Kale is a very versatile and nutritious green leafy vegetable. It is also known as the Queen of Greens, the New Beef and the Nutritional Power House. It is said that if vitamins could be packed they would very much look like Kale. Let us see the importance of it if added to your diet. Kale provides rich nutrition ingredients that offer protection from vitamin A deficiency, osteoporosis, iron deficiency, anemia and believed to protect from cardio-vascular diseases and colon and prostrate cancers. It is low in calories, high in fiber and does not contain any fat.
High in Iron: Kale is a great source of iron which is required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation. It helps in the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, proper liver function etc.
Vitamin K: Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K. It helps in the bone formation and strengthens activity. Eating diet rich in vitamin K help protect against many cancers. Adequate vitamin K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain. It plays an important role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Omega fatty acids: These acids are essential because they keep your body healthy. But they need to come from sources outside the body and Kale is one of them. It is an excellent source of these fatty acids. They help regulate blood clotting, build cell membranes in your brain and protect against heart disease and stroke.
Powerful anti-oxidants: It has an impressive number of flavonoids each with its own healthy job to do in your body. They help keep the cholesterol levels at normal range and scavenge the harmful free radicals in your body. It is a great source of two important flavoinds Kaempferol and quercetin.
High in vitamin A: Kale is very rich in vitamin A which is required for healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. This vitamin offers protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.
Calcium: Kale is high in calcium which aids in maintaining bone health, prevents osteoporosis and maintains a healthy metabolism. Calcium is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility.
Anti-flammatory food: Kale is an anti-inflammatory food. Kale’s anti inflammatory capabilities are unrivalled among green leafy vegetables, especially relating to the prevention and even reversal of arthritis, heart disease and several auto-immune diseases.
Detox food: Kale is full of fiber and sulphur. Both are great for detoxifying your body and keep your liver healthy.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful anti- oxidant and there is more of vitamin C in the Scottish curly-leaf variety. It helps your immune system, your metabolism your hydration. It helps the body develop resistance against infections and scavenge harmful oxygen- free radicals.
Tips Before use: wash Kale thoroughly in running water and swish in salt water for about 10 to 15 minutes to remove the impurities and pesticide and insecticide residue. Remove hard stems and wilted leaves. The leaves are generally blanched before cooking.
A word of caution: Because of its high vitamin K content, patients using warfarin-an anti coagulant drug are advised to avoid Kale as it increases the vitamin K concentration in the blood which is what the drugs are attempting to lower.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna