Superfood Series: Kale

Like I stated in my last post, my focus is now going to turn into discussing superfoods. I want to help expand people’s knowledge on superfoods, and hopefully introduce people to some new food. So what exactly is a superfood? Superfood is described as a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. Kale is one of the kings of superfood.

Out of all of the healthy, leafy green foods, kale reigns supreme over all of them. It is one of the most nutrient-dense and minerally-rich plant foods on the planet. Kale is known to have powerful medicinal properties. Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family. There are several types of kale, but the most common form of kale is Scots kale. This is the curly kale, with curly leaves that you traditionally see in the produce section of your local supermarket. According to Dr. Kris Gunnars, here is the nutritional content in one cup of kale:

  • Vitamin A: 206% of the DV (from beta-carotene)
  • Vitamin K: 684% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 134% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
  • Manganese: 26% of the DV
  • Calcium: 9% of the DV
  • Copper: 10% of the DV
  • Potassium: 9% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 6% of the DV
  • It also contains 3% or more of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron and phosphorus

This is coming with a total of 33 calories, 6 grams of carbs (2 of which are fiber) and 3 grams of protein. Kale contains very little fat, but a large portion of the fat in it is an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic-acid.

Like turmeric that I mentioned in my last post, kale is loaded with antioxidants that counteract oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Oxidative damage is strongly considered to be one of the foremost causes of diseases, aging, and many forms of cancer. Kale is loaded with antioxidant chemicals called flavonoids. Flavonoids are the plant pigments that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant color. These plant pigments are one of the reasons plant foods are so healthy for us. Flavonoids are known to reduce the risk of cancer, asthma, heart disease and stroke. Kale is also loaded with polyphenols. Polyphenols are micro-nutrients found in plant-based foods. Polyphenols are known to treat digestive issues, weight management difficulties, diabetes, neurodegenerative conditions, and cardiovascular conditions. The flavanoids, quercetin and kaempferol reduce inflammation, eliminate pain, protect against cardiovascular diseases, act as an anti-cancer agent, boost the immune system, reduce histamines, and decrease irritation of the skin.

Let’s review kale. Kale contains more Vitamin C than a whole orange. Kale lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. It’s one of the world’s best sources of Vitamin K. It helps improve digestive function. Kale contains many cancer fighting compounds. It’s loaded with calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Kale is high in nutrients that prevent eyesight loss as we get older. Kale reduces inflammation, and boosts the immune system. Kale is also low in calories and fat, but high in fiber. It also helps with weight lost.

These are just a few of the powerful health benefits associated with kale. You can put kale in a salad, sautee it with some olive, juice it, or make kale chips. There are numerous ways to cook kale and it’s as easy as 1-2-3. If you’re not eating kale consistently in your diet then I suggest you do so. In my next post I will focus on the superfood avocado. Until then, load up on some kale to fight the flu season.

 

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