Is Kale Good For Diabetes – 10 Health Benefits & Risks

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that has been shown to have various health benefits. The most popular of these is the ability to help reduce the risk of diabetes, but there are other health reasons you might want to eat kale. Read on for more information about how eating kale can benefit your health!

Is Kale Good For Diabetes?

Yes, kale is definitely good for diabetes and is even considered a diabetic superfood. Superfoods are high in nutrients, low in calories and starch, and low glycemic index.

The glycemic index of kale is just 32, which is very low. This means that the carbs in kale are released slowly into the bloodstream, which is good for people with diabetes. The glycemic load of kale is 1.7, which is also low for a leafy green vegetable.

Kale is packed with B vitamins, Vitamin C and A, minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, and antioxidants, but it is very low in calories. This means that you can eat a lot of kale without getting too many calories.

In addition to being a superfood, kale is also a non-starchy vegetable, and this means that it does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels like starchy vegetables do.

10 Benefits of Eating Kale for Diabetes

#1 Kale is rich in antioxidants

One of the benefits of antioxidants is that they can help protect the body from free radicals, harmful toxins. Free radicals can damage cells and increase the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Kale is a great source of antioxidants, which helps to protect the body against these harmful toxins. Additionally, antioxidants can help improve the body’s ability to process sugar and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

A study conducted by the University of Illinois found that a diet high in antioxidants can help improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. The study participants who ate the most antioxidants had a lower risk of developing diabetes than those who ate fewer antioxidants.

#2 Kale is a good source of fiber

Fiber is important for people with diabetes because it helps to regulate blood glucose levels. Kale is a good source of fiber, which can help prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.

The fiber in kale can also help promote a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements, which will help keep the body healthy and reduce the risk of diabetes.

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a high-fiber diet can help to improve blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to the research, those who consumed the most fiber had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who ate the least fiber.

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#3 Kale is low in calories

Kale is a low-calorie food, which means it is a good choice for people trying to lose weight or manage their weight.

One cup of kale contains only 36 calories, making it a great choice for people watching their weight. This can be very helpful for people with diabetes who want to control their blood sugar levels without counting calories.

Moreover, insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes is directly linked to obesity. A diet with few calories can help weight loss and improve insulin resistance.

According to the American Diabetes Association, losing just 5-10 percent of your body weight can help to improve blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Kale is a great food to help you lose weight without counting calories.

#4 Kale is a low-glycemic food

The glycemic index measures how quickly a food will increase your blood sugar levels. Foods with a low glycemic index, such as kale, cause less of a spike in blood sugar levels than those with a high glycemic index.

Glycemic load is another way to measure how quickly a food can impact sugar levels. According to Healthy Eating by the Harvard School of Public Health, foods with a low glycemic load have little impact on blood sugar levels.

Kale has a low glycemic index and load, which means that it will not cause a spike in blood glucose levels. This can be helpful for people with diabetes who need to keep their glucose levels stable.

A study published in the journal Nutrition found that a diet with a low glycemic load can help to improve blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

When you eat low-GI foods like kale, your blood sugar levels are more likely to stay steady.

#5 Kale is rich in diabetes-friendly nutrients

Kale is a good source of many nutrients that are important for people with diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, nutrient-rich foods can improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of diabetes.

This vegetable is high in vitamin A, C, E, fiber, iron, calcium, and carotenoids. It is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats beneficial for the heart and blood vessels.

All of these nutrients can be helpful for people with diabetes. The vitamins and minerals in it can help improve blood sugar control, while fiber can help regulate digestion. The omega-3 fatty acids in kale can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

#6 Kale can prevent hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is commonly associated with type 2 diabetes due to Metabolic Syndrome.

According to the journal Hypertension, a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can reduce blood pressure. Kale is full of vitamins, fiber, and minerals like magnesium and manganese, beneficial for heart health.

The potassium in It is specifically helpful for those with hypertension. A study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who consumed 4,700 mg of potassium per day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from hypertension than those who consumed less potassium.

Kale is a good source of potassium, providing 490 mg per 100 grams. This means that eating it can help to reduce blood pressure and improve heart health.

#7 Kale is heart-healthy

Kale contains omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals beneficial for heart health.

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According to the World Health Organization, eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30 percent. Kale is full of heart-healthy nutrients, so that it can be an important part of your diet.

According to one study published in the journal Nutrition, consuming foods rich in carotenoids reduced the risk of developing heart disease by about 30 percent. Carotenoids are the pigment that gives fruits and vegetables like kale their vibrant color. Kale contains many different carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Plaque formation in the arteries is a major factor in stroke and heart disease. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin in kale can protect against vascular damage caused by free radicals produced when LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol interacts with oxygen in the body.

#8 Kale is beneficial for bone health

Kale is high in calcium, copper, and iron, which are important for bone health.

According to the journal Advances in Nutrition, plant-based diets can reduce the risk of osteoporosis by improving bone mineral density and preventing inflammation in the joints.

