Diet & Nutrition 4 MIN READ 49 VIEWS November 24, 2021

What is Kale and What Makes It a Superfood?

Written By Garima Bahal
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

What is kale
An Introduction to Kale
Types of Kale
Benefits of Kale
Kale Nutrition Facts
Risks of This Leafy Vegetable
Conclusion

One vegetable that is gaining a lot of buzz lately is Kale. Found to be a superfood with numerous health benefits, this leafy green is fast entering Indian kitchens and recipes with a promise of improved health and enhanced immunity. Nutrition experts have found that Kale benefits are many, including it being an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic food loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fibre. So, what is Kale? Read on to find out all about this superfood. 

An Introduction to Kale

Kale is a leafy dark green vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. It belongs to the family of Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli and has a delicious earthy taste. This leafy veggie has been served on dinner tables around most of Europe. However, this vegetable has never been more popular than it is now. 

This is because of the numerous kale health benefits that diet experts and nutritionists have recently discovered. It is a rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, fibre, calcium, iron, and other micro and macronutrients. The leafy vegetable also offers many healing and immunity building properties that keep several ailments at bay, making it a superfood that is hard to ignore.

Types of Kale

There are many varieties of this veggie but the three most common types that you can find are:

  1. Redbor: This type has ruffled leaves that can be red and purple.
  2. Dinosaur: The leaves are narrow and wrinkled. They are attached to a thick stem.
  3. Curly: These have bright green ruffled leaves and are most commonly found.

Benefits of Kale

You might want to know the various benefits of eating kale. Being high in nutritional value, Kale provides many health benefits to the body. Some of which are: 

1. Beneficial for Diabetics

Going by Kale nutrition facts, it is rich in sulphur, which is important for diabetes management. Sulphur aids in detoxifying and is required to form glutathione, one of the body’s most potent antioxidants. Sulphur is also essential for glucose metabolism, which helps with weight loss and the prevention of complications of diabetes. 

2. Keeps the Weight in Check

This leafy green veggie is also highly fibrous. One cup of cooked of this vegetable fulfills 10% of our daily fibre needs. Fibre helps to keep you fuller for longer, which can aid in weight loss and overall weight management. Fibre also keeps your bowel movements in check, which further ensures no bloating or water retention. 

3. Great for Digestion

Among the many health benefits of kale are its digestion improving properties. It is rich in magnesium, which helps streamline the digestion process and maintains gut health. Fibre, along with magnesium, offers several benefits to the digestive system, promotes the regularity of bowels, and prevents constipation.

4. Has Anti-Cancer Properties

While the benefits of Kale are many, did you know it has anticarcinogenic properties as well?. It is rich in glucosinolate phytonutrients that defend the body against tumour formation and alters cancer-related enzymes. Kale benefits the body by offering effectiveness against bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate cancers. 

5. Helps Maintain Cardiovascular Health

Among the many health benefits of Kale, the most powerful one is that it helps keep the cholesterol levels in control, thus keeping the heart and arteries healthy. 

6. Works Wonders for the Eyes

Very few people are aware of Kale health benefits for the eyes. This leafy vegetable is amazing for those with eyesight-related issues. There are plenty of nutrients in this vegetable like lutein and zeaxanthin, which benefit eye health.

It is also true that people who have been consuming this vegetable have a much lower risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, which are the two major eye disorders.

Kale Nutrition Facts

Many people wonder, “what is Kale?”. However, once you discover its amazing nutritional benefits, it’s hard not to include it in your regular diet. One cup (approximately 100gm) of this vegetable provides your body with the following nutrients:

  • Energy – 42.5KCal
  • Fibre – 4.7g
  • Protein – 3.5g
  • Carbohydrates – 6.3g
  • Iron – 1mg
  • Magnesium – 29.5mg
  • Phosphorus – 170mg
  • Potassium – 170mg
  • Sodium – 18.9mg
  • Zinc – 0.3mg
  • Copper – 0.8mg
  • Vitamin C – 21mg
  • Folate – 76.7 mcg

Risks of This Leafy Vegetable

While there is no denying that Kale benefits many of our body parts and looks after several  bodily functions, its overconsumption might have some adverse effects too. Consuming too much of this vegetable can cause diarrhea, bloating, or gas, which can worsen the digestive system instead of benefitting it. Also, people with hypothyroidism and kidney disease should consume this vegtable only after consulting the doctor. This is because certain compounds in the vegetable can interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis.

A diseased kidney cannot remove excess potassium. So, a person with kidney disease should consume this veggie in moderate amounts. The vegetable can also interfere with certain medications (beta blockers, blood thinners). Just like other leafy vegetables, whenever you eat this one, make sure to wash it thoroughly to ensure there are no tiny insects left on the leaves. 

Conclusion

Kale provides the body with numerous benefits and keeps many deadly diseases away. Knowing the benefits of eating kale, it is a must to include it in your regular dietary intake. However, Kale benefits the best when consumed in the right amount. Adding this veggie in a salad form or as a juice once in a while to your diet once every few days would work wonders for you.

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