Why Is Everyone Obsessed with Kale?
Have you noticed a sudden change of the greens on your plate when visiting your mom's house? Ever walk past the vegetable aisle and think, “well this is some weird looking cabbage!” If you have, don’t worry, you are not alone.
The fitness world has always helped specific health trends go viral, remember leg warmers in the 1980s? Unlike the fluffy multicolored rings around your feet, fitness gurus in the 21st century are more direct with what we should take as the new fitness craze. With the help of science and the internet, it is now easier than ever to find out what is the best fruit to add to your weekly shop, and we are sure that kale is definitely on the list! We see it everywhere! From Michelin star chefs to sitcoms stars craving for kale, yes David we understand your pain! (side note we highly recommend Schitt’s Creek, trust us on this)
What on earth is kale?
The funky looking cabbage you see in the supermarkets is Kale, green, leafy vegetable rich in nutrients and health benefits for our bodies. It is part of the mustard family alongside its closest cousin’s cabbage, so I guess the confusion between the two is justified. Kale is considered to be one of the oldest forms of cabbage! So, in the long-asked question “which came first: Cabbage or Kale?”, you now know the truth! Kale is extremely resilient and can grow all year round. In fact, if kale is grown in frost actually tastes sweeter. Isn’t that a sweet treat for Christmas! You don’t have to stop at seasonal varieties as there are over 50 types of kale to choose from, including such quirky names as the Red Russian, Ornamental, and Lacinato Kale, also known as Dinosaur Kale. If that is not the best method to get your kids to eat their greens, I don’t know what is!
The nutritious aspects
So why is everyone suddenly obsessed with Kale? It’s not the prettiest vegetable and even though the rigged texture can be fun, it does not pop at us, unlike other vegetables like carrots. The truth lies inside with Kale being packed to the brim with nutrients, vitamins, and essential minerals. Kale is considered one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables in the world! Don’t believe us? Let’s have a look!
Inside that quirky little leaf, you will find essential vitamins such as Vitamins A, Vitamin B6 Vitamin K, and Vitamin C. In fact, kale can provide you more Vitamin C than an orange! You will also find Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, and more calcium than in a glass of milk! This makes Kale the perfect vegetable for vegetarians and vegans for their calcium intake! Do you think we’re done? Kale also is packed with Folates, Sulfur, Omega 3 fatty acids (don’t worry, these fatty acids are essential for our health), its high in fiber and low in calories! Oh, and it contains powerful antioxidants, there is nothing this vegetable can’t do!
Health Benefits of Kale
Now that we’ve seen the huge arsenal of healthy goodness packed in kale, what does all of it mean? Not only does it taste great, but there are also huge benefits from adding kale into your diet which can help prevent serious health problems later in life. Here are some of the diseases and conditions that kale can put a hard break on!
Like we said before, Kale is packed with Fibres and Antioxidants. Studies show that people who eat a high amount of dietary fiber appear to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as lowering blood glucose levels! This is because high blood sugar levers can trigger the production of free radicals (an uncharged molecule in your body that can cause all sorts of problems, such as diabetes and cancers) and with the help of antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA) can help reduce complications that occur with diabetes, and kale provides you with both of these antioxidants! Take that berries!
The nutrients found in kale can help support a healthy heart. It is recommended that to keep your ticker ticking happily, you should increase your potassium intake while reducing your salt (or sodium) intake. I know the fries taste good, but it seriously damages our body in the long run! A healthy intake of potassium can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, and a cup of cooked kale provides 3.6% of an adult’s daily need for potassium, so there’s plenty of room to enjoy other potassium filled goodies! As well as potassium, just like diabetes fiber helps us keep our heart healthy. There is a link between consuming fiber and a low blood fat level and blood pressure. Simply put, people who eat more fiber tend to have lower cholesterol which is a prime cause of heart disease. You know what they say: healthy Kale, healthy heart!
