By: Austin Perlmutter
, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine
When it comes to healthy vegetables, kale may be among the best. Packing a powerful punch of antioxidants, nutrients and excellent digestive support, its role in optimal wellness is tough to dispute. For anyone still undecided, here are the top 4 reasons to make kale a part of your life.
Kale is jam-packed with vitamins. Eating one cup of chopped kale gets you over 200% of your daily value of vitamin A, 134% of your daily value for vitamin C, and almost 700% of your daily value for vitamin K! In addition, kale contains important minerals like manganese, potassium and copper.
Kale contains a broad range of antioxidants, and we’re only just beginning to understand all of their effects. For example, the kale antioxidant quercetin has anti-viral properties, and may treat the common cold. The kale carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin concentrate in the eye, and may play a role in preventing optic conditions like macular degeneration and cataract.
Kale contains good fat and fiber. Kale actually contains about 120 mg of Omega-3 fatty acid per cup, far better than most plants. In addition, kale supplies insoluble fiber for our diet, something most Americans are not getting enough of.
Consuming kale may improve your cholesterol profile. Data shows that drinking kale juice may help your lipid profile and perhaps most importantly, kale has been shown to lower the oxidative damage to LDL as described in this important study. The reduction of oxidation to LDL has important implications in terms of heart disease risk.
With all these fantastic health benefits, you should consider adding kale to your menu a few times each week. And don’t discount the versatility of this food. You can include kale in soups, quiches, in a sauté or even as a pesto sauce. For anyone just introduced to this vegetable, consider this easy and delicious recipe for kale chips to get you started. As always, try to buy organic when possible!