Step aside spinach and other leafy greens and make way for kale- the new super food, says nutritionists and health enthusiasts across the globe. Scientific studies and celebrity endorsements show that kale deserves every bit of its new found glory as a nutritional powerhouse.
Kale is rich in a range of vitamins, antioxidants and trace minerals, all working synergistically towards disease prevention and improved general health.
Kale belongs to the nutritious Brassica family which includes vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, parsely and radish greens. The brightly colored leaves of kale may be available in dark green, purple or brownish red colors and they are best bought firm, in season. Smaller sized leaves are tender and milder in flavor than the larger ones.
6 Amazing Benefits of Kale:
1. Providing approx 35 calories and 5 gms of fibre, a cup of kale is considered to be a good source of calcium and magnesium and whopping amounts of vitamin A, C and K. Amongst vitamin B complex, kale is richest in B6, thiamine and folic acid.
2. The nutritional goodness of kale can be attributed to the presence of antioxidant carotenoids and anti inflammatory flavonoids . These carotenoids along with vitamin A and C help in fighting different cancers and promoting eye and brain health. The luteins and xeanthanins present in kale help in improving macular degeneration, retinal problems and vision and skin related disorders. Vitamin C works towards better immunity and metabolism.
4. Consuming kale provides Vitamin K, which is associated with body’s blood clotting mechanism and bone health. Vitamin K is also known to cut down inflammation and associated problems.
5. Besides vitamins, kale is an excellent source of dietary fiber which helps in better digestion while maintaining optimum blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Adding kale to daily diet also helps to lose weight through detoxification and improved liver functions.
6. Trace minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, selenium and phosphorus are plenty in kale. All of these minerals are necessary for vital body processes, hormonal balance and proper enzymatic activity.Include a cup of kale at least 2-3 times a week to enjoy its fantastic health benefits. This super healthy vegetable can be chopped and added to soups, juices, salads, pastas and vegetable dishes. Steaming and stir frying methods are best cooking methods for kale as they help to retain the nutrient profile and also the color, flavor and texture. Like other leafy vegetables, kale contains oxalates, which may interfere with the absorption of calcium in our body. Hence it is recommended to restrict eating kale along with calcium rich sources such as milk and milk products.
Author: Panchali Moitra, published in B Positive magazine, December,2013.
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