The past couple of years, the kale conversation has centered around making fun of how trendy this green is, or talking about how its popularity has finally peaked. (By the way, it hasn’t.) When really, what we should all be focusing on is why this green became such a fixture in healthy eating (and trendy restaurants) at all.
Here’s the reason: it’s really, truly very good for you. Plus, it’s pretty dang tasty. That’s why it rose to be — and has stayed — one of the most popular greens on the market. But how, exactly? That’s what we’re here to answer.
Kale is often times called a super green, touted as being healthier than spinach — our age-old standard of leafy health. Here’s why folks say that:
1. Kale is chock full of vitamins. One cup of cooked kale contains over 1,000 percent of Vitamin K and nearly 100 percent of vitamins A and C. It also houses over 10 percent of manganese, copper and Vitamin B6. And 10 percent of your body’s need for fiber.
2. One serving of kale contains 121 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, a significant amount of the 500 milligrams recommended daily intake. Omega-3 fatty acids help your body remain healthy by aiding in building cell membranes and protecting you from heart disease and stroke.
3. The good nutrients in kale help support heart health. It’s all thanks to the high fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 content kale contains. Potassium is a very important part of heart health — high intakes of it are also associated with reduced risk of stroke.
4. Kale has risk-lowering benefits for cancer. Some studies suggest that eating kale can reduce the risk of bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate cancer. It’s all thanks to their glucosinolates, which when broken down form isothiocyanates. Studies have shown that isothiocyanates have cancer-inhibiting benefits.
5. Kale has cholesterol-lowering abilities. The cholesterol-lowering ability of steamed kale was compared with the cholesterol-lowering ability of the prescription drug cholestyramine. Seriously. It’s all thanks to its bile acid sequestrants.
6. Plus, kale has so many antioxidants. Not only does it contain alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant that has been shown to lower glucose levels in diabetics, but it’s also loaded with flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol. These have been studied intensely for their anti-inflammatory and blood-pressure lowering abilities.
See? Seriously good for you. Now that you know, the whole kale’s-too-trendy issue might not seem as important. Instead, let’s all put that aside and just dig in.