It’s good for your diet.
You might have had a bad experience as a child when your mom made you clean your plate. Maybe the list of foods you enjoy doesn’t include anything green. When it comes to kale, there’s not just one good reason to eat your greens—in fact, there are at least a dozen.
If you want to lose some weight, you should know that one cup of kale contains a mere 33 calories and no fat, as shown in the USDA’s National Nutrient Database. Not only that, it has about 10 percent of the recommended daily requirement of fiber, which helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
It fights free radicals.
When you see green, think antioxidants. This is the type of food that helps your body fight off the oxidation processes that cause damage to your cells and possibly contribute to diseases like cancer. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, kale contains 45 different flavonoids (vitamin C compounds) and two of the most powerful carotenoids, lutein and beta-carotene (vitamin A compounds).
It’s healthy for your heart.
Your liver produces bile acids to digest fats and it uses cholesterol to make the acids. Because the high fiber content found in kale attaches to the bile acids your liver uses more cholesterol to replace the bile lost to the kale, with a potential to reduce your total cholesterol. To maximize this cholesterol reduction effect, steam your kale. Avoid boiling kale in water unless you’re making soup. Its binding ability is higher cooked than raw.
It may have anti-inflammatory properties.
Kale contains omega-3 fatty acids that may reduce inflammation, according to the National Institutes of Health. One cup of kale contains 10 percent of your daily needs.
It decreases the risk of developing certain cancers.
Because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, food like kale makes up a part of many anti-cancer diets. Kale also contains glucosinolates, another group of organic compounds that may help prevent tumor growth and may be helpful in preventing colon, breast, bladder, prostate, ovarian, and gastric cancers.
It’s a detoxification aid.
Those same glucosinolates also produce another group of compounds called isothiocyanates that help remove toxins from your body.
It’s a great source of vitamin A.
With almost twice the recommended daily value (RDA) for vitamin A, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database, the vitamin A in a cup of kale strengthens your immune system, keeps your skin healthy, and maintains healthy linings of the eyes, intestines, and respiratory and urinary systems.
It’s chock full of vitamin C.
A one-cup serving of kale provides 88 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports your immune system. It’s also an essential factor in the formation of collagen for healthy skin and speedy wound healing.
It keeps your bones strong.
Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone calcium and is essential for normal blood clotting and coagulation. The National Institutes of Health cites kale as one type of food rich in vitamin K.
It’s a good way to get your potassium.
Approximately 300 mg of potassium are available in a serving of kale. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps with muscle and nerve function. It balances the effects of sodium and helps to regulate normal blood pressure.
It’s a high value food.
Designating a couple of your grocery store dollars for kale will provide plenty for a family of four. Few sources can deliver this much of a nutritional punch so inexpensively. Plus, cooking it is easy—just steam until tender.
It’s fun food!
If you still don’t want to eat your greens, try this recipe. Tear the kale up into 2- to 3- inch pieces and put them on a cookie sheet. Drizzle the leaves with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Put them in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Enjoy as a snack or substitute them for potato chips with your next sandwich.
For a more traditional preparation, steaming takes only five minutes. Cut the leaves into half-inch strips and stems into quarter-inch pieces. Let the steamed leaves sit for about five minutes before serving to optimize flavor and nutritional value.