In today’s world, cancer takes lives without mercy. We are yet to find a cure to beat this killer, however, we do know methods to reduce the risk of developing cancer, and kale is one of them! Kale and other green vegetables contain chlorophyll which helps prevent the body from absorbing heterocyclic amines, the carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals formed from cooking muscle meats, such as beef, pork, and fish. These chemicals are believed to be linked with the development of cancer. Our bodies do not absorb much of the chlorophyll, but instead, it binds itself to these carcinogens which prevent the body from absorbing them. This is why kale can limit the risk of cancer. Next time you’re about to take the first bite of that steak, why not throw in a cup of kale alongside it? Not only will it taste delicious, but you are also removing those nasty carcinogens! Chlorophyll is not the only reason why Kale is a great shield in the prevention of cancer, antioxidants, and fiber are back in to fight! Vitamin C, beta carotene, selenium, and other antioxidants in kale may help prevent cancer. Studies show that people with a high intake of fruit and vegetable with antioxidants appear to have a lower risk of developing various cancers as they prevent cell damage from free radicals. Fiber helps keep a healthy colon and prevent colon cancer! It comes as no surprise that due to the various vitamins and nutrients inside kale help keep our bodies healthy and prevent various types of cancer!
As kale contains more calcium than milk, it is no surprise that kale will keep your bones nice and healthy! Research suggests that a high intake of kale may help reduce the risk of bone fractures and a cup of cooked kale provides the average adult almost five times its daily need of vitamin K and 15% of their daily calcium needs! This is great news for vegans as it proves more efficient to eat kale than using dairy products to keep your bones nice and strong!
Skin and Hair:
Your body needs various calcium and vitamins to keep your skin healthy and your hair shiny and strong. Kale provides a good amount of beta-carotene which your body converts into Vitamin A whenever it needs it. Beta-carotene and Vitamin A are essential for the growth of all body tissues like skin and hair. To keep your skin and hair in top condition, your body needs to build and maintain something called collagen. Collagen is a protein that provides a good structure for skin and hair. As kale is rich in vitamin C, as a cup of cooked Kale provides around 20% of an average adult need for Vitamin A and over 23% for Vitamin C, kale is a strong addition to your diet to keep you looking fresh and healthy. Kale’s look may be rigged but it will leave you looking at top form!
Everyone always says how carrots are key to keeping your eyes working at maximum function. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-carotene, and zinc play a vital role in maintaining good eye health as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that keep your macular (the pigmented area in your eyes) and Kale is packed full of the stuff! It helps prevent reduce the risk of age-related eye loss as well as preventing cataracts, two common eye disorders that can bring clouded or blurred vision, and difficulty seeing in the dark. Carrots are great at keeping your eyes healthy, but it seems that there is a new sheriff in town!
Different ways of eating kale
There are various ways of adding kale into your diet. The easiest way is of course eating kale raw in salads and sandwiches to provide you with a lovely crunch along the way. You can also add it as a side dish next to your main dishes. Why not steam your kale before adding some garlic and butter, trust me this simple addition to your meal serves up a delicious meal!
Wanting more of that crunchy feel with your Kale? Why not place the kale on a baking tray, sprinkle with your favorite spices, such as chili or garlic powder and olive oil, and place it into the oven for 15-30 minutes (depending on the level of crispiness you are after) to serve up some lovely Kale chips! Make sure you check on your kale from time and taste along the way to learn the perfect level of crispiness, as we said before raw kale is delicious as it is!
If you are running late and cannot make a full meal before work but still crave that kale goodness, throw a handful of kale to your favorite smoothie and voila, kale infused smoothies! It adds all its vital nutrients without altering the flavor of your smoothie much. It is a perfect way to start the day!
And there you have it! Kale is filled with more nutrients and vitamins than most other vegetables while providing various quirky ways of adding it to your everyday meals. It helps our bodies functioning properly and is a great substitute for all of you future vegetarians and vegans to switch from meats and dairy to provide you with the nutrients you need. In many cases, it does a better job than animals! It does not surprise us why the health world has taken Kale as a mighty vegetable for us to enjoy! We hope that the next time you see Kale in the supermarkets: 1) you don’t confuse it to cabbage and 2) you add it to your shopping basket to feel the benefits of this magnificent vegetable!