The health benefits of sea kale include its ability to prevent scurvy, boost the immune system, improve the metabolism, and help with weight gain. It also helps maintain the health and functionality of kidneys, regulate hormonal activity in the body, and improve the digestive processes.
What is Sea Kale?
The scientific name of sea kale is Crambe maritima and it grows wild around the coasts of Europe, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. It is a small shrub that grows well in very salty soil, and its young, fleshy, white roots are harvested. The leaves of sea kale are also used as salad greens in many cultures. It should be consumed quickly after harvesting, but the heart of the plant should not be damaged, as it can live for a number of years and continually produce vegetative fruit.
Sea kale is a plant that is often overlooked because of its land-based sibling, kale, often gets a lot more attention. Kale is one of the more popular up and coming figures in the vegetable world, but sea kale is also an important and beneficial element of human health that has been cultivated for thousands of years. Historically, sea kale was used by the Greeks and was widely cultivated since the 16th century.
Nutritional Value of Sea Kale
Sea kale has not been widely studied, but some of its nutrients are well-known. Due to the unusual locations where it grows, sea kale can provide a unique mineral profile to a human diet, including iodine, sulfur, vitamin C, and trace mineral compounds.
The wide availability of this vegetable has made it popular throughout history, but the health benefits associated with it make it a boon for people who want to add a sea vegetable to their diet.
Health Benefits of Sea Kale
Like other members of the Brassicaceae family, sea kale contains a high content of dietary fiber, making it very beneficial for digestion. Fiber helps to bulk up stool and move it through the digestive tract, thereby eliminating common issues such as constipation, bloating, cramping, excess gas, and even diarrhea. By promoting a healthy digestive system, this vegetable can help to prevent various gastrointestinal diseases, including colon cancer.
The mineral content of sea kale, as well as its metabolism-stimulating properties, provides this interesting vegetable with certain diuretic properties, which means that it stimulates urination. This promotes the flushing of toxins from the body because the kidneys are able to work at a more functional level. This also helps to rid the body of excess salts, water, and fat, since urine is composed of approximately 4% fat.
Boosts Immune System
Sea kale is found to have a very high level of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which is one of the essential vitamins that can stimulate the immune system to increase its production of white blood cells. Therefore, it can optimize your immune system and help you defend against everything from the common cold to cancer, thanks to the antioxidant activities of vitamin C.
Iodine is one of the most undervalued, yet an essential mineral for human health. Without iodine, the thyroid gland would be unable to produce a number of hormones, including thyroid. By actively regulating the endocrine system with a healthy level of iodine, sea kale can keep your body function smoothly and ensure that all of your hormonal processes stay balanced. This also helps to boost your metabolism, thereby avoiding excess weight gain, fatigue, and organ systems malfunctions.
Although most health-conscious adults worry about losing weight, there are many people who need to gain weight fast. The very high levels of carbohydrates in sea kale (comparable to potatoes) means that it can help you put on weight quickly, particularly after excessive exercise, illness, or recovery from an injury or surgery.
How to Eat Sea Kale?
Word of Caution: There are no known dangers to this plant, although be careful to only store blanched leaves for extended periods of time, as the stalks do not stay fresh for very long. They should be harvested and consumed relatively quickly. Other than that, enjoy this new addition to your dietary vegetable profile!