What’s so great about Kale?
Kale, is it really as great as I keep hearing it is, or is it just another fad? Also, it looks like just a thick, unappetizing leaf. How do I even eat that?
Kale has become one of the biggest buzz words in the health industry over the last few years; the wonder veggie is said to be SOOOO good for your health. But is it really? And how do you even eat it?
After doing a little digging on my own, I found that it is considered a “superfood” and for good reason! Just one cup of kale contains vitamins A, K, C, B6, B1, B2, B3, and the minerals iron, phosphorus, manganese, calcium, copper, magnesium, and potassium.
Why do all these matter anyway?
Without getting all technical, here are a few of the facts I found. High amounts of vitamin C are building blocks for the functioning of body cells. It is said that there is more vitamin C in kale than in an orange! Vitamin K is the one good for the coagulation of the blood. Kale also has more calcium than a glass of milk – which is beneficial for bone health and the processes involved in muscle and nerve function throughout the body. Inflammation in the body is like a silent killer lurking below the surface. The manganese in kale helps the body fight and reduce inflammation.
Kale is also high in antioxidants, which are useful for combating free radicals, those rascal buggers that cause cell damage, leading to aging and disease! Antioxidants are also great for your heart and blood pressure.
Wait, what’s a free radical?
The Mayo Clinic says, “Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food or when you’re exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation.”
So, kale sounds pretty great, right? Is there any reason to avoid kale? Or any reason to watch how much you consume?
Yes. Eating kale in significantly high amounts on a daily basis can negatively interfere with thyroid functioning. So, if you’re a kale lover and have thyroid problems, you may be the person who wants to limit intake to once a week. Additionally, it has been added to the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list – meaning it has been found to contain high amounts of pesticide residue.
So, what do you do about that?
Buy local or organic kale. These options are less likely to contain significant amounts of pesticides. If neither are available, consider spending time properly washing kale leaves. You can purchase a solution in the produce section or combine water and vinegar in a 4:1 ratio to wash (soak) your kales leaves. Will it completely remove pesticides? Probably not, but it will reduce the amount you consume significantly, and washing your fruits and vegetables will actually make them taste better too. Seriously, try it with grapes or tomatoes, washed and unwashed. You’ll spit the unwashed ones out and will forever never go without washing your produce again.
Now that you know a little about the benefits of kale and some reasons not to overdo consuming it, you may be wondering…How the hell do I cook it???
I’m glad you asked! Kale is known as a cruciferous vegetable – very fibrous (great for digestion!) – kinda similar to collard greens. To me, it doesn’t taste great raw, and for those with thyroid issues, avoid eating it raw. Regardless, if you prefer a raw food diet, then eating it raw could mean simply chopping it up and mixing it with another lettuce for a salad, or dehydrating it to make kale chips.
Kale will never be the star or centerpiece of a dish, but it will play a nutrient-dense supporting role at best. Other ways to consume it would be blended in a smoothie, wilted in soup, cooked low and slow the same way as collard greens, or wilted in a sauté pan with some chopped garlic – the same way you would to make spinach as a side dish.
You said soup…I did. Check the extra download included with this article for a homemade Zuppa Toscana recipe! You know…that awesome potato soup you love so much from your neighborhood Olive Garden? Yeah, that soup!
In conclusion, kale is great for you! Just don’t go cray cray and eat it every day. K?