Kale leaves are variations of cabbage which are grown for human consumption. It belongs to the Brassiccaceae family, similar to conventional cabbages as well as Brussels sprouts. The kale has either green or purple leaves. In the meantime, kale has earthy, hearty and crispy taste. Younger leaves as well as leaves that grow in summer have the tendency to taste better with better fibre concentration as well.
In fact, kale grows better during the cold winter months, when the soil is less fertile for the growth of basically most fruits and vegetables, thus leading to the decline of fruit and vegetable supplies. At this article, we will learn more about kale leaves, including the health benefits of kale leaves for cancer.
Types of Kale Leaves
There are three types of kale leaves available;
- Curly Kale
This is the most common type of kale leaf in distribution. Its colours range in between bright green, dark green to purple. The leaves, which are tight and ruffled, are also easily torn on the other hand.
- Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale
This type of kale leaf is coloured dark blue-greenish which is more firm, scaled and robust compared to the curly kale. It has longer and flatter leaves, thus allowing it to maintain its true texture after cooking. The dinosaur kale is also much more flavourful than curly kale, therefore making it the primary variant of kale used for kale chips.
- Red Russian Kale
Red Russian kale is flat just like lacinato or dinosaur kale, however physically they resemble oak leaves more. The stalks and leaves are purplish and red respectively. The stalks are also practically inedible, while the leaves are. The red Russian kale leaves are the sweetest and the most delicate of all the three kale types, which makes it popular to be used in salads, sandwiches, garnishes or juices.
Nutritional Facts of Kale Leaves
- Serving Size – 100 g
- Calories – 49
- Total Fat – 0.9 g (1% of DV)
- Saturated Fat – 0.1 g (0% of DV)
- Polyunsaturated Fat – 0.3 g (0% of DV)
- Monounsaturated Fat – 0.1 g (0% of DV)
- Cholesterol – 0 mg (0% of DV)
- Sodium – 38 mg (1% of DV)
- Potassium – 491 mg (14% of DV)
- Total Carbohydrate – 9 g (3% of DV)
- Protein – 4.3 g (8% of DV)
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamin A – 199%
- Vitamin B6 – 15%
- Vitamin B12 – 0%
- Vitamin C – 200%
- Vitamin D – 0%
- Calcium – 15%
- Iron – 8%
- Magnesium – 11%
The percentage of daily value (% of DV) above are according to a 2,000-calorie diet. The values may change depending on personal calorie needs.
What are its Health Benefits?
- Kale Leaves Have One of the Most-Dense Nutrient Concentration
Kale has one of the most-dense nutrient concentrations by containing at least 14 vitamins and minerals at every serving of it. Several of these will be discussed below.
- Kale Leaves is Full of Antioxidants
There are various antioxidants contained inside kale leaves, such as quercetin as well as kaempferol. Quercetin as well as kaempferol protects the heart, neutralizes blood pressure, is an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer up to an anti-depressant. Those are indeed highly amazing benefits that one can get just from one foodstuff!
- Kale Leaves Contains Outstanding Vitamin C Reserves
The nutrition facts above indicate that kale holds outstanding vitamin C resources at 200%. Indeed, one single cup of kale leaves is thought to contain more vitamin C compared to that of oranges. Vitamin C is important for the maintenance of bodily cells, whereas the human body cannot produce vitamin C naturally, so it has to be taken from an external source.
- Kale Leaves Help in Reducing Cholesterol
Just like the health benefits of okra, kale leaves helps to reduce cholesterol in terms of transforming it into bile acids, which will be released into the digestive tract whenever there is a new supply of fat coming in. This further prevent the bile acids from being reabsorbed, which in return will also minimize cholesterol levels.
- Kale Leaves also Turns Out to Have Vitamin K
Vitamin K is another important vitamin that is responsible for the prevention of blood clots by activating selected proteins and make them able to bind calcium. Kale leaves are one of the best sources of vitamin K, with it containing 7 times the recommended daily intake.
- Kale Leaves Prevent Cancer
According to test tube researches as well as animal studies, kale contains elements and substances that prevent cancer such as sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol. Sulforaphane helps the combating of cancerous cells even at its molecular stages.
- Kale Leaves Possess High Beta-Carotene Values
Beta carotene are antioxidants which transforms into vitamin A. No wonder kale leaves have an exceptionally high vitamin A content at 199%.
- Kale Leaves Contain Magnesium as Well as Potassium
Kale leaves contain two notable minerals that are notably absent in other foodstuff, which are calcium, magnesium as well as potassium. Magnesium leads to a protection against cardiac diseases as well as type 2 diabetes. Potassium is important for the generating of the body’s neurological functions, which leads to a normalized blood pressure as well as lower heart disease. In the meantime, calcium helps the strengthening of bones.
- Kale Leaves Protect the Eyes
Kale leaves protect the eyes through the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin. The two of them are carotenoid antioxidants that are linked to dramatic decrease of common eye disorders, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Kale Leaves Could Lead to Weight Loss
Being blessed with nutrients, high water content and a low-calorie profile, kale leaves are sure wonderful for anyone who wants to lose weight. This has made kale leaves to have low energy of density, in which various studies have confirmed that consuming this type of food aids weight loss. In addition, kale also has fibre and protein, which also enhances digestion.