Kale – Latest Research Included

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Kale is a great choice for bringing nutrients and fiber to the dietin a variety of delicious salads, dishes and smoothies. Numerous health benefits include lowering blood pressureand improving digestion.

Kale is a cruciferous leafy green vegetable high in nutrients. It is part of the mustard, Brassicaceae family, and cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

This article focuses on the nutritional value and health benefits of kale, how to incorporate it into your diet, and the reasons why certain people shouldn't consume too much.

The health benefits of kale

Kale is rich in antioxidants, fiber and calcium, as well as vitamins K and C as well as iron and numerous other nutrients that aid in preventing various health issues.

Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association recommends consuming food items that are high in:

  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • Fiber
  • antioxidants

There is evidence suggesting that some of these, such as those present in kale, might protect against diabetes.

A study in 2018 found that those who ate higher levels of dietary fiber were found to be less at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. Consuming fiber from dietary sources could reduce blood sugar levels.

Heart disease

Various nutrients in kale may support heart health.

The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests increasing consumption of potassium and decreasing the consumption of salt that is added or sodium. This could decrease the chance of developing hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. cup (130 grams) of cooked kale contains the equivalent of 485 milligrams (mg) of potassium.

A report from 2019 suggests the possibility of a link between eating fiber, and having lower blood cholesterol (fat) levels as well as blood pressure. The people who ate greater amounts of fiber are more likely be lower in total cholesterol as well as lower-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. A cup of kale has 5.72 grams of fiber.

Cancer

Antioxidants aid in the elimination of toxins in the body that result from natural processes and environmental stressors.

The toxins, commonly referred to as free radicals, can be unstable substances. If they are too numerous within our bodies, they may result in cell damage. This can lead to issues with health, like inflammation. Free radicals can be involved in the development of diseases like cancer.

Bone health

Certain 2017 studies suggest that a diet high in vitamin K could help lower the chance of fractures in bones.

Leafy green vegetables, such as Kale are rich in Vitamin K. One cup of cooked kale provides 544 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K. The daily recommended dose of vitamin K ranges from 75-120 mg.

Constipation

Kale is a great source of both water and fiber. It could be beneficial in helping to ease constipation mildly, and also for promoting regularity and the health of your digestive tract.

Hair and skin

Kale is a rich food source for beta carotene the carotenoid body transforms into vitamin A when it requires it.

Vitamin A and beta carotene are vital to maintaining and growing all tissues in the body, including hair and skin.

Vitamin C is used by the body to create and keep collagen which is a protein that creates structure to hair, skin and bones. Vitamin C is found in Kale.

Eye health

Kale is a source of lutein and zeaxanthin which is an antioxidant which may reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Vitamin C, vitamin E beta-carotene, and zinc contribute to your eyes' health. All of them are found in Kale.

Nutrition

The table below shows the amount of each nutrient in a cup of cooked fresh kale, weighing around 130 g, without added fat.

It also shows how much on average an adult needs of each nutrient, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020–2025. Requirements may vary according to the individual’s sex and age.

Nutrient Amount in 1 cup of cooked fresh kale:

  • Energy (calories): 49.4 kcal
  • Carbohydrate (g): 6.16 g
  • Fiber (g): 5.72 g
  • Protein (g): 4.07 g
  • Calcium (mg): 354 mg
  • Iron (mg): 2.24 mg
  • Magnesium (mg): 45.5 mg
  • Phosphorus (mg): 76.7 mg
  • Potassium (mg): 485 mg
  • Sodium (mg): 235 mg
  • Zinc (mg): 0.546 mg
  • Vitamin C (mg): 91.1 mg
  • Folate (mcg): 65 mcg
  • Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) (mg): 0.923 mg
  • Vitamin K (mcg): 544 mcg
  • Vitamin A (mcg retinol activity equivalents): 318 mcg RAE

Daily Nutritional Requirements for Adults:

  • Energy (calories): 1,800–2,400 kcal
  • Carbohydrate (g): 130 g
  • Fiber (g): 22–34 g
  • Protein (g): 46–56 g
  • Calcium (mg): 1,000–1,300 mg
  • Iron (mg): 8–18 mg
  • Magnesium (mg): 310–420 mg
  • Phosphorus (mg): 700 mg
  • Potassium (mg): 2,300–3,400 mg
  • Sodium (mg): 2,300 mg
  • Zinc (mg): 8–11 mg
  • Vitamin C (mg): 75–90
  • Folate (mcg): 400
  • Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) (mg): 15 mg
  • Vitamin K (mcg): 75–120 mcg
  • Vitamin A (mcg retinol activity equivalents): 700–900 mcg RAE

How do I prepare and serve various types of Kale

Kale is a hearty and crisp vegetable that has an earthy flavor. The flavor and nutritional value differ between varieties. Leaves that have been young and in summer are generally less bitter and brittle.

