Kale seems to be increasingly popular these days. In fact, my husband jokes that everything needs more kale. But make no mistake. Kale is not just a fad! The benefits of eating kale are numerous. Kale is a nutrient dense plant. Eating kale aids digestion, helps detoxify your body and greatly increases your nutrient intake. Here are 3 reasons why you should consider adding kale to your diet.
3 Major Benefits of Eating Kale
1. Kale Can Aid Digestion:
One of the benefits of eating kale is that kale is high in fiber and sulfur which aid in digestion by providing bulk to your stool. This bulk helps move the stool along in your intestines and prevents constipation.
Another benefit of eating kale is that kale contains prebiotics. Prebiotics feed and stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut. This bacteria helps protect the gastrointestinal wall, preventing inflammatory diseases such as irritable bowel disease, colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
2. Kale Helps Detoxify Your Body:
One of benefits of eating kale that is not always obvious is that kale is very high in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps to remove many toxins like heavy metals and chemicals from the blood. In addition, kale contains Sulforaphane, a compound which stimulates the phase 2 liver detoxification system.
3. Kale is Nutrient Dense
One of the key benefits of eating kale is that kale is very low in calories but has a high nutrient content. Therefore, kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods available. It contains a wide array of nutrients in significant amounts.
- High in iron – Of all of the benefits of eating kale, high iron content is the one that is especially important to vegetarians. In fact, kale has more iron per calorie than beef! Iron is crucial to the creation of hemoglobin which carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
- High in calcium – Kale has more calcium per calorie than milk. Calcium is essential for healthy brain functioning. It also helps prevent bone loss and osteoporosis. Calcium is helpful in maintaining cartilage and joint flexibility as well.
- High in Vitamin K – In fact, kale is one of the best sources of Vitamin K. Vitamin K helps build strong bones and is vital in blood clotting.
- High in Beta-carotene – Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals. The body converts it to Vitamin A which is essential to eye and skin health.
- High in Vitamin C – One cup of kale has more vitamin C than a whole orange. Vitamin C helps to repair and regenerate tissues. It also helps to prevent heart disease. Vitamin C helps to lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides.
- Full of antioxidants – This includes the flavonoid quercetin. It helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. It also supports healthy immune functioning.
- Full of other minerals – Kale contains magnesium and potassium. Magnesium protects against heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It also is needed for your cells to create energy. Potassium is required for healthy heart functioning. It is beneficial to muscle, nerve and kidney functioning as well. Other minerals in kale include copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
- High in Lutein and Zeaxanthin – Lutein and Zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants that protect the eyes against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Add Kale to Your Diet
As you can see, the benefits of eating kale have earned kale the reputation as a “superfood”. Eating kale can aid digestion, help detoxify your body and increase your nutrient intake. To get the benefits of eating kale, you can add it to your diet in many ways. You can make kale chips, sauté it as a side dish or use it in juices, smoothies, or salads. Here is a quick and easy recipe that I love to make.
Kale & Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 bag pre-cut organic kale
- 1 cup of chopped walnuts
- 1 cup currants or dried cranberries
- ½ – ¾ cup of crumbled feta cheese
- Bragg Healthy Vinaigrette Dressing
- Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Stir in the quinoa.
- Reduce the heat to simmer and cover.
- Cook for 15 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the kale, cooled quinoa, walnuts, currants and feta cheese.
- When ready to serve, add the dressing to taste.
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