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  • Health Benefits of Kale for Healthy Eating, Healthy Living

    How healthy kale is? Learn about the many health benefits of kale.

    November 20, 2014 | Related: , ,

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    Health Benefits of Kale

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    One of the healthy eating strategies that you should be implementing to your (and my) diet is incorporating the health benefits of kale. For healthy eating, healthy living, health experts highly recommend eating this dark, leafy green that has been around since the Roman times.

    How does it look like?

    It looks like broccoli and cauliflower, since kale comes from the cabbage family. Kale doesn’t form a head, so it’s considered to have closer appearance to wild cabbage.

    Nutrition facts of kale

    A cup of kale or a chopped of kale that’s 67 grams contains 33 calories.

    It doesn’t have cholesterol but it does contain saturated fat (0.1g) and polyunsaturated fat (0.2g).

    Kale is without cholesterol, vitamin D and vitamin B-12.

    However, it’s rich in sodium, potassium, protein, carbs, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, vitamin B6, and magnesium.

    Even though kale is a vegetable, it does contain 3 grams of protein.

    The health benefits of kale will also include managing blood sugar levels. Thanks to its 2.5 grams of fiber.

    What are the types of kale?

    Yes, there’s more than one type of kale that you can find on the market. You can see it as curly or flat.

    As of its taste, each type offers different flavor. Thus, you must try them and find out which one has the best tang for your taste bud.

    When you find that type of kale that suits your palate, you can grow it in your garden. If it’s time for you to harvest it, make sure that its leaves are dark and crisp.

    Now, let’s take a look at the many health benefits of kale. From here, you might be in a hurry to go to a grocery store and find a kale for your meal.

    Don’t go yet. Read these pieces of information first.

    Low in calories

    As previously mentioned, a cup of kale is only 33 calories. But it’s rich in fiber without the unhealthy fats.

    Thanks to the health benefits of kale, you’ll have better digestive system. With its richness in nutrients, folate, vitamins and magnesium, you must embrace it as part of your healthy eating strategies for your healthy eating, healthy living lifestyle.

    Blocks carcinogenic elements

    Kale is a green vegetable that contains chlorophyll. We all know how chlorophyll does in our body.

    It prevents heterocyclic amines from being absorbed by the body. These amines are produced when you grill your food.

    With that being said, it’s beneficial to include kale in your meal when you’re fond of grilling foods. In this way, the grilled foods’ negative effects will be blocked.

    Supports bone health

    Another health benefit of kale is its ability to protect your bones against diseases. Kale’s calcium content is higher than milk, thereby, making it beneficial in building stronger bones.

    Apart from calcium, kale is also high in magnesium and vitamin D. These two can help your body in the proper absorption of calcium.

    Improves blood sugar

    According to studies, kale has been shown to improve blood glucose levels of patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

    The studies also showed that those who frequently eat high-fiber diet, such as kale, have better lipids and insulin levels.

    This health benefit of kale is credited to its high amount of fiber. Thus, you should start including it as one of your healthy eating strategies.

    To achieve healthy eating, healthy living goal, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises women to eat at least 21 grams of fiber and men to consume 30 to 38 grams of fiber each day.

    In addition to it being high in fiber, kale is also high in alpha-lipoic acid, which is an antioxidant that lowers blood glucose levels.

    Not only that.

    This antioxidant is also effective in increasing your body’s insulin sensitivity, which is very useful if you have diabetes.

    But don’t over-consume kale. Bear in mind that this health benefit of kale being studied has used IV alpha-lipoic acid.

    This means that experts are not sure if it also offers the same benefit when you consume oral supplements.

    Promotes better heart

    The health benefits of kale for the heart are brought by its richness in fiber, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

    Increasing your intake of potassium and sodium is the best way for you to follow a healthy eating, healthy living lifestyle. This is to make sure that you can significantly reduce your risk of having heart problems, according to Mark Houston, MD.

    It’s said that those who took 4,069 mg of potassium a day had lowered their risk of death as a result of ischemic heart disease, compared with those who only consumed about 1,000 mg a day.

