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Kale: A Lesser-Known Veggie Yet A Powerhouse Of Nutrients

Kale: A Lesser-Known Veggie Yet A Powerhouse Of Nutrients

Kale, or more commonly known as leaf cabbage, might just be the ultimate and most accurate representation of what a real healthy leafy vegetable is like. Minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium and vitamins A, B6, C, and K are just few of the many perks one can get from consuming even just a small amount of this amazing food. A member of the species Brassica oleracea, kale clearly has a nutritional value that beats the content of most greens we’ve come to know.

How Kale Became a Popular Superfood: A Brief History

Kale has always been popular and widely used in Europe, that’s why it is often used in most dishes that originated in the continent. But there’s an interesting story behind the overnight worldwide fame of this leafy wonder.

Many would agree that kale is indeed popular in European countries, but as to where and when humans first ever tasted kale has been the subject of some debates. But several scientific accounts have it that while Europe loved kale, it wasn’t the first home of the plant, neither was it the last.

The Greeks are believed to have used a leafy vegetable to fight alcohol intoxication. And the Romans are documented to have discovered the plant way earlier too, judging by how ancient Roman manuscripts made reference to a certain brassica. This was how kale first reached the table of mankind. After which, words about the plant spread to Europe and Asia, and since then, many versions of the nutritious plant would sprout.

But this fame lasted only until the Middle Ages as people at the time started ignoring kale in favor of a certain kind of cabbage. But World War II came and kale rose to fame again and has maintained such prominence until today.

The Amazing Health Benefits of Kale

Kale isn’t popular for no reason. There’s something about this plant that makes it the talk of the town among healthy life advocates.

Some would say, if vitamins and minerals were to be captured in one picture, it would be a photo of kale. This may sound too metaphoric and too good to be true, but thing is, they’re not really wrong. Contained in a small amount of kale are numerous health benefits you will rarely find in a single vegetable.

Let’s start with the long list of vitamins and minerals found in a hundred gram of unprocessed and uncooked kale. For every 100 g of this green wonder, you get a good amount of calories; carbohydrates; protein; vitamins A, B1, B2, B, B5, B6, B9, C, E, K, and choline; minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

Now how do these vitamins and minerals help your body? What exactly does kale do?

Vitamins Contained in Kale

As mentioned, a small amount of kale already has already way more vitamins and minerals than an ordinary supplement can only offer. The vitamins with the highest amount contained in every 100 g of kale and covers a good percentage of the recommended dietary allowance include vitamins A, K, and E.

Vitamin K

Kale contains an amount of vitamin K that is more than 600 percent of the RDA. Vitamin K mainly helps in blood clotting and preventing excessive bleeding.

Vitamin A

Containing an amount of vitamin A that is more than 200 percent of the RDA, kale is the perfect green leafy vegetable for those who wish to maintain a healthy vision. Vitamin A, as you may know, contains compounds that all help take care of one’s eyes. But it’s not just with vision that vitamin A proves helpful. Keeping the human body’s immune system and cell growth healthy is also the work of vitamin A.

Vitamin E

This vitamin acts as an antioxidant and acts as the body’s protecting agent from free radicals, elements that are potentially harmful to human cells and tissues and other body organs. With its ability to save the cells from getting damaged, vitamin E is often added to cosmetic products that are mainly made to prevent aging.

Kale vs. Oranges

When someone talks about an orange’s health benefits, the first thing that comes to mind is the huge amount of vitamin C the fruit houses. But do you know that a cup of kale has more vitamin C than a medium-size orange?

The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C for a nonsmoking adult man and woman is 60 mg. A cup of chopped kale (67 g) has 80.4 mg of vitamin C, while a normal-size orange has a vitamin C content of only 51.1. After a simple math, we find out that a cup of kale has 134 percent of the RDA, which does not fall too far ahead but still significantly more than the orange’s vitamin C content, which is only 113 percent of the RDA.

Lesser-Known Health Benefits of Kale

Besides the fact that kale has significant amount of minerals like magnesium, which helps in a lot of body processes including nutrient metabolism and muscle contractions; copper that is known to be a good immune system booster and helps in maintaining healthy bones; calcium that is another helpful mineral in keeping bones strong; potassium; and manganese, the plant has other health benefits that are not as widely discussed but are just as important.

Kale as a Cancer-Fighting Veggie

Another compound that can be found in huge amount in kale is organosulfur. It may be a lesser-known compound, but this one does wonders.

Cancer, we will all agree, can be scary. It may not be curable, but it can always be prevented. And one way of doing so is to consume good amount of kale. Contained in this green are organosulfur compounds, which have properties that help prevent the growth of cancer cells that cause colon cancer.

When organosulfur compounds break down, another set of compounds called isothiocyanates are formed, and these compounds are capable of producing enzymes that can destroy cancer cells.

Sulforaphane, a certain natural component produced by chewing kale, has been proven to be a good cancer-preventing agent. It clears carcinogenic substances in human body by changing one’s gene expression. Sulforaphane also works by triggering the liver to produce phase II enzymes that help counterbalance the effects of cancer-causing elements.

More and more studies are being conducted to further prove the effectiveness of kale in cancer prevention, but with what has been discovered so far, it is safe to say that this leafy gift from nature is about to change lives.

Kale as a Means of Easing Depression

The calculation is simple here. The elements found in kale, including vitamin B6, iron, foliate, and protein, when put together, can produce great amount of chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals, as common scientific knowledge would tell us, have direct effect on human brain and often help energize the person and ups his mood.

Kale may not be as good a listener as your best friend when you feel like letting all your depressive thoughts out, but this vegetable, in its own ways, helps someone step out of their suffocating cage. And for that, it can be considered a real nature’s gift.

Supplements

As it has been gaining a lot of attention, more and more companies start producing supplements that are made from kale. A good example would be Orgain’s Organic Superfoods nutrition powder, with which you can enjoy a scoop that has all the nutrition your body needs. Orgain commits to giving their treasured consumers medicines and supplements that are of the highest-quality, products that are made with the thought of helping create a society of healthy individuals.

Kale as a Wondrous Green Leafy Vegetable

Aptly nicknamed the queen of greens, kale sure offers more benefits than anyone could ever expect of a vegetable. From maintaining a healthy immune system to preventing cancer, its benefits range from the small ones to life-changing. It might have had a tough past, but it is safe to say that this time, this amazing veggie is all set to prove to everyone that it lives up to its classification as a superfood.


Author Bio:
Catherine finds joy in the simplest things. Her passion for traveling is equally matched by her love for animals. When she’s at home, you can find her in her room writing about her travel experiences or outside the house playing with her fur babies. Whenever she’s in the mood for experimenting, you can see her in the kitchen trying out new recipes, most likely desserts. Despite her busy lifestyle, she makes sure to spend time with friends, participating in various charity works and running for a cause.

She shares her expertise about nutritious and organic foods like coconut oil on her blog Free Coconut Recipes. Find out what she’s up to by following her social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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