It's time for another edition of superfood spotlight and today we are looking at the health benefits of eating kale, the leafy green, cruciferous vegetable which is related to both brocolli and brussell sprouts. We all know that including plenty of leafy green vegetables like kale is good for us. This is due to their abundance of natural compounds called phytonutrients which have a detoxifying, cleansing, and protective effect on our genes, out of all the leafy green vegetables kale stands out as one of the most potent superfoods out there.
Below is a summary of some of the scientifically backed benefits of eating kale and how the superfood nutrients held within them leaves can improve your health. To get the best from kale we recommend consuming both raw (in smoothies like our green beast) and cooked kale. This is because cooking damages some of the most potent compounds within the kale for beneficial changes to your genes, but on the flipside cooking it makes it easier to absorb some of the key minerals in the kale, this is why its best to have both!
The Health Benefits of Eating Kale
Kale is packed full of essential vitamins A,C, and K with 1000% more vitamin c in a cup of cooked kale than in spinach! Kale is also very rich in magnesium which is absolutely crucial for proper production and use of energy at a cellular level as well as DNA repair. Despite being so important for healthy cells magnesium is one of the most commonly deficient minerals in humans with 45% of U.S citizens not meeting the required amount of magnesium for optimal functioning. If you are an athlete or someone who likes to exercise often your need for magnesium can be up to 10% more than that of a sedentary person.
Kale Improves Eye Health
The benefits of eating kale on eye health are significant. This is due to two carotenoids called Lutein and Zeaxanthin which are abundant in kale and have been shown to act as UV protection from excessive sun exposure which can cause degeneration of sight and cataracts. A study in to the power of these two natural carotenoids showed a 22% lower risk of cataracts when consuming a lutein rich diet. These two carotenoids are also very protective to the heart and its arteries. Those who eat a diet rich in lutein and zeaxzanthin have a five time reduced risk of developing atherosclerosis. This makes a diet rich in kale a great way to protect your heart and sight, especially for those genetically predispositioned to these issues.
Kale Protects Against Cancer
Kale and other vegetables in its family have been heavily studied for their ability to protect against a wide range of cancers by stimulating our bodies to produce anti cancer enzymes. This is due to some difficult to pronounce compounds called isothiocyanates, but don't worry about the name, it is the amazing benefits these compounds have on our health which we are interested in. When you eat raw kale you get a ton of these isothiocyanates which have been shown to epigenetically alter your genes in a way that protects against cancer. What this means in simple terms is that isothiocyanates turn off genes which turn cells in to active carcinogens (cancer causing) and turns on genes which express enzymes that detoxify, and repair carcinogenic damage (cancer preventing). So by eating a diet rich in kale you can have a direct effect on the expression of your genes in relation to cancer cells and many other harmful environmental factors on out bodies.
Eat Your Kale
Eating kale for the benefits above alone should be enough to convince you to regularly include this superfood in your diet. Along with incredible protective effects and the ability to epigenetically change your genes in favour of preventing many degenerative diseases like cancer and heart disease kale is a fantastic source of key vitamins and minerals. It is also a great way to increase the amount of fibre in your diet which your digestive tract will love you for.
Whatever your reason, if you want to eat foods which have a direct benefit on your health then in our opinion you should be eating kale, and lots of it.