Why Kale is Healthy: Kale is a healthy superfood, Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, it not only strengthens the immune system but can also protect against cancer. This is not the only reason why it should be on your menu more often!
Kale provides many important vitamins, minerals, and fiber has an anti-inflammatory effect, and can even lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This can prevent heart disease. It is best to cut it into small pieces and, if at all, only gently heat it to preserve the valuable nutrients.
Kale, also known as brown cabbage or Krauskohl, is traditionally served with hearty meat, bacon, and fatty meals. But for some time now it has been enjoying increasing popularity as a superfood – for example in smoothies, in salads, or as a lightly steamed side dish.
Botanically, kale belongs to the cruciferous family, is one of the types of cabbage, and comes from wild cabbage. This was already in the 3rd century BC. Cultivated and the ancient Greeks used it against various diseases such as stomach problems, diarrhea, coughs, hoarseness or against the consequences of various wine binges.
By the 16th century at the latest, kale, with its healing properties, found its way to Germany and has been an integral part of our menu ever since.
Reasons Why Kale is Healthy
Here are 6 reasons why kale is healthy.
1. Calcium for bones and teeth
Hardly any other vegetable offers as many healthy nutrients as kale: iron, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and valuable minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium.
In addition, kale impresses with its high calcium content of 200 milligrams per 100 grams. More calcium in vegetable form is almost impossible, apart from special wild vegetables. Calcium is elementary for strong bones and teeth as well as the transmission of impulses in muscles and nerves and plays an important role in blood clotting and the growth process.
2. Vitamins strengthen the immune system
Not only minerals and trace elements are found in kale, but also a whole lot of vitamins and antioxidants. The inconspicuous vegetable contains almost all vitamins of the B group, vitamin C, which supports the immune system, and vitamin E, which strengthens cell protection.
Beta-carotene, which can be converted into vitamin A, is called provitamin A and is found in abundance in kale. Our eyes also thank us when we include the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin in our diet along with kale. Because these protect the retina by having an antioxidant effect and preventing photochemical damage.
The vitamins C and E and some of the trace elements contained in kale and the chlorophyll responsible for the green color are antioxidants. These protect our bodies from oxidative stress. This is caused by free radicals or accelerated by influences such as UV radiation, exhaust fumes, or medication and leads to cell damage. Oxidative stress also promotes skin aging and is considered to be the cause of a large number of diseases.
3. Healthy fiber for digestion
Kale is a true all-rounder when it comes to healthy nutritional values. It contributes greatly to healthy digestion by providing fiber, a whopping 4.2 grams per 100 grams.
Dietary fiber is extremely important for our gastrointestinal tract. They support the removal of toxic substances through the stool and contribute to a healthy intestinal flora. They can also regulate cholesterol levels and reduce fat levels in the blood. They also ensure a long-lasting feeling of satiety and thus prevent cravings. If you want to lose a few pounds, you should definitely grab kale.
4. Has an anti-inflammatory effect and protects the blood vessels
Although kale is very low in calories (37 kcal per 100 grams) and contains little fat, it still provides a comparatively large number of omega-3 fatty acids. On the one hand, these stimulate our metabolism and, on the other hand, they improve the flow properties of the blood, inhibit blood clotting and have a blood pressure-lowering effect. Added to this is their anti-inflammatory effect.
Just 100 grams of kale cover three times the daily requirement of vitamin K, which protects human vessels from arteriosclerosis, facilitates bone mineralization, and supports tissue renewal and cell growth.
In addition, the group of polyphenols, which are among the secondary plant substances, strengthens the anti-inflammatory, blood pressure-lowering, and antithrombotic effect.
5. Sulforaphane against cancer
Kale owes its intense smell to sulfur compounds, so-called mustard oil glycosides (also known as glucosinolates). These are converted into mustard oils (sulforaphane) when crushed. Sulforaphane has been studied as a natural anti-cancer drug for over twenty years, and its effectiveness has been proven in various studies. In general, the consumption of cruciferous vegetables (various types of cabbage, and broccoli) has a preventive effect and can reduce the risk of developing cancer such as lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, or colon cancer.
However, the consumption of sulforaphane can also be used therapeutically in the direct fight against cancer. Sulforaphane intervenes in the division of the cancer cell and is also able to change the cancer stem cells in such a way that they react (again) to the chemotherapy.
Scientists from the University of Oldenburg and Jacobs University Bremen were able to confirm that kale can prevent cancer significantly better than broccoli and other types of cabbage. With 10 times the level of anti-cancer compounds, kale overtakes broccoli as the best anti-cancer vegetable.
The preparation is crucial because mustard oils are created by crushing: i.e. chewing well, cutting very small, or chopping in the blender. The enzyme that is responsible for the conversion is very sensitive to heat, which is why kale works particularly well in raw, finely chopped form and should not be heated, or only very carefully.
6. Ideal alternative to animal protein suppliers
That a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is good for our cardiovascular system is far from the news. But who would have thought that kale would be an ideal meat substitute due to its high protein and iron content? With 1.9 milligrams per 100 grams, kale contains even more iron than pork.
The amino acid profile of kale is balanced and the essential amino acid tryptophan ensures the production of serotonin. The release of the “happiness hormone” ensures balance and a good mood. And the protein content of around 4 grams per 100 grams is also impressive.
The trace element iron plays a key role in metabolism and ensures that cells and organs are adequately supplied with oxygen. If this is not guaranteed, our body cannot use its full energy potential and we feel weak and listless.
Kale is not only good for our body, but also for our environment
Cabbage production causes fewer CO2 emissions than livestock farming. Another plus: kale can be grown in almost any climate zone. For comparison: 500 grams of beef uses around 8 kg of grain, 11 times the amount of fossil fuels and more than 7500 liters of water. It is best to use organic goods!