Hop on the Kale Train
Kale, with its ever-growing popularity, has become somewhat of a sensation. Although many food trends tend to dissipate quickly, the “kale train” doesn’t seem to be slowing down. And with good reason, as it’s known to be one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet.
Photo Credit: krossbow
Kale is most commonly recognized for its exceptional nutrient richness, health benefits, and delicious flavor. With its rich combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, kale is a dieter’s dream food. But it’s also a versatile crop that’s available in many varieties, including curly, ornamental, and dinosaur (lacinato).
Fun Fact: Kale freezes very well, so if you ever have more than you can use, just blanch and freeze it to enjoy later! (Take care not to over boil.)
Kale is a nutritious powerhouse. Just one cup of kale contains 5 grams of fiber, 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and incredibly 1,020% of vitamin K, all in only 36 calories. Kale is also a good source of copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
But of course, these nutritious numbers mean nothing without the amazing health benefits attached to them. Are you ready for this?
The fiber-related components of kale bind bile acids, helping lower bad blood cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease. Antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K, along with kale’s 45 different flavonoids, provide support for the body’s detoxification system and reduce risk of cancer. The 45 flavonoids also combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, giving kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress—ultimately cancer.
Photo Credit: t-dubisme
Kale also possesses important carotenoids; lutein and zeaxathin. These carotenoids promote good eye health by helping prevent UV rays from damaging the eyes and causing cataracts.
On the other hand, because 1 cup of Kale provides you with 1,020% of the daily requirement of vitamin K, it is wise to be cautious. Too much vitamin K can cause health problems for some people, so anyone taking anticoagulants should consult with a doctor before adding kale to the diet. Kale also contains oxalates, naturally occurring substances that interfere with calcium absorption, so avoid pairing kale with calcium-rich foods in your recipes. Moderation is key. Kale is a nutritious powerhouse, and is a vegetable that should be added to most people’s diets, but you never want to go overboard. Too much of a good thing can sometimes be a bad thing. So keep it classy and eat thoughtfully!
Tip: Kale tastes great sautéed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little lemon! You can also make yummy kale chips in the oven or just eat it plain in a salad.
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