Gone are the days when a withered kale leaf graced a tiny corner of our dishes as a humble garnish. Today, it is back on our plates in full force. This time as a versatile (not to mention delicious) veggie powerhouse of nutrients and health benefits. Take a look at the many reasons why it deserves its role as a staple on Paleo plates.
Benefits of kale
Sulforaphane and Indole-3 carbinol
Kale is a crucifer, meaning it belongs to the same vegetable family as cabbage and broccoli. Known as brassica vegetables; all contain a high concentration of sulforaphane and indole-3 –carbinol. Two compounds that have been proven to contain potent anti-cancer and antimicrobial properties.
It’s also high in other anti-cancer phytonutrients. Including isothiocyanates, which have been shown to decrease the risk of bladder cancer and help the body detoxify.
Kale also contains a flavonoid called kaempferol, a phytonutrient shown to reduce ovarian cancer risk by up to 40 percent.
Vitamins and minerals
It’s a super source of several key vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A. Kale contains 194% of the recommended daily allowance for this vitamin in a one-cup serving.
It also provides high amounts of Vitamin K and Vitamin C for immune support. As well as Vitamin B6, which is important for fat metabolism.
Kale also provides the body with a great source of calcium. Research shows that kale’s calcium is better absorbed and used by the body than calcium from dairy.
You’ll also find decent amounts of other essential minerals in kale. Including potassium, iron, manganese, copper, sodium, and phosphorus, which helps strengthen our bones and teeth.
And the list goes on, as kale also provides two helpful carotenoids—lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds help prevent vision damage caused by UV light and can reduce future risk of developing cataracts.
In addition to all the stellar nutrients it provides; it is also low in carbohydrates and calories and high in fiber.
There are several types of kale to choose from that can be prepared in many different and delicious ways. Including Lacinato Kale (called dinosaur kale), which is flatter and milder tasting than curly. As well as red, green and purple varieties. You can chop it and use it in soups or salads. Have it as a side or bake it as a chip.
For all these reasons and more, it’s no surprise that kale has become a well-respected, nutrient-dense food worthy of many a Paleo recipe. Try preparing it in different ways—you just might count this leafy treasure-trove of health as one your favorites.