Is kale good for weight loss? Well, most of you prefer sweet foods to greens in your diet. But if you’re looking to improve your health and perhaps lose some excess pounds, the more kale you eat, the better. This green, leafy superfood not only helps weight loss but has a host of health benefits from helping cancer, skin health, heart health, and more.
But what is kale for starters?
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable belonging to the family “Brassica oleracea”. This is the same family of broccoli, collard greens, and cabbage. Kale is grown for its edible leaves, although some use it as an ornament. Kale is native to the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor, where it was cultivated for food beginning by 2000 BC.
What is the nutritional value for kale?
Eating kale will make you feel good and look healthier. This is because kale will provide your body with many nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, as indicated by the NutritionData.
- Vitamins: Vitamin K, A, C, B6, and E
- Minerals such as magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorous, potassium and calcium
Boiling raw kale will deplete most of these nutrients, leaving maybe vitamins A, C, and K, and manganese.
Is kale good for weight loss?
The short answer to the question “is kale good for weight loss” is yes, kale will help you lose weight in any of the following ways;
Acts as an appetite suppressant
Kale contains a good amount of fiber and protein. The fiber and protein will help you feel full longer and prevent overeating hence weight loss.
Kale is a low-calorie food
To lose weight, one has to burn more calories than they consume. With low-calorie density foods, you feel full before you have eaten too many calories, and this aids weight loss. This is common with most vegetables.
High in water content and isothiocyanates
Kale’s high water content increases your frequency of urination and this helps the body to flush out excess water weight. Also, the isothiocyanates help to ramp-up your body’s detoxifying power, which is one of the ways to lose weight.
Learn how water aids weight loss from our article “facts about drinking water for weight loss“.
Kale is nutrient-dense and eating kale replaces many empty calories and fatty foods that normally increase the risk of overweight.
How do we add kale to our diet?
Adding kale to our diet is very simple. Here are some of our favorite ways you can get the best out of kale.
Eat kale raw: Slice it finely and add it to salads with some sweet elements like apples to offset kale’s natural bitterness.
Make kale chips: Chop the kale into pieces of say 2 by 2, toss in olive oil, sprinkle with your favorite spice combination, and bake for 15-30 minutes until crispy.
Make kale smoothies: Simply put blueberries, oranges, apple, a carrot, and two leaves of kale to the blender, blend, and enjoy. Here are more smoothies for weight loss that you may need to learn about.
Add kale to the soup: Adding kale to any vegetable or bean-based soup will infuse the nutrients in the whole pot.
Make kale juice: you can blend kale alone in a blender with some water to make kale juice.
Mix kale with pasta: Simply make thin slices of kale and with a portion of drained, cooked pasta and serve with marinara sauce.
Sauté Kale: Sauté kale in olive oil with sea salt for a minute and serve it with chicken breast or turkey.
How much kale should I eat a day to get health benefits?
Years back, there were rumors that kale could be poisonous because the root system absorbs a heavy metal in the soil, lead and that too much of the vegetable would lead to high toxins of the metal in the blood system.
However, these claims were disqualified by the 2008 study that indicated that for one to get the toxin in the blood, they would have to eat close to 154 pounds of kale, a quantity that is hard to reach at any dietary level.
The truth is that eating too much of anything is not good for you. Too much of the fiber in kale may disrupt your gastrointestinal tract and other related effects. So, kale should be used in moderation.
Lauren Manganiello, MS, RD, CDN, ACE-CPT, a sports performance registered dietitian nutritionist and yoga teacher in New York City says that; it’s ok to eat kale every day but in moderation. She recommends one to two servings maximum of kale per day, and leave room for other healthy foods to provide the body with other nutrients.
Raw or cooked kale which is better?
Cooking can either reduce or enhance the nutritional value of most vegetables. Therefore, the way you cook or prepare your vegetables has a very big impact. Cooking destroys water-soluble nutrients and those sensitive to heat for example certain antioxidants.
Vitamin C and Glucosinolate, a phytonutrient found in cruciferous veggies, are lost in cooking water on boiling. You can only preserve them by light steaming. Here, the vegetables don’t get into direct contact with the water and the cooking is short.
Therefore, steamed or raw kale is more nutritious compared to cooked or boiled kale.
Other health benefits of kale apart from weight loss
1. Kale is good for your eyes. Kale has large quantities of lutein and zeaxanthin. Research shows that people who eat enough lutein and zeaxanthin are less likely to have common eye disorders such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
2. Kale is nutrient-dense. At the beginning of this article, we looked at the nutritional value of kale. In case of any deficiency of the nutrients shown above, reach out for kale.
3. Kale fights cancer. Kale contains sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, the substances that are said to fight cancer formation at the molecular level.
4. It is good for blood clotting. Kale is one of the best sources of vitamin K, which is known as a clotting vitamin. One cup of raw kale contains 7 times the recommended daily intake.
5. Kale lowers cholesterol hence reducing the risk of heart disease
6. Kale is good for skin health. It is high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights dead cells. Vitamin C is also important in the synthesis of collagen, the main component of skin tissue.
Side effects of eating kale
- Kale is high in fiber. Eating too much fiber may interrupt the GI system, causing bloating, diarrhea, gas, and constipation
- The environmental working group put kale third on the 2019 list of fruits and vegetables at risk of contamination with pesticides. You should, therefore, wash kale thoroughly before using it.
- Kale is high in potassium. Eating too much potassium may affect your kidneys.
- If you are on any medication for example blood thinners, it is not advisable to take kale. This is because kale does the opposite of blood thinners due to the high levels of vitamin k.
The green leafy vegetable, kale provides a host of health benefits including weight loss, due to the wide range of nutrients. It should therefore to your list of food in your diet.
Steaming kale is better compared to boiling because it does not evaporate the nutrients.
Always wash kale before use to avoid the contamination of pesticides and talk to the doctor if you’re on any medication for example blood thinners before using kale.
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