8 Health Benefits (and Cautions) of Kale
Discover the newest superfood of the stars, its health benefits AND cautions.
“Every leaf of kale your chew adds another stem to your tree of life.” Ancient Turkish Saying
Kale was once called the ‘poor people food’ but now it’s the new trend. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Woody Harrelson, and Gwyneth Paltrow are all eating kale to feel better and keep the ‘sleek physique’ needed for stardom.
It is one of the my top Powerfoods!
Did you know?
- There are over 50 varieties of kale
- National Kale Day is celebrated on the first Wednesday of October.
- Kale plants continue to produce late into winter. It is the perfect green for seasonal eating in fall or winter.
- Kale needs a frost to become sweeter. The frost converts some of plant’s starch into sugar.
- In Scotland, an invitation to “come to kale” was an invitation to dinner.
- An adult hippopotamus at Washington D.C.’s National Zoo eats 10 pounds of kale a day!
In this collection of various greens – kale is now considered ‘the queen”
8 Health Benefits of Kale:
1. Can help lower cholesterol levels.
The fiber fiber in kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s best when kale is cooked instead of raw.
2. Kale is a detox food.
It’s filled with fiber and sulfur which are great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.
3. Low in calories
A cup of chopped kale has only 33 calories. Great for weight loss!
4. Great at fighting many cancers
Kale is rich in organosulfur compounds which are known to figh cancer, especially colon cancer.
Kale feeds your immune system for protection inside and out.
5. Supports a healthy immune system.
Kale is full of sulforaphane which helps which nourishes the immune system.
6. Visual Benefits.
Kale is abundant in two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which act like sunglass filters preventing damage to the eyes from excessive exposure to ultraviolet light.
7. Supports normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health.
The high amount of Vitamin K helps nourishes those activities in the body healthy.
8. Great for helping digestion and elimination.
It is very high in fiber.
All greens are nutritious, but kale stands way above the rest. Kale has more iron than beef per calorie. Very high in in Vitamin K, full of powerful antioxidants and much more. Read all about it: Kale Nutrition.
Kale growing in a field
- “Kale is the one of the oldest forms of cabbage, originating in the eastern Mediterranean. Kale is thought to have been used as a food crop as early as 2000 B. C.” Laurie Hodges, Ph. D. Extension Specialist
- Kale originated in Asia Minor and by the 5th century B.C., the preference was for the larger leaf that developed into the vegetable we now know as kale.
- The plant was brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. Early historic records on the Romans called it Sabelline Cabbage.
- Kale was a staple crop in the Scottish Islands because of its hardiness; the Scots grew it in kale yards. Almost every house had a kale yard and preserved kale in barrels of salt.
- English settlers brought kale to the United States in the 17th century.
- Russian kale was introduced into Canada (and then into the U.S.) by Russian traders in the 19th century.
Kale is one of the ‘dirty dozen’ foods that should be purchased organic.
How to Buy and Store Kale:
- Always buy organic kale; it is grown with lots of chemicals making it one of the Dirty Dozen. The kale should be firm with fresh, with deeply colored leaves and hardy stems.
- Kale with smaller leaves will be tenderer and have a milder flavor than larger leaves.
- Put kale in a plastic storage bag removing as much of the air from the bag as possible. Keep in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. The longer it is stored, the more bitter its flavor becomes. Do not wash kale before storing because the water encourages spoilage.
Too much vitamin K can cause problems for anyone taking anticoagulants such as warfarin because the high level of vitamin K may interfere with the drugs. Consult your doctor before adding kale to your diet if you are on this type of medication.
Kale and Oxalates. Kale contains oxalates that interfere with the absorption of calcium. There is much controversy about this.
Goitrogenic Food? Contrary to popular belief, latest studies show that kale is not goitrogenic. In fact, most foods that are commonly called goitrogenic (kale, broccoli and cauliflower) as well as soy-based foods do not interfere with thyroid function in healthy persons even when they are consumed on a daily basis. Again this is controversial.
Homemade organic kale chips
Tips for eating or cooking:
- You can eat kale raw when it is young and tender – almost like lettuce.
- The kale you eat at the store will probably be mature which means it will probably be too tough and fibrous to digest easy.
- Blending mature kale will help but the easiest way is to cook it.
- Kale is so nutritious even cooked kale is loaded with vitamins and minerals.
- Many people enjoy kale chips. The health results will depend on the quality of kale and oils, plus the preparation methods.