Superfood Facts: Kale
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of leafy green veggies (including cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts) that have gained superfood status due to their health-promoting, cancer-fighting, sulfur-containing phytonutrients. There are several varieties of kale; curly kale, ornamental kale, and dinosaur (aka Tuscan) kale. Each variety differs in size, taste, texture and appearance.
Kale has many incredible health benefits, including:
- Lowers cancer risk in at least five different types of cancer. These researched include bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate. The Isothiocyanates made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk lowering benefits.
- The glucosinolates in kale also support the body’s natural detoxification, all the way down to the genetic level
- Kale is an excellent source of Omega-3’s. Just 100 calories worth of kale to provides more than 25% of our recommended daily Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Kale is a phenomenal source of Vitamin K. One cup provides more micrograms of it than any other food on the planet. Vitamin K plays an important role in helping regulate our body’s inflammatory process.
- Kale has over 45 different flavinoids, which have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. This broad spectrum of antioxidants helps the body prevent cancer, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Kale is available year round, but most readily available from winter through early spring.
- The leaves should be fresh, unwilted, and free from small holes and signs of browning or yellowing.
- Choose kale with smaller leaves, which will be more tender and mild than larger leaves.
- According to the Environmental Working Group, traditionally grown kale is contains high levels of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Buy organic if you can.
How to Prepare/Store:
- Store kale in the refridgerator in a plasic bag, removing as much air as possible. Exposure to air will make the kale wilt and soften.
- To eat, remove kale leaves from the thick ribs and wash
- I usually buy a big batch, clean and wash and then store in my OXO Salad Spinner, which keeps the leaves crisp and fresh for a week. Then I can grab whatever I need while I'm cooking.
As you can see, I am in love with kale. I will be posting a bunch of recipes soon!