Say greens in our family and mustards, collard, turnips, cabbage and spinach come immediately to mind. We’ve had kale in prepared salad mixes but that was about it. Recently, kale has moved to a regular in our green rotation.
Why? Kale has been called the “queen of greens” and many rank it among the healthiest vegetables.
Kale is a Nutritional Powerhouse
One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.
Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.
Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.
Kale has several varieties, from lighter colored flat tender leaves with mild flavor to curly dark green leaves with a slightly pungent profile. I picked up some at Walmart early this week and mixed it with other greens in salads. The variety I purchased was on the stronger flavor side. Yum.
In addition to salads, kale also found it’s way into our tequila lime grilled shrimp and mushroom wraps for dinner last night.
And into my egg white omelet wrap this morning. (Using up the last of the wheat tortillas).
Other ideas: Sauté it simply in a bit of olive oil with onions, garlic and a bit of hot sauce. Add it to soups and pasta dishes, or make a kale pesto or some kale chips.
BTW: Kale loves cool weather so it will be in season and bountiful soon.
Check out healthy kale recipe ideas at: RealSimple, CookingLight and Health.com