Kale: For Cancer, Diabetes Prevention, Heart Health and More

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Kale belongs to the cabbage family that includes broccoli, collards, and cauliflower, but Kale dominates all its fellow vegetables for its unmatchable health benefits. Be it vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, calcium, protein, and fiber, this powerhouse of nutrition have it all.

Below are some health benefits of Kale, known as the “Queen of Greens“.

Health Benefits of Kale:

1. Cancer Prevention

Similar to all of cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetables, kale has been shown to help stop cancer in its tracks. Studies have reported, for example, that more than 70% of all research done on cruciferous vegetables has found that kale protect against cancer.

As per the National Cancer Institute, the secret behind the cancer-killing properties of cruciferous vegetables is that these are rich in glucosinolates, which is a large group of sulfur-containing compounds.

These powerhouse chemicals are known to break down during the digestion and cheweing process, into biologically active compounds that help in preventing cancer cells growth, which are referred to as thiocyanates, indoles, and isothiocyanates.

2. Diabetes Prevention

The antioxidants and fiber in kale may offer protection against diabetes.

Studies have reported that a high intake of fiber may help lower blood glucose levels in people with type-1 diabetes. Those with type-2 diabetes may also see improved lipids, blood sugar, and insulin levels.

Kale contains an antioxidant, known as alpha-lipoic acid.

Studies suggested that this can help to increase insulin sensitivity, lower glucose levels, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes. Also, it may decrease autonomic neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy in these patients.

Most studies have used high doses of alpha-lipoic acid that were administered intravenously, rather than from dietary sources. Kale can contribute to a healthy daily intake of this nutrient, that is also produced in your bodies naturally.

3. Eye Health

Your eyesight getting worse, is one of the most common consequences of aging. Fortunately, there are various nutrients in the diet that can help prevent this from happening.

Two of the main ones are zeaxanthin, lutein and carotenoid antioxidants that are found in large amounts in kale and some other foods.

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Many studies have shown that people who consume enough zeaxanthin and lutein have a lower risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, 2 very common eye disorders.

4. Heart Health

A naturopathic physician at the Center for Integrative Medicine from the George Washington University Medical Center, named Deirdre Orceyre, stated that, “Any vegetable that contains a very deep color the way kale does, means there is a high concentration of nutrients, and that translates into a range of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the body.”

This powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant duo in kale makes it a perfect vegetable for heart health.

According to nutritionist and registered dietitian Cheryl Harris, “Brassica vegetables are known to help with general health and, for cancer and heart disease, but even among this group kale stands out.”

This is because kale contains a very robust range of antioxidants, and significant levels of vitamin K, and a type of vitamin E that seems to be heart-healthy, according to Harris. It has even been reported to lower cholesterol in clinical studies, and increase the HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol ratio by approximately 27%.

5. Weight Loss

Kale contains several properties that make it a weight loss friendly vegetable. It is very low in calories, but, provides significant bulk that help you feel full.

Because of its low calorie and high water content, kale contains a low energy density. Consuming foods with a low energy density has been reported to help weight loss in various studies.

Also, kale contains small amounts of fiber and proteins. These are 2 of the most important nutrients when it comes to weight loss.

Although there is no study that directly tested the effects of kale on weight loss, it makes perfect sense that it could be a useful addition to a weight loss diet.

Dr. Axe

Related Articles:
1. Reasons to Include More Kale in Your Diet
2. Scallions: The Disease Fighting Vegetable and Its Many Benefits
3. Collard Greens for Bone and Heart Health

photo credit: pixabay

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