Kale: Health Benefits + Meal Options
Hail the kale! Whether you love or despise kale, hopefully this article will provide some insight on why you should include this earthy green into your diet.
Kale is described as a leafy green vegetable, tasting "earthy" and "rough". It's scientific name is Brassica oleracea. It belongs to the Brassica family which includes cabbage, collards, and brussel sprouts. It has many nutrients in it and quite the extent of health benefits.
List of nutrients it provides:
- Vitamins K, A, C, B6, E, B2, B1, B3
- Omega-3 Fats
- Digestion: Because of its high fiber and water content, it helps support a healthy digestive tract and helps prevent constipation.
- Cancer: Green veggies that contain chlorophyll have been proven to block carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines, which are made when grilling foods at a high temp.
- Healthy skin and hair: Kale contains vitamin A, which is vital for sebum production which keeps your hair moisturized, and for the growth of skin, hair, and bodily tissue.
- Bones: The large amount of vitamin K in kale helps your bone health by improving calcium absorption and may even reduce urinary excretion of calcium. Also, having a low intake of vitamin K has been associated with a higher risk of bone fracture.
- Heart disease: Fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 all help to keep your heart healthy. Kale also contains bile acid sequestrantes which can lower cholesterol levels which may be able to reduce the risk of heart disease over time.
- Diabetes: Kale contains an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid which has been found to lower glucose levels as well as increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes. This antioxidant has also shown to decrease peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy in diabetics.
Now that you know about all of kale's health benefits, let me show you how to incorporate it into your meals so you can experience all of its amazing effects!
Salads: Include it in your favorite salad! I love a good caesar salad which typically contains romaine lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, and ranch(although it's up to you what salad dressing you want to use). Now all you have to do is chop up some kale and add it in! This way, it tastes way better than it would just eating it plain and you'll be getting all those good nutrients in your body too!
Smoothies: I love adding kale to my smoothies because it adds a strong flavor without tasting too earthy. My tip is to add a variety of fruit because it helps combat the strong flavor kale has. Yum!
Kale Chips: All you have to do is cut the leaves off of the stems (try to make the pieces fairly large since they will shrink), add some sea salt and olive oil to them, and pop them in the oven at a low temperature until they appear crisp. Then they are ready to eat and taste good too!
Pizza:Super simple one! Try making a homemade pizza and include some chopped kale!
Those are some tips I use to incorporate kale into my diet, and hopefully you will use them too! I guarantee you will feel healthier and your body will thank you.