Kale, also known as leaf cabbage, is a set of vegetable variants under the plant species Brassica oleracea. In appearance, the plant has green or purple leaves, with the central leaves not forming a head; this makes kale distinct from the headed cabbages. The plant is also packed with various health benefits.
Kale is rich in vitamins and minerals. According to Authority Nutrition, the vegetable contains vitamins A, B, C, and K. Vitamin A is good for the eyesight, as well as the integrity of the skin and the mucus membranes. Vitamin B, on the other hand, is vital to the brain’s function, which includes learning, thinking, and memory. It is also important in fetal development during pregnancy, as it prevents conditions like neural tube defects. Vitamin C is famous for its ability to raise the body’s resistance against infection and illness and it also promotes the function of the substance called collagen, which acts as cement to build loosely connected cells and tissues. With the aforementioned function, collagen is taken as a supplement to delay signs of aging like saggy skin and fine lines. Meanwhile, vitamin K is responsible for blood clotting to stop the bleeding process. It is given to infants post delivery to prevent newborn hemorrhage.
In terms of minerals, kale contains calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. Calcium helps promote bone strength, repair, and function while copper is vital for various metabolic functions, as well as the growth of cells and tissues. Magnesium is important in neuromuscular coordination while manganese plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism, blood sugar regulation, and calcium absorption. Meanwhile, potassium aids in the sodium-potassium pump and fluid volume maintenance in the body. Also, potassium aids in proper muscle contraction, which includes the muscle of the heart. Thus, it helps promote proper heart contraction.
Kale can help manage diabetes mellitus, a medical condition characterized by a prolonged increase in the blood sugar levels. According to Medical News Today, research found that people with type 1 diabetes mellitus who eat high-fiber diets, which include vegetables like kale, demonstrated reduction in blood sugar levels while people with type 2 diabetes had improvement in their blood sugar, insulin, and lipid levels. As per the publication, the vegetable also has an anti-oxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which reduces blood sugar levels, raises insulin sensitivity, and blocks oxidative stress-induced alterations in people with diabetes mellitus.
Kale can also help prevent cancer. According to Mercola, as study found that kale demonstrated the highest preotective capacity against bladder cancer, which is labeled as the sixth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. As per the publication, the vegetable is also rich in flavonoids, phenolic compounds, and hydroxycinnamic acids, which maintain normal cholesterol levels and help eliminate free radicals.
Kale can be versatile when it comes to recipes, such as Sautéed Kale. According to Food Network, the ingredients include one and a half pounds young kale (stems and leaves coarsely chopped), three tablespoons olive oil, two cloves garlic (finely sliced), half cup of vegetable stock or water), two tablespoons red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
To prepare, olive oil is heated in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Then, garlic is added and cooked until soft, but with no color. Next, the heat is raised to high and the stock and kale added, tossing them to combine. After that, the dish is covered and allowed to cook for five minutes. Once done, the cover is removed while the food is still cooking, stirring the ingredients until the liquid has evaporated. Finally, the food is seasoned with salt and pepper and vinegar is added.
Kale is rich in nutritional content, which reflects its health benefits. Thus, its inclusion to various meal recipes helps boost a person’s health and wellness.