Kale has been hot for some time. A search of #kale on Instagram yields more than 3.6 million hits. Along with an endless stream of green smoothies and juices, you’ll find health enthusiasts sporting t-shirts and hats proudly displaying cute sayings, like “kale yeah.” A kale cult has clearly emerged. But does kale really live up to its superfood status? The answer is: you bet! Here are five of its impressive benefits, and some easy ways to incorporate kale into your diet beyond salads and smoothies.
Great for digestion
Kale is made from fibrous material, and thus, like most leafy greens, it’s great for aiding in digestion and elimination. One big tip is to eat the stems, which contains a high-quantity of prebiotics, food for probiotics in your microbiome. While they’re tough raw, sauteed in a bit of avocado or olive oil with some sea salt, they become a delicious, breadstick-like treat!
helps with weight loss
If there’s one food you should add to your diet in preparation for swimsuit season, it’s kale. Despite being low in calories, kale is rich in your body’s favorite nutrients, like Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, and Potassium (to name a few). These vitamins maintain your body’s internal composition, giving you cleaner energy and a balanced appetite.
Kale also contains protein and fiber—two very necessary nutrients for weight loss. Adding kale into your diet can increase volume without compromising calorie intake, making you feel fuller on less food.
Calcium is another nutrient that’s present in kale, which is great since calcium has been linked to considerable fat burning in several studies. Next time you go to pack your lunch, try swapping out the potato chips for some kale chips.
Kale helps with vision
You’ve probably been told that eating your vegetables is good for your eyesight, but is it actually true? It is for kale. The vegetable is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two notorious defenders of ocular health. Incorporating kale into your diet can significantly lower your risk of developing age-related eye disorders while also preserving the quality of your vision. Hold the cataracts and bifocals—more kale, please.
Offers Antioxidant Benefits
It could be an understatement when we say kale is packed with antioxidants. In fact, it overflows with them. The antioxidants in kale include vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other flavonoids and polyphenols. Other important antioxidants in kale are quercetin and kaempferol. All of these antioxidants neutralize the harmful free radicals, which otherwise can accelerate aging and even lead to serious ailments like cancer and heart disease. The antioxidants in kale can also help boost mood and combat depression.
Fatigue sure doesn’t feel good. Never. And remember we spoke of a special protein called Nrf2? Well, that can take your fatigue issues by the horns. Kale and other cruciferous veggies contain isothiocyanates, which activate Nrf2. And Nrf2 generates mitochondria, a part of the cells that converts glucose into ATP (a compound in a cell that regulates its energy). In simple terms – the more mitochondria you have in your system, the better your muscles will work, and the less fatigued you will feel.