Wintertime is not commonly seen as a time to grow food for harvest.
But, there are a few foodstuffs that can be grown in the winter, and even through the winter, depending on where you live.
One of these foods is kale.
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that has a long growing season thanks to its hardy leaf and root system. And while kale is a preferred wintertime staple, it’s also lauded for its many health benefits.
If you were to plant kale in the late summer or early fall and harvest it during the winter, here are some of the benefits you’d enjoy.
3 Proven Health Benefits of Kale
1 – Kale Helps FIght Cancer:
One of the reasons kale has become so popular is because it’s loaded with a number of nutrients known to help fight cancer.
One of the most potent is a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown in a number of studies to be a potent cancer fighter. This is why there are some clinical trials in place to see if drugs can be made based on how sulforaphane helps protect the cells.
Another substance found in kale with known cancer-fighting properties is indole-3-carbinol. This compound comes into being when kale is macerated, cut or chewed and has been shown to help prevent cancer in many studies.
2 – Eating Kale Can Help Protect the Heart:
In order to have a healthy, functioning heart, it’s important to keep cholesterol under control. Kale has been shown to help regulate cholesterol levels in the body which may lead to improved heart health.
“Cholesterol has many important functions in the body.
For instance, it is used to make bile acids, which is are substances that help the body digest fats.
The liver turns cholesterol into bile acids, which are then released into the digestive system whenever you eat a fatty meal.
When all the fat has been absorbed and the bile acids have served their purpose, they are reabsorbed into the bloodstream and used again.
Substances called bile acid sequestrants can bind bile acids in the digestive system and prevent them from being reabsorbed. This reduces the total amount of cholesterol in the body.
Kale actually contains bile acid sequestrants, which can lower cholesterol levels. This might lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over time.
One study found that drinking kale juice every day for 12 weeks increased HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by 27% and lowered LDL levels by 10%, while also improving antioxidant status.
According to one study, steaming kale dramatically increases the bile acid binding effect. Steamed kale is actually 43% as potent as cholestyramine, a cholesterol-lowering drug that functions in a similar way .”
3 – Kale Is Filled With Antioxidants:
Antioxidants are one of the most important compounds for human health as they protect our cells from disrupted function.
Specifically, antioxidants keep free radicals (unstable elements with free electrons) from damaging cells like a runaway truck hitting a lemonade stand.
Kale is rich in several of the most well-known and strongest antioxidants in the world.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the best known antioxidants in the world and has been shown over and over again to help improve immune health.
Quercetin and kaempferol, while lesser known, are breakthrough antioxidants found in abundant supply within kale’s leaves, roots, and stems.
In multiple test tube and animal studies both of them have been shown to exhibit heart-protective, blood pressure-lowering, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antidepressant and anti-cancer effects properties