Kale chips have gained a great deal of popularity as a nutritious snack food, but where does the hype end and the reality begin? Here are 3 of the more compelling health benefits to be gained from eating kale chips.
Antioxidants: Kale is an excellent source of beta-carotene, a substance our bodies can convert into vitamin A, and vitamin C. Both of these vitamins are antioxidants, a class of chemicals essential for good health. There is no recommended daily dose for antioxidants.
The body uses antioxidants to combat a class of harmful chemicals called free radicals, which take electrons from the molecules and atoms of other substances. There’s no getting away from free radicals: many of them are created by our own metabolic processes, and others are in food or even in the atmosphere. However, antioxidants can neutralize free radicals by giving them electrons, effectively “feeding” the free radicals so they don’t damage other substances in the body.
Collagen: The vitamin C found in kale also plays a role in the production of a fibrous protein collagen, a vital component of skin, bone, and connective tissue.
Collagens are often concentrated in the spaces between cells, where they are essential to structuring the tissues of the body and giving them strength. Because they are fibrous, collagen molecules can be bound together to form strong tissues. They also give skin its elasticity, and even direct the growth of new skin cells.
Vision: As seen above, kale chips are a great source of vitamin A from beta-carotene. Vitamin A is also essential to healthy vision, and a lack of vitamin A can cause blindness.
The body combines a form of vitamin A known as retinol with a protein called an opsin, forming a light-sensing pigment called rhodopsin. Rhodopsin reacts to light, creating electrical signals that the brain can interpret as vision.
Overall, kale chips make an excellent snack. They are a great alternative to potato chips and other snack foods, since they are full of vitamins and low in calories. Kale is even low in carbohydrates: a serving of baked kale chips contains only about 10 carbs. Baked kale chips are also low in fat, containing only about 1 gram per serving, of which only 0.1 gram is saturated. Within reason, you do not have to worry too much about over-indulging.