Cholesterol-Lowering And Weight Loss: Why Kale Is Good For You

Kale may have gotten slightly too cool for its own boots - you know you've made it in the world when people start naming their babies after you - but that doesn't detract from its awesomeness as a vegetable.

So if Alanis Morissette's kale homage: "Kale, kale, kale! I love it!" doesn't put you off, here are some very good reasons as to why you should include it in your diet.

"Forget any misconceptions you have," says nutritionist Karen Poole. "Put simply it is a turbo boost to any diet and likes strong flavours such as chilli, garlic, anchovy or citrus and textures such as beans, nuts and grains. Aim to eat it at least three times a week and remember to always remove the main stalk before preparation."

Most of us haven't a clue what to do with kale when we see it in the supermarket, however.

Vicki Edgson, author of Honestly Healthy, says: "Kale can be enjoyed very simply either slightly steamed with garlic and onion or lightly roasted. My favourite way however is used in a salad with the leaves rubbed gently but vigorously to soften the texture.

"I blend a tablespoon of avocado oil with a tablespoon of tahini, 2 tablespoons of orange juice, a clove of garlic and a little water and then gently rub into the leaves. Add chopped avocado, pomegranate and some mixed seeds for a simply and delicious summer salad."

But why is it so loved by nutritionists? Take a look:

Put simply, it keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Vicki says: "Kale includes fibre which slows down the release of glucose into the bloodstream and creates a feeling of satiety. Plus for weight watchers out there, it contains very few calories. This is specifically important given recent news all over the press last week about the obesity problem in this country (1 in 4)."


Kale contains all the major vitamins in my larger amounts than other leafy veg.

"It is easy to source, kind to the pocket and provides a whole host of beneficial compounds such as vitamins C, A and K, Calcium, Folic Acid, Iron, quercetin and indole 3 carbinole," says Karen.

Emily Maguire, nutritionist and HuffPost UK blogger adds: "It is packed with potent antioxidants which help to stave off free radical damage in the body (linked to premature aging and disease)."

Body detox

"If you are looking for a good all rounder that will aid liver detoxification, raise antioxidant status, support the immune system, enhance oxygen utilisation and keep the cardiovascular system operating efficiently while helping to reduce the risk and potential impact of breast and colon cancer, then your search is over," says Karen.

The sulphur it contains also makes it a winner.

"Although all of the green leafy vegetable family are full of various nutrients," says Emily, "kale also contains high amounts of sulphur and Isothiocyanates, both of which are compounds that can help with detoxing in the body. Likewise, kale is also low in oxalates, a substance that can block the absorption of certain minerals such as calcium."

Kale is great in a smoothie


Emily says: " Eating kale when it has been cooked (steamed or sautéed being the better options), is the best way to unlock its cholesterol-lowering properties. My favourite way to eat kale is through making my own kale chips.

"Simply cut the kale into small “crisp like” sizes, then coat with olive oil, salt and paprika. Line on a tray with foil and bake at 180°C for around 20 minutes (be sure to keep an eye on them though as they can burn quite easily)."

High in calcium

If you're off dairy or lactose intolerant, you need to get your calcium another way.

"The calcium content in kale is also very high and offers an excellent dietary source for those that cannot tolerate dairy in their diet (and in some cases, it actually has a higher calcium content, calorie for calorie, compared to some dairy options)," says Emily.