KALE

Loved and hated, we cannot but admit that Kale is a super food. But is it all good about it? Let’s go over some research and evidence then.

In the last few years kale has been part of the nutritional new trends. From just looking at it it is a pretty tough veggie to eat. Leaves are dark and somewhat hard. If you ask me, far from attractive to eat. If you eat it raw it is bitter and strong flavoured so its use has been promoted in smoothies, juices, chips, but will still keep its superfood properties once processed or heated?. Let’s dig in a little more.

Kale growing in ceramic pot, close-up

The PROS:

Vitamin C: gram for gram, kale has more than twice the vitamin C as an orange. This is when we eat it raw, if cooked, a percentage will be lost.

Healthy fats: kale is a great source of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), the omega-3 fatty acid that’s essential for brain health, reduces Type 2 diabetes risk and boosts heart health as well. Each cup has 121 mg of ALA.

Calcium: kale has 150 mg of calcium per 100 grams, and studies show that its absorption is greater than the calcium from milk (Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 Apr;51(4):656-7. Calcium absorption from kale.)

Antioxidants: kale is rich in sulfur, which helps produce glutathione,an important antioxidant in the body.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: kale also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which function as antioxidants in the body and improve eyesight. This pair of antioxidants combines to increase the amount of pigment in your macula, which means protection from the sun and a lower risk of macular degeneration.

Take a look at the label I prepared equivalent to a cup of chopped kale, get the picture?

There are tons of ways to eat kale, a few very simple ways to get started:

Juice: 1 cup of kale plus 1 apple. Drink within 30 mins to absorb all its nutritional benefits.

kale-juice

Chips: cut the leaves, spray them with olive oil and add a pinch or marine salt. Bake in the oven at 350 F degrees for 10 minutes. Let them cool. Can keep in an air tight container.

tray-kale

Salad: just finely chop it and add Healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, or almond butter to make fat-soluble carotenoids more available to the body.

127-kale-and-avocado-sal400

The CONS:

But, is it all good and good for everybody?

People taking blood thinners like Coumadin (warfarin) should consult with their physician prior to changing their kale consumption, as all the vitamin K in kale can interfere with that medicine.

Those who have a cruciferous vegetable allergy. It’s very rare, but some people are allergic to kale and other crucifers like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

Be mindful as you introduce more roughage into your diet. kale should be eaten in moderation because eating large amount of leafy greens can cause bloating, gas, and constipation.

Lastly, according to the Environmental Working Group, kale is one of the most likely crops to have residual pesticides. The organization recommends choosing organic kale (or growing it yourself!).

 

My own growing kale!

my-kale1

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