Kale during Pregnancy: What Benefits Can this Vegetable Bring?
What do you think about consuming kale during pregnancy? Many people haven`t even heard too much about this type of cabbage, not to mention about consuming it.
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Kale (Brassica oleracea) is a type of cabbage of green color, which makes it look like a salad. It`s a cabbage that is less consumed and processed than white cabbage in most countries. It`s frequently consumed in USA, and cultivated in Asia, America and Europe.
This type of cabbage, also known as wild cabbage, is a plant with a life cycle which unfolds over a period of 2 years – a biennial plant – and which grows widely in the wild flora. During the first year of life, the plant has a bunch of large and thick leaves, while in the second year develops a highly branched strain which reaches up to 1m in height.
Kale during Pregnancy: Nutritional Values
There are lots of nutritional values from which to benefit if you choose to consume kale while pregnant. Kale contains vitamin K, C, B, E, A, iron (more than beef meat), calcium, phosphorus, beta-carotene, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, protein and a lot of fibers. It also inhibits the absorption of iodine in the organism and is low on calories.
This vegetable contains more vitamin C than an orange (67g of kale contains 134% from the recommended daily dose of vitamin C), 133% from the daily dose of vitamin A, 100g contains 150mg of calcium, more than milk.
Also, a cup of cooked kale contains 1300% from the daily dose of vitamin K, so which persons who take anticoagulants should avoid consuming this food.
Consumed regularly, kale strengthen the immune system, protects the organism against cancer, decreases the level of cholesterol and blood sugar, slows the brain`s aging process, protects against tumors and sclerosis.
Health Benefits of Kale
- Anticancer – In a kale we find over 45 substances with an antioxidant effect. Due to its increased content of flavonoids, carotenoids (especially lutein and beta-carotene) and antioxidants, kale plays an important role in preventing the development of cancer cells and reducing the appearance of oxidative stress in the organism. Oxidative stress represents a crucial factor for a series of affections: degenerative processes, premature aging, atherosclerosis, cataracts, chronic pulmonary disease and several chronic and incurable diseases.
- Glucosinolates – these are intensely studied substances for their strong antimicrobial and anticancer effect. They are present especially in the family of cruciferae vegetables. Kale is in the top of most research related to preventing colon, breast, ovarian, prostate and gallbladder cancer. Also, glucosinolates are already known for their effect on Helicobacter pylori, a stomach bacteria which causes ulcer. Another property of these substances is their detoxification capacity of the organism at a cellular level, a process also sustained by sulfur compounds in kale.
- Anti-inflammatory effects – due to its high content of Omega 3 (350mg/100kcal) and vitamin K (817mcg/100gr).
- Supports the cardiovascular system – the high fiber content of kale (7gr/100kcal) helps in lowering the cholesterol.
- Supports the detoxification process of the organism – through regulating the level of toxins from the organism. A kale consumed alone or with other vegetables helps the digestion a lot.
Additional Benefits of Raw Kale
- Lowers the cholesterol;
- Reduces the risk of heart attack;
- Prevents heart and chronic diseases that comes with age due to the high content of beta-carotene;
- Reduces the risk of cancer;
- Combats anemia due to its high content of iron;
- Prevents osteoporosis, contributes to healthy bones due to its high content of calcium which is absorbed by the organism;
- Prevents cataracts, due to its content of carotenoids – lutein and zeaxanthin – which prevents ultraviolet rays from affecting the eyes.
It`s recommended to be added when you start diversifying the baby`s diet after 6 months of age. Also, as with any food added, it`s recommended the 4 days rule and consulting a pediatrician.
How to Consume It?
Kale can be consumed as fresh salad with salt, pepper, oil and lemon. It can also be cooked for soups, cabbage rolls or baked. Generally speaking, kale can be used just as white cabbage.
Persons who are treated with anticoagulants are recommended to consult a doctor before consuming kale. This is mainly because kale has a high content of vitamin K which can interfere with the medication. It`s also recommended not to be consumed at the same time with foods rich in calcium due to oxidants which prevent calcium assimilation.