Kale. You see it everywhere. Superfood. Rich in Iron. Savior of the universe. Why is Kale called all these grandiose names? Why does it seem like everyone from surfers to soccer moms are looking amorously towards this curly leaf? Should I be too?
To start off with, Kale isn’t just some mystery food that showed up out of no where. Kale is part of the cabbage family of leafy greens. Dark green veggies like Kale, cabbage, and spinach are all very important to our hair and skin health. Kale stands away from its relatives in several ways.
Kale is very low in calories, very high in fiber, and has no fat. Research has shown that a diet high in fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels in individuals suffering from Diabetes, as well as improve lipid and insulin levels. Kale is a great source of an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which is uniquely known for helping regulate glucose and insulin levels. The high fiber and water content in Kale helps with digestion and promotes regularity and a healthy GI tract. A diet high in fiber is also a great means of maintaining a healthy body weight.
Kale is also a great source of Iron. One of the most difficult nutrients for a vegetarian to get enough of is Iron. Usually found in meat, Iron is necessary to develop healthy blood cells and hemoglobin. Kale has become known as a vegetarians best friend because of its high iron content. Iron deficiency is also a common cause for hair loss.
Kale is also a good source of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is becoming known as a way of supporting healthy bone growth. Vitamin K helps with the bodies absorption of Calcium. One cup of Kale contains nearly 700% of the daily requirements of vitamin K. Recent findings even show Vitamin K as a help to people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Kale is a great source of antioxidants. Just as alpha-lipoic acid is known for helping with diabetes, other antioxidants found in Kale are thought to help prevent the effects of free radicals and carcinogens that can lead to the development of cancer.
What are these surfers and soccer moms doing with all these leaves? Kale has become common in everything from soups to salads, and provides a great, rich flavor to any dish. You can find kale chips as an alternative to greasy potato chips, or as a hearty replacement for lettuce in a sandwich. Check out some favorite Kale recipes here.