    Increasing your potassium intake will also reduce your risk of stroke. This nutrient is also effective in preventing loss of muscle mass, while preserving bone mineral density and reducing kidney stones formation.

    Unfortunately, not all of us can meet the daily requirement of 4,700 mg of potassium.

    But you can start meeting that requirement by eating kale every day as it contains 329 mg of potassium per cup.

    Helps immune system

    Healthy eating, healthy living through regular consumption of kale promotes better immune system.

    According to studies, kale is shown to contain high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation while it lowers your risk of having chronic illnesses.

    Thus, your healthy eating strategies should include kale to avoid suffering from arthritis, autoimmune disorders and cardiovascular conditions.

    Promotes better eyesight

    This is especially beneficial if you spend hours of your time working on your computer.

    With kale, you’ll consume a lot of lutein and zeaxanthin compounds. These are great for your eyes.

    They are also useful in preventing age related macular degeneration

    If you don’t want to wear glasses or suffer from cataracts and blurred vision, you should start incorporating kale in your diet.

    Supports healthy liver

    Because of its high amount of fiber, it helps in detoxifying your body. To further assist you in eliminating harmful toxins from your body, you can include non-dairy protein powder to your diet. This is especially great if you’re trying to cut offender foods.

    Many health experts recommend this as part of a balanced detox.

    They also advise to replace at least 1 meal with a protein-fiber combination.

    This is beneficial not only for detoxification purposes but also for those who wish to lose weight.

    For health experts, you need to eat less food but drink more protein shakes

    How to prepare kale to obtain its health benefits?

    What’s great about kale is that it’s easy for you to incorporate it to your healthy eating strategies.

    If you’re fond of preparing smoothies, then it won’t be difficult for you to include it as one of the ingredients.

    Sauté

    Use olive oil to sauté onion, garlic and kale.

    You can also add other vegetables.

    Unlike spinach, kale doesn’t wilt quickly. But make sure you won’t cook it in more than 5 minutes. 1-2 minutes will do.

    Pizza

    Oh, yes. It’s possible for you to include it as an ingredient for your pizza.

    With it, you won’t feel guilty about your calorie intake and the nutrients you’re consuming. Just make sure that you use wholemeal flour and put vegetables on top.

    The kale presto of Jack Monroe is a good example of making pizza with kale to obtain its health benefits without having to sacrifice the taste.

    This pizza includes sunflower seeds, lemon juice and grated cheese.

    Bake

    In addition to pizza, you can also try baking it. You just need to add olive oil and a little amount of salt.

    When you purchase kale chips, make sure that they’re not deep-fried. You should also ensure that they’re not coated with cheese.

    If they’re, then you’re only negating the health benefits of kale.

    Plus, if they’re deep-fried, then they will no longer be low in calories.

    Not good for your 6-week weight loss plan.

    Alternatives to kale

    If you can’t consume kale, you can still obtain its health benefits by getting its alternatives.

    Collard greens

    They’re popular in Southern US cuisine. When they’re steamed, they’re great in lowering your cholesterol levels.

    In a study conducted, collard greens showed to be more effective than cholestyramine. It’s a type of drug that enhances cholesterol-blocking effects of your body.

    Parsley

    Yes, it’s the one that you throw away after eating your vegetable salad. It usually sits on your plate but it’s placed on the side.

    Truly, parsley is underrated. But it’s also a superfood that’s packed with nutrients. A small amount of it can help you meet your daily requirement of vitamin K.

    It’s also great for your weight loss goal.

    This is because the chopped parsley can help in controlling your appetite.

    According to a study, people who smelled the aroma of parsley have eaten less.

    Bottom line

    The health benefits of kale can’t be ignored, not that they’ve been uncovered. Thus, for your health eating strategies make sure that you include it to your diet. Following a healthy eating, healthy living lifestyle is always great when you pair it with kale.

    About the author

    Erliza Lee Erliza Lee has a BS Biology degree. She likes writing topics related to health and travel.

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