|Look for kale leaves that are firm and deeply colored|
Kale health benefits – and good taste!
Kale is nature’s multivitaminKale is a great way to get a multitude of critical vitamins into your system – and in the most natural of forms. A cup of cooked kale loads you up with vitamin K (1327.6% RDA!) as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, fiber, copper, tryptophan, calcium, vitamin B6, potassium, iron, magnesium, and more.
Kale is the king of flavonoidsFlavonoids are plant-based antioxidants that prevent disease and stave off aging. You get more than 45 different flavonoids in every bit of kale, especially the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouses kaempferol and quercetin. If you want to reduce chronic inflammation and avoid oxidative stress, eat kale.
Kale reduces cancer riskScientists reporting in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tell us that kale consumption can reduce your risk of getting colon cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer. Kale does this with its glucosinolates (a cancer-preventive catalyst) and its abundance of the antioxidant vitamin K.
Kale detoxifiesKale K.O.’s the toxicity in your body, thanks to its isothiocyanates (ITCs) and glucosinolates, which regulate detoxification at the cellular and genetic level. Also aiding in detoxification is kale’s high amounts of sulfur compounds. Combined with the ITCs, kale’s nutrients work wonders in protecting your body from toxins, both ingested and from the environment.
Kale can lower cholesterolKale is great for you raw, but when you steam kale, it unleashes a cadre of extra cholesterol-lowering benefits. The trick is to boost kale’s binding of its fiber-related components. Steaming does this, empowering kale to grab onto your digestive tract’s bile acids, which can then be more readily excreted. And getting rid of that bile lowers your cholesterol levels.
|Organic kale is the least likely to be contaminated with insecticides|
Any kale health risks?
- Because of its extraordinary amounts of vitamin k, there are risks if you are taking an anticoagulant drug, such as warfarin.
- Kale also contains naturally occurring oxalates, which may block the calcium benefits of dairy products when eaten together.
- Because of the oxalates, also avoid kale if you have kidney or gallbladder issues.
- A 2012 report about pesticides in produce cautions that conventionally grown kale is often contaminated with insecticides that are toxic to the nervous system, and therefore recommends getting kale that is grown organically.
- Kale may interfere with thyroid function if you have goiter issues.
How to buy, store, and eat kale
One of the easiest ways to enjoy kale raw is to simply add some to any fruit smoothie.
It will give it a nice green color and its neutral flavor blends well with your other ingredients.
You can also enjoy it as a crunchy snack using this Cheesy Kale Chips recipe if you have a dehydrator. I love this one. Not only is it tasty, but it’s portable, easy to consume on a hike or as a playground munchie for your kids.
Even if you don’t have a dehydrator, you can make kale chips by drizzling a bit of olive oil onto bite-sized pieces of kale, adding a little salt, and then baking on a cookie sheet. Set your oven to 350 degrees and you should have them ready for munching in less than 15 minutes.
Here are some real kale recipe zingers from WHFoods.com:
- Poached Eggs Over Sauteed Greens
- Super Energy Kale Soup
- Turkey and Vegetable Chili Verde
- Sesame Braised Chicken & Cabbage
- 5-Minute Kale
- 5-Minute Kale with Sea Vegetables
If you have any personal experience with adding kale to your diet, or if you have any killer kale recipes to share, please use the comments below.