So, what is Kale? and why is Kale Healthy?
We have all become quite aware of this Kale these last years. It seems to be everywhere in every form imaginable. There are so many questions out there about Kale Why is Kale Healthy? Is Kale a Superfood? Is Kale Poisonous? Let’s take a breath and properly introduce you to Kale and Kale Nutrition. This way you can figure out whether you want it on your plate or whether you stand firm with I don’t eat Kale. You can also figure out how you want to cook with it.
Nutrition of Kale
- Kale is high in Vitamins A, K, C, B6. It is also rich in Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Zinc, and Magnesium.
- Most impressive is Kale’s Lutein content. Lutein is a carotenoid that plays a huge role in eye health, protecting the eye from damage.
- Raw Kale is very low in calories, that along with the high nutrient content makes it very nutrient dense.
- Kale contains very little fat, and the fat that it does contain is mostly an Omega-3 Fatty Acid called linolenic acid. This makes it a very anti-inflammatory food.
- It also has some protein and a decent amount of fiber helping you feel full and satisfied from this super healthy leafy green.
- Kale is also chock full of antioxidants which help your body fight damage by free radicals. Kale has also been named as a great food to help fight cancer, due to its powerhouse health-boosting nutrient content.
- I like to make sure that I am eating my kale with some healthy fat to help absorb all those healthy fat-soluble vitamins.
3 most important Kale Tips
Now that we know about all of its goodness let’s get to the two most important things to do with Kale.
- Find a way to prepare it that you enjoy. Trust me you can and will find a way that you enjoy Kale. My recommendation? Start with a recipe that adds it as a component (so not the main star). A good example would be my Kale and Chicken Chili.
- Don’t ruin it with a ton of bad stuff and still consider it healthy. Meaning, don’t throw a leaf of Kale on a triple-decker-whatever-sandwich with ranch dressing and store bought (full of junk) sauces or toppings. You can’t count that, the poor Kale didn’t stand a chance against all that stuff.
- Try and get it in different forms, raw in a salad, sauteed, cooked in soups…you get the point. If you sneak it into many different meals you won’t get sick of it. I’ve got some of my top recommendations below.
Don’t eat Kale?
Well, don’t eat too much Kale if you have thyroid concerns. Kale and the other foods in the cabbage family contain glucosinolates which can interact with thyroid function. Glucosinolates are sulfur-containing compounds that are found in all vegetables of the cruciferous family. Glucosinolates are actually very beneficial, in that they ward off viral, fungal, and bacterial infections. However, there is research to suggest that it can suppress thyroid function. So be mindful of this if you or a loved one is on thyroid medication or has thyroid concerns. A few years ago there was an article about how kale can poison you. This was quickly cleared up and debunked. If you really look into the research that touted the poisoning, you’ll see that its poison claim was unsubstantiated and full of holes.
Kale is one of those vegetables that’s very heavily sprayed with pesticides and herbicides so it is one of those vegetables that I only eat organic. So if I don’t have any growing in my yard at the time and am in need of fresh Kale it’s gotta be organic every time. Sometimes I’ll grab a bag of frozen kale (if the fresh don’t look too fresh) frozen kale works fine in any cooked recipe but of course, you need the fresh for the salads. Check out my produce buying guide on which produce I always buy organic and which can be purchased conventionally. Not sure if the Kale in your grocery store is organic? check out my Produce label decoder and worry no more. When buying Kale look for strong, sturdy leaves that are a deep green in color. Avoid bunches with limp, yellow or brown discolored leaves.
Washing & Storing Kale
As far as storing fresh kale I find it best to strip the kale and tear it a bit into bite-sized pieces and clean it right away. I use a large salad spinner and then keep it in the salad spinner until needed. The salad spinner keeps the water away from the leaves and I find that it stays fresher longer. Plus, if you want to ‘freshen it up a bit’ you can re-rinse and spin it. Check out how I wash all my produce with my 6S’s of produce care.
Kale is so versatile and I like to cook with it in many different ways. The first thing I’ll consider is whether I have a Kale lover on my hands in which case one of my Kale Salads like my Kale salad (the Zesty Italian) would be a perfect side or even a main. I might also do my Sauteed Kale with Onion and Carrots which is great for the winter months and is a real crowd pleaser. Or am I dealing with a Kale newbie or even a Kale hater? (Yeah you know who you are). Then I’ll try to sneak in some kale in a soup like my Kale Chicken Chili. If you’re craving more Kale info or recipes leave a comment below, or write me.
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