Kale super vegetable on a wooden background
Image: Shutterstock/ocophoto

If you’re still only using kale as a disposable garnish for your serving trays, you’re missing out on a whole slew of natural beauty benefits. In honor of National Kale Day, we took a closer look at this form of cabbage that’s related to broccoli and cauliflower.

Kale is a dark green leafy vegetable that lends itself to a variety of recipes, including green smoothies, salads and even as a stuffing ingredient. It contains all nine essential amino acids that your body needs to form protein. Plus, it has nine additional amino acids. An added bonus is that kale naturally contains a higher ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.

There are more than fifty different varieties of kale, but your local supermarket probably only stocks a couple, which may include curly kale, red kale and Lacianto kale. Curly kale is the kind most often found in American kitchens, though red kale is becoming more popular, thanks to natural food stores like Whole Foods Market.

Kale is free of cholesterol and fat, and one cup has only 33 calories. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and is relatively inexpensive for most of the year.

As far as the beauty benefits of kale go, the superfood provides many of the nutrients your body needs to look its best.

Kale For Your Skin

There are certain vitamins and minerals that specifically help your skin:

Vitamin K is helpful against those nasty dark circles you may get under your eyes. Vitamin K also helps to tighten your skin and reduce that bloated or swollen look you may get after too much salt the night before.

Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that also helps your skin synthesize collagen. Collagen is the material that helps your skin look less saggy.

Lutein is a carotenoid that also works to support collagen production in your skin.

Kale is rich in Vitamin K and C, as well as lutein. As such, it is increasingly being found in commercial beauty lotions. However, if you are interested in applying kale topically, you can incorporate kale in at least one of your natural beauty products right at home.

Easy Kale Face Mask

  1. Dry 6 or 7 kale leaves in the oven on 200 for about 20 minutes.
  2. Run them through the food processor until they are finely ground.
  3. Whisk one egg white in a bowl.
  4. Blend in the ground kale.
  5. Apply to your clean face.
  6. Allow to dry until the mask can be pulled off with your fingers.
  7. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

Kale for Your Body

To get the internal benefits of kale, consider making this juice recipe in a masticating juicer.

Green Juice

Ingredients:

  • 6 leaves washed kale
  • 1 carrot, washed and peeled
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 cucumber (peel if desired)
  • 1 medium apple, cored (peel if desired)
  • 1 lemon wedge

Process all ingredients in the juicer and drink immediately or store sealed in a jar in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Kale has beneficial properties for hair and nails as well, due to the abundance of omega-3 and omega-6. Eat or drink kale as much as possible to make your hair soft and your nails strong and long. When you bring kale into your diet for National Kale Day and more, your natural beauty will shine through.