It’s certainly a divisive topic for many.
No, I’m not talking about religion or politics.
I’m talking about kale.
Some people love it, other people can’t stand it.
Whatever your view on this leafy green veggie, there is no question it’s incredibly good for you.
You don’t need a naturopathic doctor to tell you kale is good for you, but you might not know all the reasons why.
So, let’s talk about that today.
What Is Kale?
Kale is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable, from the brassica family.
It is related to cabbage and Brussels sprouts and is itself considered a type of cabbage.
Benefits Of Kale
Kale is extremely healthy, and packed full of nutrients.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits it offers.
1. High In Vitamin C
Just one cup of cooked kale can provide 23% or more of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is incredibly beneficial, including for eye health, is full of antioxidants, and is used by the body to build collagen, the protein which provides the structure for skin, hair, and bones.
Additionally, a meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed the effects of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure.
Short-term studies found that vitamin C had the effect of decreasing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Further studies are required to learn about the longer-term effects of vitamin C on blood pressure.
2. High In Vitamin K
Vitamin K is important for bone health and can help to reduce the risk of bone fractures.
A 2017 study in the journal Medicine looked at the association between vitamin K intake and the risk of developing fractures.
It found that intake of vitamin K was significantly associated with a decreased risk of bone fractures.
One cup of kale provides approximately 15 to 18 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin K for an adult.
3. High In Iron
Kale is an excellent source of iron, which is important for a number of functions in the body.
One study, in the journal Immunologic Research looked at the effects of iron on immune response, and found it to be important to improving immune health.
Iron also plays a role in cognitive development and function.
A 2014 article in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found iron deficiency to be linked to cognitive impairment and behavioural changes.
Lack of iron was found to affect attention span, sensory perception, intelligence, and emotional response.
Finally, a report from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that iron absorption is positively affected by vitamin C.
This is important because kale has both iron and vitamin C, making iron more bio-available to the body.
Another great source of iron is beets
4. High In Antioxidants
You’ve probably heard of antioxidants, but might not be sure exactly what these are.
Antioxidants work to slow the damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules which are waste products produced by cells.
Free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which is linked to cancer, heart disease, stroke, and a number of other conditions.
Kale is high in antioxidants, which makes it useful for fighting against damage from free radicals.
5. High In Calcium
Calcium is important for healthy bone growth.
A cup of cooked kale contains approximately 15 to 18 percent of the daily recommended intake of calcium for adults.
Along with calcium, kale is also a great source of phosphorus, which is also important for bone health.
6. High In Fibre
The benefits of consuming fibre are numerous, and include:
- Maintaining bowel health and promoting healthy digestion
- Lowering cholesterol
- Weight management
- Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease
Kale is an excellent source of fibre, containing approximately 4.7 grams per cup, which is 14 to 20 percent of the recommended daily intake of this nutrient which many people don’t get enough of.
Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic
Are you struggling to get proper nutrition?
Do you wonder if you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals to support your overall health?
The Mindful Healing clinic can help.
We offer nutritional counselling to help you make smart nutritional decisions to fit yours and your family’s lifestyle.
Contact us today to learn more, or to set up a consultation.
Until next time,
Dr. Maria Cavallazzi is a medical doctor from Colombia where she practiced as a family physician for 8 years until she moved to Canada 16 years ago and became a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga.