Cruciferous vegetables are all the rage these days. This family of leafy greens includes familiar vegetables like cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, radishes, turnips, cauliflower and kale. While each of these vegetables is a superfood in its own right, there’s one member of this family that has recently become popular because of its unique qualities and health benefits: kale.
Many different types of kale exist, and all of them are equally nutritious and versatile as a culinary ingredient. One thing about kale that’s made it a kitchen favorite is that it doesn’t shrink much when cooked. This means that this leafy green isn’t just meant for salads or the juicer – it’s actually good baked, sautéed, stir-fried or even stewed. 
The most common type of kale you’ll find in groceries and farmers markets is curly kale, which has bright green leaves. Curly kale has a pungent and peppery flavor and can stand most cooking methods.  But it can easily turn bitter when overcooked, so kale connoisseurs recommend giving it a dry massage or drizzling it with olive oil, lemon juice and salt to soften it up and get a slightly sweeter taste. Curly kale is great for soups, salads, sautéed dishes and smoothies.
Another common type of kale is Tuscan kale, also known as dinosaur kale or Lacinato. Unlike curly kale, this leafy green has long, spear-shaped leaves and a dark green color. If you can’t tolerate bitter foods, go for Tuscan kale. It tastes less bitter than curly kale and has a nutty sweetness to it. Tuscan kale is great for soups and stews, but most recipes allow common varieties of kale to be used interchangeably.
Why kale is undeniably a superfood
The ‘superfood’ label has been given to a wide range of foods, some very common and some exotic. But what exactly does this label mean?
Usually there are no set criteria for this identification. But what experts agree on is that, in order to earn this distinction, a food has to be nutritionally dense and loaded with health benefits.  Kale fits this description perfectly.
Often described as a nutrient powerhouse, kale is a great source of essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C and K, calcium, copper, iron and manganese. A 100-gram serving of uncooked organic kale can give you the following macro- and micronutrients: 
- Carbohydrates, 2% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Fiber, 15% of the DV
- Protein, 6% of the DV
- Fat, 2% of the DV
- Folate (vitamin B9), 16% of the DV
- Niacin (vitamin B3), 7% of the DV
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), 7% of the DV
- Pyridoxine (vitamin B6), 11% of the DV
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2), 27% of the DV
- Thiamine (vitamin B1), 9% of the DV
- Vitamin A, 96% of the DV
- Vitamin C, 104% of the DV
- Vitamin E, 3% of the DV
- Vitamin K, 325% of the DV
- Calcium, 20% of the DV
- Copper, 6% of the DV
- Iron, 9% of the DV
- Magnesium, 8% of the DV
- Manganese, 40% of the DV
- Phosphorus, 8% of the DV
- Potassium, 7% of the DV
- Zinc, 4% of the DV
As one of the best sources of vitamin K, kale can support optimal blood and bone health. You need vitamin K to produce proteins necessary for the development of healthy bone tissue. Studies show that people with low vitamin K levels are more prone to fractures due to low bone density, this suggests that you need vitamin K-rich foods like kale in your diet to maintain healthy bones. 
Vitamin A is important for your eye health because it supports the healthy functions of your corneas and conjunctival membranes.  Your corneas serve as your eyes’ outermost lenses and control the entry of light into your eye.  Meanwhile, conjunctival membranes shield your eyes from external threats and help keep them moist and lubricated. 
According to nutritional analysis, the vitamin A in kale comes mostly in the form of beta carotene. Beta carotene is a plant pigment commonly found in red, orange and yellow vegetables. It is also known as provitamin A because it is converted inside your body into retinol, the active form of vitamin A. Thanks to its abundance of beta carotene, as well as related compounds like lutein and zeaxanthin, kale promotes good eye health and provides excellent immune support.
Like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin belong to a large group of water-repelling plant pigments called carotenoids. They are also known as macular pigments because they’re the only dietary carotenoids that accumulate in the macula region of your retina, which enables vision.  As potent antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin provide protection against light-related and oxidative damage by scavenging free radicals and absorbing up to 90% of blue light. 
Your immune system also benefits considerably from the addition of great vitamin A sources like kale to your diet. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine notes that vitamin A supports a healthy immune system.  
Another way that kale supports your body’s natural defenses is by providing you with high amounts of vitamin C. Research shows that the primary cells of your immune system contain vitamin C levels 80x higher than those found in your blood. This suggests that vitamin C is essential for healthy immune cell function. 
