Growing a garden can be easier than ever if you grow the right produce. One of the easiest and healthiest things you can grow in your garden is kale. Known for being able to survive in colder temperatures, kale is a dark leafy vegetable that makes a fine addition in a salad, smoothie, or as a side dish to your entree. In addition to being a great addition to many foods and drinks, kale is a great option as part of a healthy lifestyle. Listed below are 10 of the best health benefits of kale you can expect to help you with your healthy living.
First thing you may consider when you want to be healthy is to eat a salad. After all, a salad offers bountiful vitamins and minerals, is low in calories, and it usually is high on the fiber content. Being a green leafy vegetable, kale is a great companion in any salad and you can enjoy a salad mixture that is half mixed greens and half kale to gain the best bang for your health buck. If you are looking to start your journey on a healthy lifestyle, make sure to give kale a shot and follow with your energy levels along the way.
You have been told since a young age that you should drink milk to make your bones strong. This is true and it is mainly due to the amount of calcium per serving. However, one of the best options, and certainly most efficient, is kale. Kale, although a vegetable, actually contains a good amount of calcium per serving. Think of it in this manner: cow’s milk contains about 14 percent of your daily calcium requirements with one serving. In one serving of kale, you can gain nine percent per serving, which is pretty close. Consider adding more kale to your diet if you are at risk for bone disorders, osteoporosis, or if you simply want to improve your bone health.
3. Vitamin E.
When it comes to having antioxidants, vitamin E is one of the most important for a variety of reasons. For one, vitamin E protects the body from free radicals, which have the potential to shape and restructure the cells in your body. Second, vitamin E is important for protecting the heart and blood vessels by providing protection against heart disease and early atherosclerosis formation. One of the best foods for vitamin E content is kale, which contains about seven percent of your daily requirements with one standard serving. Consider eating more vitamin E in your diet if you want to improve your health and reduce your potential risk of illness.
4. Vitamin C.
In addition to being a great source of vitamin E, kale is a great source of vitamin C and a typical serving can almost get you your daily requirements. Vitamin C is vital for healthy skin and for skin repair and contrary to popular belief vitamin C is not something that you need to fight the common cold. Like most antioxidants, vitamin C is important for blocking free radicals from attacking the cells of your body (most the skin cells) and without this important vitamin, your skin would struggle to look healthy. Consider eating a full cup of kale in order to gain enough vitamin C as a medium sized orange.
5. Help Fight Cancer.
Just as a disclaimer here: kale does not cure cancer, and there currently is no cure for cancer. While there is no cure for this devastating condition, there are ways to help reduce your overall risk by eliminating compounds that may be related to cancer. Kale is loaded with compounds that can help fight off cancer. The primary compound that kale offers is sulforaphane, which has been shown by numerous authorities to be a compound that can help fight the formation of new cancers from developing. While there are no daily requirements for this compound, a serving of kale each day can certainly help to fight off cancer from affecting you.
6. Vitamin K.
Your body is composed of blood and it is always flowing in your body. There are times when blood can be thick or thin, which can have quite an effect on your health and wellness. When your blood is too thick, there is a risk that you could develop clots in your blood, which means you could be placed on a blood thinning medication. Vitamin K is a compound that actually helps to clot your blood, which is important if you have a cut, nose bleed, or if your blood is too thin. Kale is an amazing source of vitamin K, offering about ten times your daily requirements with a single serving. Talk with your doctor if you have any blood issues to see if kale is something that you should be eating.
One of the hardest things to gauge with your health is inflammation. For one, it is generally not something you can see (except when you have a cut or skin issue), but it is one important marker of your overall health. Inflammation, which can be measured by your doctor as C – reactive protein, can wreak havoc with your entire body, causing or increasing the chances of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, arthritis, and asthma. Kale is a vegetable that is high in compounds that help to fight inflammation in the body, which is vital for health. Consider eating more kale either in smoothies or with your salad to help decrease overall inflammation in your body.
8. Assist with Weight Loss.
Weight loss is a difficult task and many people tend to succeed and fail all at the same time. Many people on weight loss diets tend to eat salads to help reduce the total amount of calories in a meal, which is a good option. Kale is an excellent option that is very nutrient dense, so be sure to add some to your salad or simply have a kale salad. In a 100 gram serving (which is a good amount), there are approximately 30 calories of just kale, which is ideal for weight loss. Consider having a kale salad for lunch of dinner and make sure to limit the amount of dressing, croutons, and additions to keep this a low-calorie meal for your weight loss journey.
9. Eye Health.
Let’s face it your eyesight is likely to worsen as you get older. This is something that is common with aging and it affects some adults more seriously than others. One way to help protect your eye sight and maintain great eye health is to consume more vitamin A, which contains compounds that stop free radicals and environmental compounds from attacking your eye cells. A 100 gram serving of kale contains 100 percent of your daily requirements of vitamin A, so eat up if you are looking to maintain your eye sight. When kale is combined with tomatoes, you are set up with a vitamin A powerhouse.
10. Omega Fatty Acids.
You would think that a vegetable contains no fat, but guess again. Kale actually has a small percentage of omega-3 fatty acids in a serving, which can help for a variety of reasons. There are strong associations with omega-3 fatty acid consumption and overall protection of health and cardiac health. They have been known to help reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood vessels and they can help to melt away inflammation in your body as well. While one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids is salmon, you can add your salmon to a bed of kale to help increase the amount of omega fatty acids in a meal.