a compound called “Isothiocyanates” in them. This compound activates Nrf2 in our body. Nrf2 is very effective in combating against fatigue tissues as it generates mitochondria, a part of the cell that converts glucose into the ATP ( Adenosine Triphosphate) which helps in regulating cellular energy.

Suggested Read- 7 Major Side Effects of Eating Too Much Kale

(13) Strengthens Immune System

Our Immune system plays an important role in keeping us healthy. It is the defense mechanism of our body that prevents pathogens like microbes, bacteria, virus etc. from invading our body, and thus reduces the risk of getting ill. And, even if they somehow manage to enter our body and make us sick, it is our immune system that combats against them and makes us healthy again.

It is therefore important for us to make sure that our immune system is strong enough to deal with these disease-causing microbes like bacteria, virus etc. and kale can help in doing the same.

It has been found that including kale in your regular diet is very beneficial for making our immune system stronger. This benefit of kale is due to the presence of antioxidants like Vitamin C, VItamin K and other antioxidantal compounds in them. These antioxidants fight with the free radicals in our body stabilizes them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells, including the white blood cells that form the backbone of the immune system.

When our immune system is stronger, we are less likely to get infected by cold, cough, flu etc.

In addition to this, the presence of other nutrients like folic acid, iron, selenium, Vitamin B6 etc. in kale also plays a significant role in strengthening our immune system.

(14) Promotes Weight Loss

Regular and moderate consumption of kale has been found to be very beneficial for the individuals who are on a weight loss regime and would like to get rid of some extra pounds. This benefit of kale is because of its low calorific value. Eating 1 cup of chopped kale ( around 67 gram) provides around 33 calories of energy. A low calorific value means one can enjoy the benefits of kale without worrying about the weight gain.

In addition to this, they are also a good source of dietary fibers that keep our stomach satisfied and fuller for a longer duration, and thus reduces our urge to eat again and again. As overeating is a major cause of weight gain or obesity, so by controlling overeating, kale helps in controlling weight gain.

Water present in the kale also contributes to the weight loss benefits. It has no calories but it is very effective for keeping our stomach full for a good duration, discourage overeating and thus helps in weight loss.

(15) Promotes Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a very special moment in every woman’s life and at this stage, they should take a very good care of their health. This is because what she eats and drinks not only determines her health, but also the health and wellness of the fetus developing in her womb.

Moderate consumption of kale ( after consultation with a doctor) has been found to be very beneficial for the pregnancy. This benefit of kale is due to the presence of various nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibers etc. in them.

The antioxidants present in the kale aids in eliminates toxins from the mother’s body and also protects her from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals. Vitamin K present in kale makes our blood vessels stronger, which improves blood flow to the uterine area and thus promotes a healthy pregnancy.

Vitamin C present in the kale improves the immunity of the mother and as well as the baby growing in her.

They are also a good source of calcium that reduces the risk of osteoporosis in pregnant women and also aids in healthy development of the baby.

The folic acid or folate present in the kale aids in the brain development and reduces the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida.

Benefits of eating kale during pregnancy are enormous, but for a safe side, it is always advisable to consult your doctor before including any food in your diet.

(16) Supports Urinary Health

Consuming kale on a regular basis has been found to be very beneficial for our urinary health. This benefit of kale is due to the presence of calcium in them. The calcium present in the kale binds with the oxalates in the digestive system and prevents them from getting absorbed by our digestive system. This prevents the formation of calcium oxalates and thus reduces the risk of kidney stones.

Kale is low in oxalates and this also minimizes the risk of kidney stones.

In addition to this, they are also a good source of antioxidants that protects our vital organs like kidneys from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals, and also aids in the proper elimination of waste from our system. When toxins are well eliminated from our system, our cleansing organs like kidneys can perform optimally and focus on their other tasks. Kale is also good for reducing the risk of urinary tract infections.

Iron present in the kale is good for our kidneys and reduces the risk of renal diseases.

(17) Reduces The Risk of Anemia

Eating kale on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for reducing the risk of anemia. This benefit of kale is due to the presence of Iron in it. Deficiency of iron in our body can give rise to Anemia. Some common symptoms of anemia are dizziness, fatigue, lightheadedness, brittle nails, headache, shortness of breath etc.

Iron present in the kale increases the production of red blood cells in our body which carries oxygenated blood to every part of our body. The oxygenated blood provides nutrients and nourishment to our cells and tissues and allows them to perform optimally. Some other functions performed by Iron are,  produces hemoglobin, produces myoglobin, acts as a cellular glue etc

Iron is good for our brain too.

(18) Reduces The Risk of High Blood Pressure Or Hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a major health problem that affects millions of people around the world and is a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems.

Eating kale on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very beneficial for providing relief from high blood pressure or hypertension. This benefit of kale is due to the presence of potassium in it. Eating 100 grams of kale provides 358 milligrams of potassium. Potassium is a natural vasodilator which means it relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation and thus regulates blood pressure.

By regulating our blood pressure, kale also reduces the risk of various cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, irregular heartbeat etc.

Some other benefits of the potassium are stimulated neural activity, stabilizes blood sugar, prevents cramps, enhances bone health, regulates neural function, boost metabolism etc.

Along with the potassium, other nutrients like magnesium, calcium etc. also plays a significant role in regulating blood pressure.

Reference(s)

http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-kale/

https://bembu.com/kale-benefits/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale

https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/kale.html

Disclaimer

The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as a medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.

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