Curly curly

Curly Kale is the most frequently offered variety. It's typically light green or dark green or purple, and has tight curly leaves which are simple to tear.

To take the leaves off the stalk that is fibrous by running your hands along the stalk towards the direction of growth.

Lacinato or dinosaur Lacinato or dinosaur

Lacinato or dinosaur Kale is a dark blue-green kind of kale that is more firm and more durable than curly KaleIt is also known as dinosaur kale due to its smooth texture.

The leaves are generally shorter and flatter, and retain their texture even after cooking. A little less bitter than curly Kale, dinosaur kale can be perfect for making kale chips.

Red Russian kale

Red Russian kale is a flat-leaf variety that appears somewhat like oak leaves. The stalks are a little purple and the leaves are reddish tint.

Some people find the stalks too fibrous to eat. However, the leaves are delicate and sweet, with a hint of lemon and pepper, similar to sorrel. You can use them raw in salads, sandwiches, juices, or even as garnish.

Other cooking and serving tips

Kale is a great choice during the colder winter monthsand is an excellent addition to the menu to other fruits and vegetables that are not easily available.

Preparing winter-kale in the kitchen is recommended because colder temperatures can change the sugars of kale into starch, causing bitterness and fiber.

Kale is a popular vegetable to eat raw or braise, steam sautee, boil, or steam it. You can also add it to casseroles and soups. Other suggestions for servings include:

  • Raw A quick squeezing of the leaves with your hands for a few seconds can help them digest more easily. Mix them into salads sandwich, wraps, sandwiches or smoothies.
  • A side dish Sauté fresh onions and garlic in oil to make them they are soft. Add kale and cook until you are satisfied with the tenderness. Alternately, steam for 5 minutes after which drain and stir in a bit of tahini and soy sauce.
  • Kale chips Remove the ribs off of the kale. Toss with olive oil, or drizzle lightly with spray. Sprinkle on mixture of curry powder, cumin chili powder or roasting red pepper flakes and garlic powder. Bake at 275 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes until the desired crispness.
  • Smoothies Include a small amount of kale into your favourite smoothie. It'll provide nutrients without altering the flavor too significantly.

Kale's risks

The Environmental Working Group, which evaluates a variety of items every year, ranked kale as third on their list of 2023 fruit and vegetables that are at the highest risk of contamination by pesticides. Kale should be thoroughly cleaned prior to applying it.

Certain people should stay clear of eating too much kale when it comes to the following situations:

  • Beta blockers Doctors frequently prescribe this kind of medicine for heart problems. They can raise the level of potassium in blood because they inhibit potassium channel. Beta blockers are a good choice for those consuming foods with high potassium levels like kale in moderate amounts.
  • Kidney diseases Consuming too much potassium may be detrimental to those whose kidneys aren't functioning at their full capacityIf kidneys aren't able to remove excess potassium from bloodstream, the consumption of additional potassium is a risk.
  • Thickeners of blood: Kale is a abundant supply of Vitamin K which is responsible for blood clotting. This may hinder the function of blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin).

Frequently asked questions

Here are some commonly asked questions regarding kale.

Can you consume kale on a daily basis?

Because kale has a wide range of nutrients, people is able to consume it frequently in a balanced diet. Some people, however, may have to limit the amount of Kale they consume. This includes people who are who are taking beta blockers or blood thinners as well individuals suffering from kidney disease.

What is the best method to consume the kale?

There are a variety of ways to eat kaleIt can be eaten raw, braiseboilsteam, sautee, or boil it. Kale can be a great appetizer and can provide nutrients to smoothies.

Does kale have more benefits than spinach?

Both kale and spinach supply various nutrients and provide numerous health benefits. You can talk to your physician or a registered dietitian to determine which is better for your specific needs.

Summary

Kale is an energizing green plant that offers a variety of nutrients. Its health benefits may include reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, preventing cardiovascular disease, and assisting in preventing constipation. Kale could also aid in improving skin, bone, and hair health.

Kale is a nutritious supplement to a varied diet, and one can utilize it in a variety of ways. The preparation method for kale will be based on the variety of kale they are using; however, you could incorporate it into salads, bake the kale into chips, or add the kale to their smoothies.

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