Ever spoken to that friend on a health kick and hear them talking about the deity that is kale?
Kale has gained almost royal status in the health world, but have you ever stopped and thought to ask why?
So stick around, read this article and you’ll find out a bit more about kale.
By the end you could even be like the aforementioned friend, perhaps with a lot more knowledge.
But before we kick off into teaching you a bit more about kale, here is an ode to kale for you.
Just in case you’re already a fan and want to impress your work colleagues.
An ode to kale
All other vegetables pale,
When compared to you,
They just don’t do.
Now that's out of the way, let’s get into it!
Introduction to kale
Kale is a leafy green vegetable in the cruciferous family, it sits alongside cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.
There are many different varieties of kale like curly, dinosaur, siberian, and more.
Known as a powerhouse of nutrition, it contains a wide variety of nutrients such as;
- Vitamins B1, B2, B6, Folate, C, E and K • Beta carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin – precursors to Vitamin A
- Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous and Potassium
- Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
- All the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein
- The phytonutrients - indole-3-carbinol, glucosinolates, sulforophane, flavonoids and sulfur-based nutrients
That’s cool, but what does kale do?
While we can’t go into all the benefits of kale here, because there just isn’t enough room, we thought we would give you a few of kale’s most important benefits and features.
Due to its Vitamin A, C, E and K content and glucosinolates, kale has been shown to have many antioxidant effects, helping minimize and prevent damage to cells.
And due to its antioxidant effect and vitamin K levels, consuming kale can also help reduce LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and increase HDL (‘good’) cholesterol levels.
The nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin have an affinity for the eyes, reducing the risk of macular degeneration and cataract formation too.
A high calcium to phosphorous ratio (just like in kale) has been shown to benefit osteoporosis sufferers as well.
Kale also contains a close to 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which is not common for the plant kingdom but it is for the cruciferous family.
Why is this ratio of omegas so important?
In a word, inflammation.
A typical western diet has a 15-17:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.
And high omega-6s in the diet cause inflammation, a contributor to many diseases.
By consuming foods with a lower ratio we are able to get closer to the ideal omega ratio of 1-4:1, having an anti-inflammatory effect and lowering risk of cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases and asthma among others.
Sounds perfect, is Kale too good to be true?
There are a couple of aspects of kale to be wary of that are easily remedied.
Raw kale contains oxalates, which may slightly reduce the absorption of calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Oxalates should also be minimized in those with a history or current bout of kidney stones.
All the cruciferous family contain goitrogens, which block iodine absorption in the thyroid gland, reducing production of thyroid hormones.
The thyroid regulates and controls metabolism in the body, less thyroid hormone leads to a slower metabolism.
Goitrogens shouldn’t be an issue unless you have a thyroid condition or are consuming large amounts regularly.
Lucky for you though, there is a fix to the above aspects of kale.
Quite a simple fix too.
Cooking, steaming or boiling (and then draining) inactivates the goitrogens and removes the oxalates.
Anything else you should know when you use kale in your smoothie?
Include a healthy source of fats with your kale to better absorb its fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, E and K.
Summing up kale in smoothies for you
So, to answer the question; anti-inflammation, antioxidant, eye health and heart health are just some of the reasons why kale is used in frozen smoothies and should be used as a part of your regular diet too.
It has a tonne of nutritional benefits and is a great way to be proactive against any potential future health issues.
Think of it as part of your health insurance when you add it into your frozen smoothies and more importantly if you add a few extra leaves into your favourite Super Cubes frozen smoothie recipe.
Dare we say, it’s a MUST HAVE in your diet, so make sure to throw some into your trolley today (or just some super greens smoothie cubes as they have kale in them).
P.S. Can we get a Kale yea to that!