For years, mom has told you to eat your vegetables. But in the last 5 years or so, she might have told you to eat your kale...and she’s right! Kale is a green leafy vegetable you might relate to a very stiff and ruffled version of cabbage, and belongs in the same cruciferous vegetable family that also includes cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and collard greens.
When eaten raw, kale can have a bitter taste along with it’s fibrous leafy texture...certainly a taste one needs to acquire over time. But kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods in existence, and therefore a great reason to include into your regular diet. Here’s why.
1 cup of kale contains the following:
Vitamin A: 206% of the Daily Value (DV) from beta-carotene
Vitamin K: 684% of the DV
Vitamin C: 134% of the DV
Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
Manganese: 26% of the DV
Calcium: 9% of the DV
Copper: 10% of the DV
Potassium: 9% of the DV
Magnesium: 6% of the DV
Not only does kale contain the above vitamins and trace minerals, but it also contains the Omega-3 fatty acid that is known to be highly anti-inflammatory and stimulates the endocannabinoid receptors in your body. Kale’s rich green and purple colors indicate a high presence of chlorophyll and various antioxidants such as quercetin and kaemperol, compounds believed to prevent cellular damage (cell oxidation) that leads to aging and many diseases including cancer.
The nutrient density of kale is believed to create a cascade of health effects due to it’s ability to enhance cell viability in the cardiovascular and central nervous system, protecting the body against inflammation, viral attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cognitive decline, even depression, just to name a few conditions.
The high density of Vitamin K contained in kale can enhance blood clotting ability, so it is usually not recommended when you are on an anti-coagulant therapy. But for most healthy individuals, this shouldn’t be a problem.
And last, but certainly not least, a cup of kale contains about 33 calories (4 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein). Which means it has a low calorie to volume ratio, which if you eat a kale salad before your meal, you are more likely to feel full sooner and thereby help you lower your overall calorie intake.
So eat slow, chew your kale like a cow, and remember that because kale is sooo good for you, it’s worth developing a taste for it. Kale Caesar!
Dr. Adrian Pujayana has been providing drug-free solutions for health and wellness to adults, athletes, and youth since 2000 through his private practice at Family Chiropractic Center of South Pasadena, a place for strength training and nutrition based health care.