Kale is a vitamin-rich leafy vegetable that remains a major buzzword in the health food world. Mixing lettuce with kale is a major sign that you’re in deep when it comes to nutrition obsession, but there’s a reason for that.

Kale is a superfood, one of those hallmarks of nutritious eating that packs vitamins and minerals more densely than any other type of food. Since it requires little preparation in many cases, a kale salad or juice is a quick and easy dose of essential vitamins. Even in my busy day, I have time to take advantage of this superfood’s 6 main health benefits.


1. Antioxidants







Of all the leafy greens, kale is a supreme source of antioxidants and other essential vitamins. You may have heard of “oxidative damage” without knowing what causes it. Here’s what you need to know: that damage is caused by things called free radicals, which can get out of control in your body and eventually cause cancer.

Preventing the debilitating diseases that result from runaway free radicals requires dietary antioxidants. They aren’t always easy to come by, but kale comes well-equipped to give you as much as you need.


2. Vitamin C







Kale contains a ton of Vitamin C and beta-carotene, which are immune boosters on a level that makes citrus jealous. A cup of kale has more cold and flu-fighting Vitamin C than an entire orange!

Many cellular functions in your body can be eased and improved with regular Vitamin C and kale is a readily available source.


3. Cholesterol Control










Cholesterol is a term that sends us running, probably because we eat so many fattening foods that a lot of our levels run high. But cholesterol, at face value, is an important compound in our bodies that help us digest and make bile acids for our liver.

Out-of-control cholesterol has of course been linked to heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in the United States. But cutting out fats completely isn’t the likely answer: instead, cholesterol-regulating food like kale can keep your levels balanced without eliminating anything essential.

Kale has been shown to keep good cholesterol up and bad cholesterol down when consumed in juice form for several months. Whether you’re proactively improving your body or reacting to high cholesterol levels you already have, kale can help.


4. Vitamin K







Vitamin K helps our bodies use healthy blood clotting to maintain normal internal processes. It’s also not a common vitamin in our diets, so you may be pleased to know that kale is full of it. A single cup contains 7 times your daily allowance.


5. Cancer Prevention







On the molecular level, kale’s antioxidants, as well as a substance called sulforaphane, can help fight the formation of cancer cells. This is a benefit of many cruciferous vegetables, but one that kale excels in providing.

Cancers of the lung, bladder, prostate, and ovaries are particularly susceptible to kale’s effects.


6. Weight Loss







Kale is a low-calorie food for how much protein and fiber you can get from it. This means that at almost no calorie cost, kale can make you feel full and discourage you from reaching for unhealthy snacks when you’re feeling peckish in the middle of the day.

This has a direct effect on your weight, whether you’re trying to slim down or trying to keep the weight off after you’ve already lost it. Adding kale to salads or smoothies will not only keep you healthier, but also keep your hands out of the cookie jar.


The Takeaway

Kale is a quick and easy way to make your salads crunchier or to pack your smoothies with fiber. The health benefits it provides, including antioxidants, Vitamin C and K, cancer prevention, and weight loss make kale an ALRIGHT superfood that I always have on hand.

Cold and flu season is coming up and you need a blast of Vitamin C in your already busy day, a food that can help you feel full through your whole shift, and a low-calorie way to get fiber. Kale has you covered on all of it. It’s why I always have some on hand and you should too.