You have probably been eating Kale chips as a salad, in burgers, or something else.
In fact, people have been doing that since the 1600s. Well, of course, not stuffed in a burger or something. The burger came into existence nearly 300 years later, in the 1900s.
So, what made Kale famous even after all these years? It is crunchy, goes with many food items, and the most important of them all: it has a plethora of health benefits.
Generally, Kale provides health benefits like removing toxins, stabilizing sugar levels, managing blood pressure, protecting against cancer, aiding digestion, etc.
Did I convince you to grab a raw Kale from the refrigerator and take a bite? No? It’s fine. I will convince you by the end of this article.
So let’s jump right in to see the health benefits.
Table of Contents
- 10 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Kale Plant
- Does Kale Have a Harmful Side Too?
10 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Kale Plant
You can grow Kale yourself if you live in USDA zone 8 or above. You don’t even need much space if you do not plan to grow it for commercial purposes. Pretty handy, right?
Kale has a variety you can choose from; dinosaur Kale, common curly Kale, Siberian Kale, Redbor Kale, etc.
Wait, I am not yet done singing the praise of one of these cruciferous vegetables, Kale. Read below for the health benefits.
1. Full of Nutrition
They may look like your everyday oversized, dark green leaf of a plant, but they pack a punch when it comes to nutrition.
If someone made a movie about nutritional values, I am pretty sure Kale would be the protagonist. That’s how rich in nutrition the Kale is.
To state a few, steamed Kale has a low quantity of saturated fat and is very low in cholesterol content. Yes, goodbye to heart diseases!
An article published on Research gate states that Kale is also a good source of fiber and minerals like potassium.
The amount and types of nutrients may vary between the types of Kale you are dealing with. Let me illustrate to you how many calories you intake while having Kale.
The following data is based on the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It shows the amount of nutrients in a cup of boiled Kale.
|Nutrients||Amount in 1 Cup|
172 mcg RAE
2. Anti-Cancer Properties
Among the many benefits of Kale, this benefit stands out the most. The word “cancer” still evokes fear in the majority of us.
Kale is one of the beneficial green vegetables with many phytochemical compounds that provide extra boosts and shields to our body.
American Institute for Cancer Research amassed a list of foods that fight cancer and help in cancer prevention. They included Kale and too.
Kale consists of antioxidants compounds like:
- Chlorogenic Acid
According to research conducted by the National Library of Medicine, Kale has the most amount of phytochemical compounds that are effective against cancer, among leafy greens like kale, dandelions, lettuce, and spinach.
Kale also contains chlorophyll that prevents the body from absorbing heterocyclic amines.
Hear this out! Eating Kale will not protect you from cancer, but it has a few effective compounds against cancer.
3. Supports Heart Health
As mentioned in a previous heading, Kale is beneficial for your heart.
Kale consists of different substances that help keep the cholesterol level in check. It also has potassium which is pivotal in maintaining blood pressure.
According to health.clevelandclinic.org, Kale is richer in heart-healthy flavonoids, which works in lowering the risk of heart attacks.
To state more benefits for the heart, Kale consists of omega-3 fatty acid, which fights against the inflammation of roots of heart diseases.
The root cause of heart disease is the intake of too many calories. Thank Kale, as it provides you with just enough amount of calories.
To add to the benefits, consuming Kale also helps you get rid of low-density lipoprotein, sometimes called bad cholesterol.
According to a study, drinking Kale juice every day for 12 weeks increased HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by 27% and decreased LDL cholesterol by 10%, while also boosting antioxidant status.
So, go and prepare sautéed kale in extra virgin olive oil, collard greens, or baked kale chips to get the most out of this beneficial cruciferous vegetable.
4. Good for Eyes
Your mom must have hurt your brain by continuously nagging you about the pros of eating leafy green vegetables, like brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, and kale, while you hated them.
Eating Kale with olive oil will render your brain healthy, a topic we will discuss later. On top of that, your mom is right.
Kale supports your eye health as well. It contains antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which prevents your eyes from cataract and macular degeneration.
Mind it, these carotenoids are not found in the human body and need to be consumed from a food source.
Health.gov says that Kale contains zinc, vitamins E and C, and beta-carotene. These minerals and vitamins are good for eye health.
Moreover, Vitamin C can help slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and lower your risk of developing cataracts.
5. Boosts Immunity
Who would not love to be protected from most kinds of illness and diseases? Unless you’d want to Kale in sick at your office or school. 😉
To boost your Immunity, you don’t even have to work hard. Grab it, wash it, and eat Kale raw. There, you gave a little push to your body’s Immunity.
Kale contains many essential minerals, but one of the vitamins that are good for your immunity is Vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps produce white blood cells, famously known as cells that defend us against harmful diseases.
In a review published in the National Library of Medicine, a research was conducted and people who consumed food with high Vitamin C had 50% less chance of catching common cold.
However, that percentage goes up to 80% when it comes to pneumonia. You can now enjoy Kale, knowing its vitamin keeps you safe from different diseases.
6. Makes your Bones Stronger
You may drink milk to make your bones stronger. And that is true; milk makes your bones more robust by providing calcium.
But there is something else that provides you with bone-building minerals. Yes, you guessed it right, it’s Kale.
