Health Benefits of Kale

Health Benefits of KaleI’ll admit that I went through the majority of my life having never tried kale. So when I heard Joe Rogan on his podcast talking about how he eats it everyday, I had to do a little investigating of my own to see what was so special about kale. Turns out it’s one of the most nutritious vegetables there is, packing an incredible amount of vitamins and nutrients into its thick green leaves.

When most people start dieting the things they look out for are fat and calories. Kale has zero fat and less than 40 calories for an entire cup, and provides you with five grams of fiber to help keep your digestive system moving along. Per calorie, kale also has more iron than beef, which is an integral component to a healthy body and mind, as iron aids in liver function and the transportation of oxygen throughout our bodies.

Sure, kale is starting to sound a lot better than beef if you’re concerned with iron, but what about calcium? Compared to milk, kale has more of that per calorie as well. Not to mention it’s packed with vitamin A (great for your vision and skin), vitamin C (for fighting off illness, boosting your metabolism, and keeping you hydrated), and vitamin K (fights cancer, blood clotting, and promotes bone strength).

Kale is also packed with antioxidants and is great for detoxifying your body. Its abundance of beta carotene makes kale the ideal choice for those with a distaste for carrots but still desire the cancer and heart disease-fighting benefits that beta carotene offers.

What is Kale?

What is Kale?Despite appearing like a type of lettuce, kale is actually cabbage, though it doesn’t form a head like a green or purple cabbage does. Being a part of the cabbage family explains why kale has a much thicker texture than romaine or green leaf lettuce does, and why its bitter taste is a noticeably stronger than the aforementioned lettuces. For these reasons, kale is a less than ideal candidate for your next Caesar salad.

Ideas for Preparing Kale
That’s not to say that kale can’t be used in a salad. There are many ways to prepare kale to make it more appetizing to the palate. Blanching and freezing will cause the kale to become sweeter and more flavorful, and allow you to keep it longer. Blending kale in a smoothie or shake is another popular way to consume kale. It’s also possible to bake or dehydrate kale as a healthy alternative to potato chips.

On the topic of health, kale is a very nutrient-dense food, which is the reason why I added kale to my diet and start each day with a kale shake. As someone who rarely eats vegetables, I appreciate how affordable kale is, how much kale you actually get for just a few dollars, and how easily I can sneak it into my diet. In addition to shakes, I make wraps with it, kale chips, and I eat it raw with a little bit of olive oil and Himalayan salt.