More than ever, people are looking to make healthier choices as part of their eating regime and many of those options are right in the produce section of your local grocery store. Incorporating vitamin-rich foods has endless benefits. One such superfood is kale. This green, leafy vegetable belongs to the Brassica oleracea family, a group of vegetables that includes cabbage, collards and brussels sprouts. Kale has some of the most health-promoting properties of any other vegetable.
Health Benefits of Kale:
1 Packed with Antioxidants / Vitamin A, B complex, C, beta-carotene, manganese, kaempferol, and quercetin are just some of the powerful antioxidants found in kale. Antioxidants provide overall health benefits and protect the body from a number of problems including heart disease, vision loss, memory loss, mood disorders, and autoimmune disorders. Looking for healthy and glowing skin for spring? Kale’s antioxidant properties also provide beauty benefits. Kale has proven to keep skin looking great by improving its elasticity.
2 Anti-Cancer Effects / In addition to being packed with vitamins and flavanoids, kale also contains several glucosinolates including glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin and sinigrin. When you consume kale, these compounds convert into isothiocyanates in your digestive tract. Evidence suggests that isothiocyanates may help prevent cancer and even control the growth of cancerous tumors.
3 Weight Loss / Kale is rich in dietary fibre. It also has a low calorie count, making it one of the most nutrient dense foods. It contains little fat and the portion of fat it does include, has omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat you want to have in your diet. Frequently integrating kale into your meals (at least 2-3 times a week) can help contribute to weight loss and/or management.
4 Anti-inflammatory Nutrients / If you’re looking for anti-inflammatory foods, kale is definitely one of them. Consuming it has proven not only to prevent inflammatory conditions, but has also been known to reverse them.
Kale it up
Kale can be used in a variety of ways in your day-to-day meals. Here are some ways you can incorporate it:
Breakfast If you’re a fan of smoothies or pressed juices in the morning, you might want to consider adding kale in your breakfast go-to drink. Mix it with other fruits and vegetables for a great start to the day.
Lunch Salads are one of the healthiest options for lunch. Shake up your salads and try something new by adding kale to it. Like any other vegetable, eating it raw in its most natural form has the best health benefits. Mix kale along with other vegetables and salad greens. When dressing salad, simple ingredients are best. Stick to extra-virgin olive oil, lemon, or apple cider vinegar.
Dinner Cooking kale is also healthy, however, you don’t want to overcook it. Steaming it for 5 minutes offers maximum nutrition and flavour. Kale can be used as a side to any meal, mixed in with other vegetables, or it can be added to several dishes including soups, chilli, frittata and casseroles, just to name a few.
Snacks Snacking throughout the day is important and should be done in between meals. What you opt for however, is the challenge. Cravings can sometimes take over, but rather than give in to them, consider a healthier snack; baked kale chips. Making your own is easy and the best option, or you can buy organic ready-made chips from the grocery store.
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