Kale contains a certain amount of calcium and vitamin K that is proven suitable for improving bone health.
Healthybonesaustralia.org.au states that calcium combines with other minerals in the body and forms hard crystals which then give bones strength and structure.
And one cup of boiled Kale provides a whopping amount of 177 mg of calcium. Not only that, but Consuming can also provide vitamin K.
These vitamins have many positive aspects, and vitamin K is that it is helpful for people with osteoporosis. On top of that, they also prevent kidney stones.
Kale increases the bones’ mineral density and prevents a few fractures due to its vitamin K.
Somebody should have told ‘Mr. Glass’ to eat raw Kale for vitamin K and better bone health.
7. Makes your Skin and Hair Healthy
Most of the time, your skin and hair indicate your health condition. People with good skin and hair are often healthier.
But keeping them in shape can be a tedious job. Harmful rays from the sun can damage components like collagen in the skin.
That’s where Vitamin C in Kale comes to the rescue. Collagen needs Vitamin C to provide them strength.
Also, vitamin C provides them protection against harmful UV rays.
According to the National Library of Medicine, Vitamin C plays a pivotal role in preventing your skin from wrinkling, sun spots, fine lines, etc.
It doesn’t stop there. Kale also has Vitamin A, which keeps your oil pores and sweat glands healthy.
Beta-carotene present in Kale helps against skin irritation, redness, and sunburn. And there is copper, which promotes the formation of elastin and collagen, which keeps your skin flexible.
8. Helps you with Weight Loss
Most of us are or were at some point worried about our frequent gain in the weight department.
Most weight gains usually happen because people are unaware of how many calories they should consume in one day.
Here comes Kale to the rescue. You can consume Kale without worrying your head about gaining some weight.
Cooked Kale contains meager calories and can still fill up your stomach. It has nearly 40 calories, that’s not too much for a human.
According to weightloss.ks.gov, you should try to go for darker Kales as they contain more nutrients than paler ones.
Let us suggest one of the essential Kale recipes if you are on a journey to lose weight.
- Half cup of almond Greek or plain Greek yogurt
- One teaspoon of honey
- Two cups of Kale leaves
- One sliced banana
- Ice according to your need
Blend them well and drink them. It will taste good, be healthy, and make you feel full for a few hours.
9. Good for Digestion
Did you know? In 2018 in the US, 14.8 million people were diagnosed with ulcers. That is a whopping 5.9% of adults among the US population.
Indigestion can pose a more significant threat in the long run if not taken care of properly.
But don’t worry, eat Kale, and it can take care of that for you. Let’s look at what Kale contains and how it will help.
|Nutrients and Minerals||Function|
|Calcium||Helps to close the valve between the esophagus and the stomach, so that the acid doesn't pass up the chest and cause pain.|
|Magnesium||Relaxes muscles within the digestive tract.
Neutralizes stomach acid.
|Fiber and Water||Induces proper digestion.|
|Vitamin B and C||Promoted iron absorption.|
|Iron||Helps release energy from the food.|
‘Digestion Kale’ can provide you with many nutrients that have their way of working to better your digestion, as it is one of the most nutrient dense foods.
According to the National Library of Medicine, a low amount of magnesium can lead you to constipation.
So you know what to do now when your stomach rumbles and you have indigestion problems. Yes, eat cooked Kale soup and throw brussels sprouts into the mix.
10. Supports Brain Health
There are many benefits of Kale, but this may be the most important one.
We often care about other organs but tend to forget about the most important organ of our body besides the heart; our brain.
Trust me when I say this; your brain’s health depends on the quality of food you eat.
Kale contains the following that helps your brain grow and function properly.
- Flavonoids prevent inflammation and aging of the brain.
- Iron serves as an essential nutrient for overall brain health.
- Vitamin K produces sphingolipid fats that are responsible for building the brain’s structure.
- Vitamin B6, iron, and folate help produce dopamine and serotonin and control homocysteine levels.
- Folate helps to develop an infant’s brain.
- Vitamin C helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Tufts Now, leafy vegetables like Kale can prevent your brain’s cognitive abilities from declining as they age.
Does Kale Have a Harmful Side Too?
You must have heard the phrase “Every coin has two sides”; the same applies to Kale.
Even though it has a plethora of positive impacts on health, it will not be able to suppress its evil and harmful counterparts.
Below are a few of the adverse effects of Kale.
- It contains progoitrin, which hinders thyroid functions and prevents them from receiving the iodine they need.
- It contains a very high level of heavy metals like thallium and cesium, which can be poisonous to humans.
- They belong to the cruciferous vegetable family. Some people may develop an allergy to cruciferous vegetables. Kale can be dangerous to them.
- Some people may have difficulty digesting FODMAPs. Kale can cause bloating in them.
- According to an article on time.com, Kale secured third place on the dirtiest fruits and vegetable list.
Read about whether Begonia is poisonous for cats and dogs or not in our article “Begonia Poisonous to Cats and Dogs?“
So, as I said at the beginning, did you feel like going to the kitchen, cooking kale, or munching on it raw?
Or did you read the harmful effects of Kale and decide against it? Oh, come on! These harmful effects don’t mean anything compared to their positives.
After reading Kale benefits, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to eat it. Just be careful, and this veggie won’t ‘Kale’ you.