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18 Interesting Facts About Kale

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Introduction

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that has become increasingly popular over the past decade due to its exceptional nutritional value and health benefits. Often referred to as a “superfood,” kale packs a serious punch when it comes to vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

While it was once relegated to being used primarily as a garnish or decoration on salad bars and buffets, people have begun to discover just how tasty and versatile this powerhouse veggie can be. Whether roasted, sautéed, blended into smoothies, or eaten raw, there are endless ways to enjoy kale.

Below are 18 fascinating facts about kale that highlight why it deserves a regular spot in your kitchen rotation.

18 Interesting Facts About Kale

Facts About Kale
  1. Kale is an extremely nutrient-dense food. One cup of raw kale contains only around 33 calories but packs over 100% of the recommended daily intake for Vitamin C and Vitamin K. It’s also a great source of Vitamin A, folate, potassium, iron, calcium, fiber, magnesium, and more.
  2. It comes in several varieties. The most common types are curly kale and dinosaur (or Lacinato) kale, but there are also ornamental kales that come in shades of red, white, pink, purple, and green. They differ in taste, texture, and appearance.
  3. Kale can be grown year-round. Unlike many vegetables, kale is hardy enough to survive frosty conditions. It can be grown in most climates and may last through early winter in some regions before going to seed.
  4. It’s an ancient vegetable. Kale has been cultivated for over 2,000 years. It was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe during the Middle Ages and was brought to North America by English settlers in the 17th century.
  5. Kale used to be primarily fed to livestock. Up until just a few decades ago, kale was mostly relegated to being a feed crop for cows, sheep, goats, and other livestock rather than food for human consumption.
  6. National Kale Day is celebrated on the first Wednesday of October. This unofficial holiday was created in 2016 by Green Giant to celebrate all things kale and raise awareness of its health benefits. Events across the country feature kale-centric meals, smoothies, salads, chips, desserts, and more!
  7. There are kale festivals held around the world. Cities across the U.S. and Europe host annual kale festivals featuring kale cooking demos, contests, music, local food vendors, beer, and wine. Two of the most prominent festivals are held in Amsterdam and Zagreb, Croatia.
  8. Kale chips are a healthy potato chip alternative. Removing the ribs and massaging kale with oil helps transform it into deliciously crispy chips when baked in the oven. Store-bought kale chips are also widely available.
  9. It’s rich in antioxidants. In particular, kale contains high levels of carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein as well as at least 45 different flavonoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  10. Juicing kale is a great way to boost your nutrient intake. Adding kale to fruit and vegetable juices significantly increases their vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content in an easy-to-digest form.
  11. Kale has potent anti-inflammatory properties. The flavonoids found in kale help regulate the body’s inflammatory response, which can reduce risk for chronic diseases like heart disease. Its anti-inflammatory abilities have been compared to some NSAID drugs.
  12. It may help lower cholesterol. Bile acid sequestrants found naturally in kale have been shown to decrease LDL “bad” cholesterol levels and potentially reduce the risk of heart disease.
  13. Kale supports eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin found in kale filter harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light and protect the eyes from damage. They help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
  14. It can aid in detoxification. The isothiocyanates made from glucosinolates in kale play an important role in detoxification at the cellular level by speeding up the removal of toxins and waste.
  15. Kale helps regulate blood sugar. Though green leafy vegetables are very low in carbohydrates, kale contains an amino acid called glutamine which may help regulate blood sugar levels.
  16. It promotes skin and hair health. Vitamins A, C, and K found abundantly in kale provide nourishment for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and strong nails.
  17. Kale supports bone health. High levels of calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin K make kale an excellent food for building and maintaining strong bones as well as reducing fracture risk.
  18. It may help fight cancer. Kale’s diverse range of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and detoxification properties are believed to help prevent the development and spread of certain cancers like colon, prostate, breast, stomach, bladder, and ovarian cancer.
interesting Facts About Kale

FAQ

What types of kale are there?

There are several varieties of kale, including curly kale and dinosaur (Lacinato) kale. Ornamental kales are also available, offering a range of colors from red to purple.

Can kale be eaten raw?

Yes, kale can be enjoyed raw in salads and smoothies, bringing a crisp texture and a burst of nutrients to your dish.

Are kale chips a healthy snack?

Kale chips are a nutritious alternative to potato chips. When baked with a bit of oil, they become crispy and can satisfy your snack cravings healthily.

How does kale support eye health?

Kale is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which help filter harmful light waves and protect against macular degeneration and cataracts.

Can kale help with detoxification?

Yes, the isothiocyanates from glucosinolates in kale assist in cellular detoxification by speeding up the elimination of toxins from the body.

Facts About Kale

Conclusion

As you can see, kale is much more than just a nutritional afterthought or decorative green. It packs a major punch when it comes to health benefits ranging from better vision and cholesterol levels to cancer prevention and cellular detoxification.

With so many varieties, preparation methods, and health-promoting compounds, there are endless ways to enjoy this leafy green superfood. Next time you’re browsing the produce aisle or farmers market, consider grabbing a bunch of kale to add to your next salad, smoothie, stir-fry, or chips. Your body will thank you!


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