Kale has risen to fame in the company of other dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard and collards. This group of plants gained their healthy reputation through the vitamins and special chemicals that they contain, which do everything from keeping your bones strong to reducing your risk of cancer.
NB: Kale is also an easy and hardy plant to grow!
Still the question remains: Why has kale’s recent surge in popularity begun to overshadow that of other dark-green leafy vegetables?
Kale’s nutritional profile: a star in three primary areas
2. Anti-inflammatory nutrients
3. Anti-cancer nutrients
Kale: Vitamins, minerals and healthy chemicals galore!
– Kale is an excellent source of beta carotene (which converts to vitamin A in the liver), vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin.
– Kale contains glucosinolates and their derived Isothiocyantes such as: indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane, phenethyl-isothiocyanate, benzyl-isothiocyanate and allyl-isothiocyanate (more on these later!).
– Kale also contains smaller amounts of omega-3, Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Thiamine (B1), Pantothenic acid (B5), Vitamin B6, Folate (B9), Vitamin E, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
– It is also an especially noteworthy source of calcium!
Here is a quick look at what some of these specific nutrients do
Zeaxanthin and lutein (both carotenoids): Zeaxanthin and lutein are powerful antioxidants that protect against degenerative illnesses such as cancer, cardio-vascular disease and macular degeneration.
Vitamin K and Omega-3: Vitamin K and Omega-3 play key roles in reducing inflammation in the body by regulating the inflammatory processes.
Glucosinolates: Kale, along with the rest of the members of the Brassica family (such as cabbage and broccoli), contains a number of these anti-cancer chemicals. These groups of glucosinolates and their derived isothiocyantes block the growth of certain types of cancer cells, boost DNA repair and help cells to detox!
With qualities such as these, why wouldn’t kale have its own fan club?
Watch out for our post on simple ways to enjoy kale!
NB: If you’re a gardener, or simply interested in trying out your green thumb, check out our easy guide to growing kale!