Kale belongs to the cabbage family and comes in two varities. One has smooth leaves and the other more common variety comes with leaves that are wrinkled and is known as curly kale. Kale leaves do not form heads instead they develop on top of individual stems. They are usually dark green colored but at times also have blue or purple ting to them.
Kale along with other cruciferous vegetables is thought to be goiter causing if taken in excessive amounts. However, used in moderation with a well-balanced diet, it offers more benefits than harm.
Bone Forming Kale Smoothie
- 1 avocado
- A generous handful of kale
- 1 cup pineapple pieces
- 1 small cucumber
- 250ml coconut water
Wash the kale thoroughly, peel and dice the cucumber, pineapple and avocado. Place all the fruit and vegetables in a blender, top off with the coconut water and blend to smoothness.
One cup of kale contains only 36 calories and delivers a whopping 5 grams of fiber along with many vital vitamins and antioxidants. Research shows that the vegetable contains 45 flavonoids offering numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Furthermore, the USDA National Nutrient data base reports that only 100 grams of kale supplies more than 650% of the daily requirement of vitamin K, more than 500% of vitamin A, 200% vitamin C, in addition to small amounts of folates, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and thiamin. It also delivers a range of minerals like copper, manganese, iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Trace amounts of zinc, and selenium are also present.
Health Benefits of Kale
New research shows the many benefits of kale. The broad spectrum of antioxidants present and very high amounts of vitamin K along with a kind of vitamin E have been shown to reduce cholesterol and perhaps also play a role in lowering the risks of some cancers. The indole-3-carbinol in kale has a role in the way estrogen is metabolized in the body which offers natural protection against breast cancer and other estrogen-dominant diseases like endometriosis or fibroids.
The elevated amounts of vitamin C increases metabolism to help with weight loss and strengthens the immune system by fighting viruses and bacteria. Kale contains more iron than beef, which is good news for vegans as iron aids in supplying more oxygen to the blood and fighting anemia. A healthy balance of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids in kale helps to fight autoimmune diseases like arthritis and asthma while the folic acid and vitamin B6 offer cardiovascular benefits to fight heart disease.