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The nutrients it contains support healthy skin, hair, and bones. The fiber content enhances digestion and contributes to cardiovascular health. With more nutritional value than spinach, it may help improve blood glucose control in diabeteslower the risk of cancerreduce blood pressureand help prevent the development of asthma.
This MNT Knowledge Center How healthy is kale for you is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods. It contains fiber, antioxidantscalciumand vitamin K, among others. Studies have shown that a high intake of fiber may lower blood glucose levels in people with type-1 diabetes.
Those with type-2 diabetes may see improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend fiber intake of between 25 g and Studies suggest that this can help lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes.
It may also decrease peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy in these patients. Most studies have used high doses of alpha-lipoic acid administered intravenously, rather than dietary sources. Nevertheless, kale can contribute to a healthy daily intake of this nutrient, which is also produced in our bodies naturally. Increasing potassium intake while decreasing sodium intake is recommended to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease CVD.
In one study, participants who consumed 4, milligrams mg of potassium each day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed around 1, mg per day. A high potassium intake is also associated with a reduced risk of strokeprotection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density, and reduction in the formation of kidney stones. For lowering blood pressure, consuming more potassium may be as important as decreasing sodium intake, because potassium dilates the blood vessels.
The recommended intake of potassium is 4, mg a day.
A high potassium intake is associated with a 20 percent lower risk of dying from all causes. Kale and other green vegetables that contain chlorophyll can help prevent the body from absorbing heterocyclic amines.
These chemicals are produced when grilling animal-derived foods at a high temperature, and they are associated with cancer. Although the human body cannot absorb much chlorophyll, the chlorophyll in kale binds to these carcinogens and prevents the body from absorbing them.
In this way, it may help limit the risk of cancer. Anyone who enjoys a chargrilled steak should pair it with green vegetables to help reduce the negative impact. Some research has suggested that a low intake of vitamin K is associated with a higher risk of bone fracture.
While the human body creates of the vitamin K it needs, adequate vitamin K consumption is important for good health. It helps modify bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption, and may reduce the amount of calcium excreted in urine.
Kale is high in fiber and water. Both of these help prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract.
It also contains B vitamins, and vitamin C, which promotes iron absorption. These are essential for the release of energy from food. Kale is high in beta-carotenethe carotenoid that is converted by the body into vitamin A as needed.
This nutrient enables all bodily tissues to grow, including skin and hair. It is also essential for the production of sebum, the oil that helps keep skin and hair moisturized. Immune function, eyesight, and reproductive function also rely on vitamin A. A cup of cooked kale also provides Vitamin C and iron are also present in kale.
Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. One cup of cooked kale contains 1.
An adequate intake of iron can help prevent anemia. A cup of chopped, raw kale, weighing about 16 g contains:. One cup of cooked kale has over 1, percent more vitamin C than a cup of cooked spinach. Unlike spinach, kale is low in oxalate, so the calcium and iron it provides are more easily absorbed by the human digestive system. Kale is a member of the mustard, or Brassicaceaefamily, as are cabbage and Brussels sprouts. It is also hearty and crisp, with a hint of earthiness.
Different types of kale have slightly different flavor and nutrient profiles. Younger leaves and summer leaves tend to be less bitter and fibrous.
Curly kale is the most commonly available type. It is usually bright green, dark green, or purple in color. How healthy is kale for you has tight, ruffled leaves that are easy to tear. To remove the leaves from the fibrous stalk, run your hand down the stalk in the direction of growth. Lacinato or dinosaur kale is a dark blue-green variety that is firmer and more robust than curly kale. It is known as dinosaur kale because of its scaly texture. These leaves are generally longer and flat and maintain their texture after cooking.
Less bitter than curly kale, dinosaur kale is ideal for making kale chips. Red Russian kale is a flat-leaf variety that looks a little like oak leaves. The stalks are slightly purple stalks and the leaves have a reddish tinge. The stalks are very fibrous and are not usually eaten as they can be rather difficult to chew and swallow. The leaves of red Russian kale are sweeter and more delicate than other types, with a hint of pepper and lemon, almost like sorrel.
They are ideal for salads, sandwiches, juices, and as a garnish. Kale grows well in the colder winter months, making a good addition when other fruits and vegetables are less readily available. Winter kale usually better cooked, as colder weather can turn the sugars in kale into starch, increasing the bitterness and fiber content.