A study published in the journal Nutrients also reveals that, as a potent antioxidant, vitamin C promotes your skin’s barrier function by protecting your skin cells from oxidative stress. This ensures that your skin can shield you from threats naturally present in the environment.  It also ensures that your skin stays healthy. 
Speaking of oxidative stress, did you know that kale is a great source of powerful antioxidants? Besides vitamins A and C, studies show that you can get plenty of antioxidant flavonoids from kale.  Quercetin, for instance, is a plant pigment known for its ability to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that damage healthy cells and their components by triggering oxidative stress. 
One of the harmful effects associated with free radicals is the oxidation of lipids like low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Also called “bad cholesterol,” LDL is highly susceptible to modifications caused by its interaction with free radicals. When oxidized, LDL triggers a cascade of reactions that ultimately lead to clogged arteries. Researchers have long identified this as the first step in the development of heart problems. 
But thanks to their ability to scavenge free radicals, antioxidants like quercetin are now promoted as crucial dietary components for maintaining healthy heart functions. In a study published in Pharmacognosy Reviews, Malaysian researchers reported that quercetin can support optimal cardiovascular functions by protecting lipids from oxidation.  This goes a long way toward keeping your blood vessels healthy and helping you maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range.
Another potent antioxidant that you can find in kale is kaempferol. Like quercetin, this dietary flavonoid is known for its protective effects against oxidative stress. But what’s great about kaempferol is that it can also help promote your body’s antioxidant defenses, according to a study published in Food Chemistry.  Having strong antioxidant defenses is important for your overall health since your body is constantly under threat from free radicals both from the outside and from within.
Cruciferous vegetables like kale are known for their high levels of glucosinolates. They produce these sulfur-containing compounds to protect themselves from various environmental stresses.  Besides contributing to the flavor and taste of these vegetables, glucosinolates also offer substantial benefits to humans.
According to studies, the breakdown products of glucosinolates called isothiocyanates can support health in various ways. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that some isothiocyanates can support your body’s natural ability to detox. 
In another study, an Australian researcher reported that sulforaphane, a highly bioavailable isothiocyanate, can help promote your body’s antioxidant defenses. Although not an antioxidant itself, sulforaphane can exert an indirect antioxidant effect by stimulating the production of antioxidants like glutathione.  Meanwhile, other studies have found that sulforaphane also has beneficial properties that can help protect your body from external threats. 
Consuming kale can also support sensible weight management plans when combined with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise. This nutritious vegetable is low in fat and calories, but its high water content, combined with the protein and fiber in it, can keep you feeling full for longer. This will help you reduce your food intake and avoid unhealthy snacking between meals.
To recap, here are the health benefits of including organic kale in your daily diet:*
- Provides a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals
- Supports optimal blood and bone health
- Promotes healthy eyesight
- Supports healthy immune function
- Rich source of potent antioxidants
- Supports healthy cardiovascular function
- Supports the body’s natural ability to detoxify
- Supports sensible weight management plans when combined with diet and exercise
Where to find lab-verified organic kale freeze-dried for convenience and storability
Green, leafy vegetables are some of the most nutritious foods you can add to your diet. But as with all fresh produce, they lose their freshness very easily. Some leafy greens are also seasonal, so you may not be able to enjoy them all year-round.
Some superfood vegetables like kale offer plenty of nutritional benefits that are just too good for you to miss. This is why the Health Ranger Store is bringing you Health Ranger Select Freeze-Dried Organic Chopped Kale.
Unlike other methods of food preservation, freeze-drying doesn’t damage the physical structure of foods. In fact, it preserves the actual color and shape of fresh produce while extending shelf life considerably.  And because freeze drying doesn’t use extreme high temperatures, it can retain the nutritional value.
The kale in Health Ranger Select Freeze-Dried Organic Chopped Kale is grown under strict organic standards. Because it is carefully freeze-dried, it provides high amount of nutrients when compared to other drying methods. Our premium product is also easy to reconstitute and can be stored for a very long time when stored at room temperature.
Health Ranger Select Freeze-Dried Organic Chopped Kale contains no gluten and is vegan, non-China and non-GMO. It is certified Kosher and organic and is meticulously tested for glyphosate, heavy metals and microbiology.
Incorporate organic kale into your daily diet and enjoy the numerous nutritional benefits of this remarkable superfood!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any diseases.