Kale leaves can be a common ingredient to lots of people, yet their real benefits are not known clearly. Does it contain nutrients? Is it good for our health? Long Produce can reveal new aspects about this good-looking vegetable.
- 1. General Information about Kale Leaves
- 2. Origins and Growth
- 3. Appearance and Flavor
- 4. Nutrition Facts of Kale Leaves
- 5. Health Benefits of Kale Leaves
1. General Information about Kale Leaves
Kale, as known as leaf cabbage, is one of the most popular members of the Brassica family along with various kinds such as cauliflower, cabbage, etc. This cruciferous is believed to be more similar to the wild cabbage than other naturalized kinds in the cruciferous family.
2. Origins and Growth
Kale leaves were derived from the Mediterranean and Asia Minor where it was used as an important food source by 2000 BCE. Curly leaves cabbage has appeared together with the flat ones in Greece from 4th century BC. These varieties were called Sabellian by Romans that are believed to be an ancestor of modern kinds.
The appearance of this leaves was recorded in the 13th century in western Europe and until the 14th century, the documents about classifying hard cabbage and loose kale were marked in England.
In the 19th century, Russian kind was presented in Canada and the United States. During the 20th century, the leaves were used for decorating. Until 1990, it became a staple food source due to its trophic values.
3. Appearance and Flavor
Kale plant is formed as blooming flower with every leaf same as a petal. The plant can reach up to 24 inches in a long cultivating season. The plant is usually collected by cutting the overall rosette before the stem has developed longer. Curly leaves are a feature of this vegetable. These leaves do not form the head as cabbage. They are large in size with even medium thickness. This cruciferous are regular medium green in color but the hue can change based on the varieties such as purple. In the Pantone collection, there is also a color with a Kale name. This cruciferous variety is grown and harvested in the autumn and winter.
The taste of kale leaves is strong and earthy. On eating experience, these leaves are dry, tough, and crunchy. Young leaves are fresher, thinner, and more tender.
4. Nutrition Facts of Kale Leaves
As mentioned before, this cruciferous kind becomes more popular because of its inside nutrients. Below are the nutrition values of 100 grams raw kale leaves:
- Calories: 49
- Total carbohydrate: 8.8 grams
- Fiber: 3.6 grams
- Sugar: 2.3 grams
- Protein: 4.3 grams
- Fat: 0.9 grams
Percent of minerals (based on the recommendation of the US for adults)
- Vitamin A: 30%
- Vitamin B1: 10%
- Vitamin B2: 11%
- Vitamin B3: 7%
- Vitamin B5: 18%
- Vitamin B6: 21%
- Vitamin B9: 35%
- Vitamin C: 145%
- Vitamin E: 10%
- Vitamin K: 371%
- Calcium: 15%
- Iron: 12%
- Magnesium: 13%
- Manganese: 31%
- Phosphorous: 13%
- Potassium: 10%
- Selenium: 1%
- Sodium: 3%
- Zinc: 6%
With various nutrients and minerals, kale is believed to be an excellent trophic source.
5. Health Benefits of Kale Leaves
Plentiful nutritional kinds present in kale leaves are of benefits for our health. These are some prominent aspects of this vegetable.
Decreasing the level of cholesterol
Cholesterol, after being absorbed, is transferred to bile acids by the liver. Then bile acids are launched into the digest tract. Since the whole fat and bile acids are consumed, they are absorbed once again into the bloodstream.
There are several substances called bile acid sequestrants. They are in charge of linking bile acids as well as curbing the reabsorption of these acids. This ability lowers the contents of the cholesterol in the blood. Kale is a natural source of bile acid sequestrants. This means adding kale into a daily meal can decrease the amount of absorbed cholesterol. A recent study shows that this vegetable can increase the “good” cholesterol up to 27% and decrease the “bad” one by about 10%.
Enhancing the immune system
Vitamin C contributes significantly to the activities of your body, especially for the immune system. The function of vitamin C is to strengthen the work of cells more effectively as well as promote the action of the immune system stronger. Kale leaves include a considerable amount of vitamin C. Several pieces of research show that a cup of kale comprises higher levels of vitamin C than a whole orange.
Improvement for eyesight
Kale is believed to include vitamin A. In fact, there is no clear evidence for this statement. The truth is that this cruciferous variety consists of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps the body transfer into vitamin A. This vitamin plays a significant part in eyesight. Hence, supplying food rich in beta-carotene such as kale leaves can improve the transfer of the vitamin A process in the body.
A great choice for a weight-loss meal
The calories present in kale are extremely low even raw or cooked leaves due to ample amount of water, therefore, it is easy to add weight-loss dietary. In addition, low calories can keep the fullness feeling longer. Two compounds that are useful for those who are on weight-loss dietary are fiber and protein. Kale also comprises a considerable content of these compounds. These are proved that support effectively for the weight-loss process. However, there is needed more studies to identify the ability of kale for weight loss.
Cancer is destroying millions of cells every day. However, you can completely decrease the risk of cancer by consuming food with anti-properties such as kale leaves. Actually, this vegetable consists of sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, two substances that are thought to be capable of lowering the risk of cancer.
There is no doubt about the benefits of kale leaves. However, you should consider it carefully before using this vegetable. Here are some cautions that you should know:
- Raw leaves contain goitrins, which lower the content of iodine as well as reduce thyroid function. However, using a reasonable amount does not affect any aspects indeed.
- Those who are using a type of beta-blocker medicine (for heart patients) should consume a proper amount of food rich in potassium such as kale
Rich in nutrients and minerals, kale is of different benefits for our health. However, you should balance the supplement and ask the doctor if you are on special treatment.
Kale leaves is one of the most trophic food that you should add to your meal. Picking kale and enjoy delicious dishes with this fantastic ingredient. This cruciferous variety can be mixed with other fruit to make smoothies or salad. Enjoy this fresh vegetable right now.
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