This green leafy vegetable is being hailed as the ‘King of Superfoods’ but it’s not a new kid on the block, kale has been around for thousands of years. Historians tell us the Ancient Greeks used it as a cure for drunkenness and references to ‘brassica’ (a term including cabbage and kale like plants) can be found in Roman manuscripts.1
Related to cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and brussels sprouts it comes in many different shapes and shades. Leaves can be curly or smooth and leaf colour can be green or purple; the most common type of kale is curly kale or Scots kale, easy to recognise with its green curly leaves and hard, fibrous stem.
What makes Kale so great?
It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, including manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus, all vital to keep bodies functioning optimally. 2
Kale for bone health
Kale is a good, plant-based source of calcium, an essential nutrient for building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth; it is important for proper cellular function including blood clotting, the transmission of nerve impulses and regulating the heart’s rhythm.3 Calcium helps prevent bone loss as well as maintain a healthy metabolism and alkaline environment in the body. It may come as a surprise to know that one cup of cooked kale has about the same amount of calcium as one cup of cow’s milk4. Kale for diabetes It is also a decent source of magnesium, which can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, due to the protective properties of Kale. Research has shown that a higher dietary magnesium intake is associated with a lower risk of developing a metabolic syndrome 5.
Kale for lowering cholesterol
Kale has a high fibre content, which is essential for cleansing and detoxifying the body. It also helps lower cholesterol as it collects excess cholesterol compounds found in the gut and pushes them out in the elimination process.
Raw or cooked?
Research shows that steaming Kale is best, as the steamed kale binds better to bile in the digestive tract which in turn results in more cholesterol being removed.6.
Kale for vitamin C
Kale has very high levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant performing many important roles in the body, including the immune system, metabolism and hydration. A single cup of raw kale contains more vitamin C than one orange.7 A cup of cooked kale provides 53.3 mg of vitamin C, needed to build and maintain collagen, a key protein in skin health. Vitamin C is also important for wound healing.8.
Kale for detoxing
Kale contains both fibre and sulphur which are both great for detoxifying the body and keeping the liver healthy.
Kale for anti-inflammation
One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
Kale is one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods available; adding kale to your diet can boost your nutrient intake.