As an annual plant Kale flourishes well in rich organic soil and prefers cool climate and light frost conditions. Its succulent, curly leaves appear “rosette” like and may have dark green to blue-green color depending on the cultivar type. It is grown mainly for autumn and winter harvest, because cool weather further enhances its sweet taste quality.
Part of the Brassica family, along with broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, Kale is an excellent, potent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber and carotenoids. Research has also shown that kale contains 45 different flavonoids with a variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Brassica vegetables are known to help with general health, but even among this group kale stands out because it has the broadest range of antioxidants and also the highest levels of several specific ones, along with Vitamin K and a type of Vitamin E that seems to be heart-healthy.
It is very rich in vitamin A, 100 g leaves provide 512% of RDA. Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision.
Kale is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K; 100 g provides about 700% of recommended intake. Vitamin K has a potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity.
100 g of fresh Kale leaves contain 120 mg or 200% of daily-recommended levels of vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant, helping the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Whilst Iron is required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation.