It took us a while, but finally here in Australia over the last couple of years we’ve discovered the amazing benefits of Kale.
I remember only a few years ago living in Sydney having to travel across town to visit a particular outdoor market where I could buy it. At that point Kale was still relatively unheard of, which seems strange now when you consider how wildly popular it is. Everyone it seems wants a piece of kale these days, evidenced by the amount of kale recipes that abound and it’s inclusion in so many health foods and supplements.
We ourselves feature Kale Powder as a our “hero” ingredient in our “Greens Power” Superblend. In a market place where these days virtually any food can get labelled a “superfood”, here are our top 5 benefits of Kale and why we think it truly deserves to be called a superfood.
Top 5 Benefits of Kale
1. It’s Protein & Iron Content – Kale has been referred to as the “new beef” due to it’s high protein content for a vegetable and gram for gram it contains more iron than beef. For a vegetable Kale’s ratio of carbohydrate to protein of 3:1 is unrivalled and what’s more Kale contain all 9 essential amino acids. As I written here before on protein foods, the digestibility of the source is perhaps the most important measure of it’s value. Kale has everything and more that animal protein offers and digests far more easily and completely.
2. Calcium Content – extending the above connection, Kale has also been referred to “vegetarian cow” due to its extraordinary calcium content (when of course grown in quality soil). Similar again to the above, its calcium also absorbs considerably better than calcium derived from milk (believed to be as much as 25% better). This is at least partly due to milk calcium being coated with the “sticky” protein casein which makes it much harder to liberate in the stomach for later absorption.
3. Eye Health – Vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin are the 3 most important vitamins to promoting / preserving eye health. No other vegetable rivals Kale for content of these 3 vital vitamins that prevent macular degeneration and other retinal diseases associated with ultraviolet light-induced oxidative stress.
*Related to Kale’s association with Eye Health, we recently formulated a “custom blend” for a Optometrist using Kale as the “hero ingredient”. We combined Kale and other superfoods renowned for their eye health promoting qualities such as Lucuma, goji berry and chlorella to come up with a product our Optometrist called “Vision Support“.
4. Antioxidant / Immune Support – Kale contains some 80mg of vitamin C per serving which puts it right up there as a antioxidant / immune system supporting food. Also, kale, like most cruciferous vegetables, is very high in several other well researched cancer preventing compounds, such as sulforaphane.
5. Unique Omega Fatty Acid Profile – you often hear these days that one or our major diet causing health issue is due to our unhealthy ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids found in blood serum. Our modern diets give us an overabundance of foods high in omega 6 (i.e processed foods / oils), and typically not enough foods rich in omega 3 (fish and good quality meat and eggs (yolk), along with good plants sources such chia/flax seed, walnuts, avocado etc.
Kale certainly helps correct the imbalance due to its extraordinary content of omega 3 fatty acids, being one of the very few plants that has a higher content of omega 3 than omega 6 fatty acids. This combined with its abundance of fat soluble antioxidants makes it a wonderful natural protector of cardiovascular health.
So there you go, lots of very good reasons to start enjoying the benefits of kale in your diet everyday!