Kale is an excellent source of calcium, providing 210 mg per 100 grams. Calcium is particularly important for women at risk of osteoporosis after menopause.

Kale is also a good source of iron, which can help to improve bone health and prevent anemia. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, iron deficiency has been linked to low bone mineral density and increased risk of fracture.

#9 Kale can improve digestion

Kale is high in fiber content, which can help to improve digestion and prevent constipation.

The journal Nutrition Reviews reports that insoluble fibers like those found in kale can increase stool frequency and reduce symptoms of constipation.

Fiber is also beneficial for gut health, as it helps to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. It is also important for normal bowel function.

For diabetics, eating fiber-rich foods like kale can also help prevent spikes in blood sugar after eating.

According to the journal Clinical Diabetes, high fiber diets reduce the risk of hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia is when there are high levels of glucose in the bloodstream.

#10 kale can prevent cancer

Kale contains glucosinolates, which are phytochemicals that have been found to reduce the risk of cancer. Cabbage family vegetables like kale contain high levels of glucosinolates, broken down into isothiocyanates and indoles. These substances have been found to reduce cancer risk, particularly cancers of the lung, breast, and prostate.

A study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found that women who consumed high isothiocyanates had a reduced risk of lung cancer.

A study published in the journal PLoS One found that indoles from kale reduced the growth of prostate cancer cells in vitro.

Kale is an excellent source of these health-promoting phytochemicals so that it can be a valuable part of your cancer prevention diet.

Risks and Side Effects of Eating Kale

Risks and Side Effects of Eating Kale

#1 Kale can cause drug interaction with warfarin

Kale is safe for most people to eat. However, if you take blood-thinning medications like Warfarin (Coumadin), there may be an interaction between kale and your medication. Eating too much of it can increase the risk of bleeding.

If you are taking any medications, it is important to speak to your doctor before adding them to your diet.

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#2 Kale can cause Allergies

Some people may have an allergic reaction to kale, and the most common symptoms of its allergy are rash, hives, asthma, and difficulty breathing. After eating it, seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.

#3 Kale is a Goitrogen

Goitrogens are substances found in kale and other cruciferous vegetables that interfere with the function of the thyroid gland by blocking the uptake of iodine.

This can result in a goiter, which is an enlarged thyroid gland. Low levels of iodine have been linked to thyroid problems, including hypothyroidism.

If you have a thyroid condition, it is important to speak to your doctor before adding them to your diet.

#Kale can cause stomach pain

Oxalic acid is a compound found in kale that can cause stomach pain, particularly if consumed in large amounts.

Oxalic acid can also bind to calcium, leading to kidney stones.

If you experience stomach pain after eating them, stop consuming this vegetable and speak to your doctor.

Tips for incorporating kale into your daily diabetic diet

Here are a few tips to help you add kale to your diabetes diet:

  • Add to your smoothies or juices
  • Toss some of them into your salad
  • Use them as a wrap for sandwiches or tacos
  • Cook it as a side dish
  • Add chopped kale to soup or chili
  • Add sauteed kale to your eggs in the morning
  • Snack on kale chips or kale popcorn

How to Cook with Kale in a Healthy way

The best way to cook them is to steam them quickly.

Steam kale for no longer than two minutes, as steaming can increase the amount of oxalic acid in your food. This can cause an increase in stomach pain, and it may reduce the ability of your body to absorb calcium.

Kale juice is also commonly used to help improve symptoms of diabetes.

According to the journal Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews, kale juice contains high levels of glucoraphanin, which may prevent type 2 diabetes.

Glucoraphanin has also been found to increase nitric oxide production, which can improve blood flow and reduce the risk of heart disease.

When juicing kale, it is important to include other fruits or vegetables to help balance out its bitter flavor.

Good combinations include apple and ginger, carrot and orange, or pineapple and mint.

FAQs about Diabetic patients and kale consumption

Q: Which is healthier, kale, spinach, or broccoli?

Answer: Kale is the healthiest vegetable because it contains more nutrients than spinach and broccoli. It has lower carbohydrate content, plus it is an excellent source of potassium, which helps reduce blood pressure levels.

Q: Which are the other superfoods for diabetes, like kale?

Walnuts, Yogurt, Berries, Quinoa, Olive oil, Avocados, Cucumber, Sardines, etc., are the other superfoods for diabetes.

Conclusion

Kale is an excellent source of nutrients that can help protect your body against chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes.

It helps to regulate blood sugar levels, is low in calories, has a low glycemic index and load, and is rich in nutrients that are beneficial for people with diabetes. It is also a good source of antioxidants and phytochemicals that can reduce cancer risk. However, kale may not be suitable for everyone with diabetes, and it is important to speak to your doctor before adding this vegetable to your diet.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4856732/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4632424/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30586587/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28606215/

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169230/nutrients

https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/76/2/125/4713926

https://www.diabetes.org/nutrition/healthy-food-choices-made-easy/diabetes-superfoods

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.015176

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-017-4489-7

Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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