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For Life - Africa Kale
Of all the super
healthy greens, kale is the king. Kale is a popular vegetable,
a member of the cabbage family (Brassica oleracea). It is
related to cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli,
cauliflower, collard greens and brussels sprouts.
There are many different types of kale. The leaves
can be green or purple in color, and have either a smooth or curly
The most common type of kale is called curly kale or Scots kale,
which has green and curly leaves and a hard, fibrous stem.
It is definitely one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant
foods in existence. Kale is loaded with all sorts of beneficial
compounds… some of which have powerful medicinal properties.
Here are 10 health benefits of kale, that are supported
Kale is Among The Most Nutrient Dense Foods on The Planet:
A single cup of raw kale (about 67 grams or 2.4
ounces) contains (1):
• Vitamin A: 206% of the RDA (from beta-carotene).
• Vitamin K: 684% of the RDA.
• Vitamin C: 134% of the RDA.
• Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDA.
• Manganese: 26% of the RDA.
• Calcium: 9% of the RDA.
• Copper: 10% of the RDA.
• Potassium: 9% of the RDA.
• Magnesium: 6% of the RDA.
• Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3
(Niacin), 3% or more of the RDA plus Iron and Phosphorus.
This is coming with a total of 33 calories, 6 grams of carbs (2
of which are fiber) and 3 grams of protein.
Kale contains very little fat, but a large portion of the fat in
it is the omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid.
Given the incredibly low calorie content, kale is among the most
nutrient dense foods in existence. Eating more kale is a great way
to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet.
Possible health benefits of consuming kale
Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume
high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and that people
with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin
levels on a high-fiber diet. One cup of chopped fresh kale (about
16 grams) provides 0.6 grams of fiber. A cup of cooked kale (about
130 grams) provides 2.6 grams of fiber.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends
21-25 g/day for women and 30-38 g/day for men.
Kale contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic
acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin
sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients
with diabetes. Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have also shown decreases
in peripheral neuropathy and/or autonomic neuropathy in diabetics.3
It is important to note that most studies have used
high doses of alpha-lipoic acid administered intravenously. The
same benefits have not been sufficiently demonstrated for oral supplementation.3
Kale can contribute to a healthy daily intake of alpha-lipoic acid
from a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Kale is packed with nutrition that puts it high on the list of
the world's healthiest foods.
The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 found in kale all support
heart health. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease
in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person
can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, according
to Mark Houston, M.D., M.S., an associate clinical professor of
medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension
Institute at St. Thomas Hospital in Tennessee.2
In one study, those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had
a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with
those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).
High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk
of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation
of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney
For blood pressure, increasing potassium intake may be just as
important as decreasing sodium intake for lowering blood pressure
because of potassium's vasodilation effects.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,
fewer than 2% of US adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation.2
One cup of chopped fresh kale provides 79 milligrams of potassium,
while a cup of cooked kale provides 296 mcg of potassium.
Also of note, a high potassium intake is associated with a 20%
decreased risk of dying from all causes.2
Because the human intestinal tract does not absorb chlorophyll in
any great amount, kale and other green vegetables that contain chlorophyll
can help to inhibit the absorption of carcinogenic heterocyclic
amines, which are generated when grilling animal-derived foods at
a high temperature.4
The chlorophyll in kale binds to these carcinogens and prevents
their absorption, thereby limiting the risk of cancer. If chargrilled
animal foods stay on your plate, be sure to pair them with green
vegetables to help negate at least one of the negative effects of
Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk
for bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption is important for
good health, as it acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improves
calcium absorption and may reduce urinary excretion of calcium.5
Kale is high in fiber and water content, both of which help to prevent
constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract.
It also contains vitamin, which promotes iron absorption, and B
vitamins, which are essential for the release of energy from food.
Healthy skin and hair
Kale is high in beta-carotene, the carotenoid that is converted
by the body into vitamin A as needed. A cup of cooked kale provides
885 mcg of retinol A equivalent, or 17707 International Units of
vitamin A. This nutrient is essential for the growth of all bodily
tissues, including skin and hair, as well as 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 cup of cooked kale also provides 53.3 mg of vitamin C, which is
needed to build and maintain collagen, the key protein that provides
structure for skin, hair and bones.
As noted above, vitamin C also aids iron absorption, and kale is
rich in both iron (1.17 mg per cup, cooked) and vitamin C, which
could help prevent hair loss associated with iron-deficiency.
Information sourced from www.medicalnewstoday.com