By now you’ve likely heard that kale is a superfood. For the last few years people have been raving about the superior health benefits kale brings to the table. But what exactly are those kale health benefits? Here are fifteen of those kale benefits that put the super into the superfood.
1. Boosts Your Immune System
Kale is one of the greatest sources of Vitamin C. It has more Vitamin C than any other vegetable and most fruits. It has way more Vitamin C than spinach and a cup of it has more Vitamin C than an orange.
Fun facts, but why does that matter?
Well your phagocytes and t-cells need Vitamin C to perform their tasks. These specialized cells are the powerhouse of your immune system. If they aren’t functioning properly, then your immune system suffers greatly. In order to keep these important immune system cells in tip-top shape you need the Vitamin C that is so abundant in kale.
2. Can Lower Risk of Cancer
Kale contains several agents and substances that have been shown to prevent the formation of cancerous cells. Antioxidants like the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol have been studied extensively in lab after lab. These antioxidants help fight and correct the oxidative damage that nasty free radicals cause throughout the body.
Substances like sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol also help to rid the body of those damaging free radicals as the antioxidants work to repair the damage left behind. All of this leads to a reduced risk of cancer.
3. Contains Anti-Aging Agents
Antioxidants don’t just prevent cancer. They also help fight aging. Oxidative damage can help increase the speed of the aging process on cells throughout the body leaving you feel older sooner. Antioxidants come in and help fight and correct that oxidative damage.
4. Can Help Fight Depression
Your diet can have direct impacts on how your mind functions. Studies have shown that certain substances that you eat can even help combat depression. One of these substances is Omega-3.
As you might know Omega-3 is often found in fatty fishes or in those supplement pills that just smell and taste like fatty fish. Unfortunately, these same fish and pills also might be contaminated by mercury and other industrial pollution we’ve pumped into the waters. The benefits of Omega-3 can be outweighed by mercury consumption.
That’s where kale comes to the rescue. Kale contain 365 mg of Omega-3 for every 100 calories of kale. Through the increased consumption of kale and therefore the increased consumption of Omega-3 you can help combat the worse symptoms of depression.
5. Improves Digestion
Kale is very high in fiber. High fiber diets can help regulate your digestive functions. While kale’s high fiber helps keep you regular, kale’s host of phytonutrients are busy combining with the Vitamin C you also got from the kale.
When Vitamin C and phytonutrients come together in the stomach they start cleansing your digestive of harmful toxins in a natural detox. Once in place these phytonutrients specifically help stop a devastating build up of harmful bacteria in the stomach.
6. Protects Eyes from Decay and Disease
For a lot of people worsening eyesight is a fact of life, but there are some substances in kale that can help slow or even prevent that worsening.
For instance, kale contains both lutein and zeaxanthin. These substances are carotenoid-based antioxidants proven to lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. These two eye diseases are well-known and common causes of blindness as people age.
7. Helps Prevent Against Osteoporosis
Doctors often remind us of the importance of drinking milk early in life to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis in later life. Milk is an excellent source of calcium, which is essential to building strong, dense bones that won’t be susceptible to osteoporosis. But did you know that kale has more calcium than milk? So if you need a great source of calcium look no further than kale.
8. Keeps the Liver Healthy
Phytonutrients aren’t just good for flushing the digestive tract. They are also good at detoxing the blood stream.
Once the phytonutrients are done scrubbing your stomach they get absorbed into your bloodstream. From their they continue cleaning up your body. They help fight toxins and bacteria in your bloodstream. By the time the blood gets to your liver to be fully cleaned, the phytonutrients have already done a part of the liver’s job. This helps keep the liver from overworking.
9. Lowers Cholesterol
Your body produces a substance known as bile acids to help digest fats. These bile acids hang out in the liver or blood stream waiting for you to introduce a bunch of fats into your digestive system. Once those fats are detected, the bile acids attack them and then take themselves and their cholesterol back to the bloodstream and liver.
Kale contains substances known as bile acid sequestrants that can help keep bile acids and there cholesterol out of your blood and liver. Basically the sequestrants latch onto the bile acids and force them to stay in your digestive system where they won’t clog you arteries.
10. Improves Circulatory System
Between the phytonutrients scrubbing your blood, bile acid sequestrants reducing cholesterol, and the Vitamin C improving t-cell and phagocytes in your bloodstream, kale is a pretty awesome circulatory system helper. Still kale also has one more trick up its sleeve.
Kale is very high in iron. This iron allows red blood cells to carry life-giving oxygen throughout your body. The more iron the more robust and effective your circulatory system is.
11. Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
Kale is rich in potassium. This mineral is key to maintaining your electrolyte balance and therefore impacts your muscles directly. And what is the most important muscle in your body? That’s right, your heart!
Having enough potassium helps keep your heart beating strong and steady. It has also been proven in studies to help reduce your blood pressure.
12. Can Help Protect Against Type 2 Diabetes
Kale really is a mineral rich vegetable. Besides being a great source for iron and potassium, kale is also an amazing source magnesium. Magnesium is an extremely important and often overlooked mineral. Adequate consumption of magnesium has been linked to reduced incidents of Type 2 Diabetes as well as heart disease.
13. Can Help with Weight Loss
As you’ve seen, kale is a very nutrient-dense and high fiber food. Kale is also a very low calorie and zero-fat food option on top of that. The fiber will help you feel filled and you’ll get plenty of nutrients, while reducing calorie intake and limiting fats in your diets. All of these could lead to weight loss.
14. Helps Combat Joint and Muscle Pain
Injuries and age can really take their toll on you body. Often times joint and muscle pain is prolonged or increased by inflammation. Overtime this inflammation can actually cause debilitating complications. Kale can help combat pain that is prolonged or caused by inflammation as it is full of anti-inflammatory agents. These anti-inflammatory agents can also prevent complications related to chronic inflammation.
15. Keeps Skin Healthy
Healthy looking skin takes a plethora of vitamins to keep it looking so good. Vitamins A, B-Complex, C, E, and K are both necessary for healthy skin and abundant in kale.