In recent years, kale has become a very popular food as its healthy properties have become increasingly well-documented. The green leafy vegetable, which is part of the cabbage family, is not only tasty but packed with important nutrients, meaning it has plenty of health benefits. Here are a few reasons to fit it into your diet.
1) It Contains a Good Dose of Calcium
An 80g portion of kale contains around 100mg of calcium, which is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, and helps blood to clot normally. This makes it an especially good food for vegans or anyone on a dairy-free diet, who may struggle to get enough calcium elsewhere.
2) It’s a Good Source of Iron
The highest doses of iron are found in red meat, but it’s important not to eat too much red meat so you need plenty of iron from other sources too. Dark green leafy vegetables like kale are some of the best non-meat sources of iron – an essential mineral which helps to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body.
3) It’s Rich in Folate
Kale contains lots of folate – a B vitamin which performs several important functions in the body. It helps your body produce and maintain new cells, keeping the nervous system healthy and helping with the conversion of carbohydrates into energy. Research suggests that not getting enough folate may even increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, so eating folate-rich foods like kale could help to protect your heart.
4) It’s Full of Vitamin C
A single 80g portion of kale contains 89% of your recommended daily vitamin C intake. Vitamin C helps to protect cells and keep them healthy, and is necessary for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue which gives structure and support to your organs. It is an essential part of a healthy diet but cannot be stored in the body, so must be consumed daily. Eating kale regularly will allow you to get plenty of it.
5) It Contains Helpful Antioxidants
Kale is rich in two plant antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which help to protect the eyes from UV light damage, reducing your risk of developing cataracts or age-related macular degeneration later in life.
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6) It’s Low in Calories
The great news is that kale provides you with all of those important, beneficial nutrients while still being low in calories. Kale is virtually fat-free and 100g of it raw contains just 33 calories. An 80g portion of steamed kale contains only 19 calories! This means that filling up on kale is a great way to get the vitamins and minerals you need while keeping your calorie intake low, helping you to prevent excess weight gain.
A quick look at how healthy kale is shows that its reputation as a superfood is well-earned. It’s one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat so if you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go! It’s produced in Britain all year round so it’s always easily accessible.
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