What is it about kale?
Kale is one of the top superfoods on the planet and a nutritional powerhouse. Kale is the member of the cabbage family and is related to cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts. Most common type of kale is called curly kale, with green and curly leaves and hard, fibrous stems. It is very low in calories and very high in nutrients.
The research studies show that intake of cruciferous vegetables, including kale specifically, has cancer preventive benefits.
There are 2 standout antioxidants in kale such as carotenoids and flavonoids. Lutein and beta-carotene are carotenoids and are key nutrients in protecting our bodies from oxidative stress. This is important for cancer prevention too, as oxidative stress is related to cell becoming cancerous. In addition, lutein helps lower risk of macular degeneration and eye cataracts, helps protect skin health and can control blood sugar levels thus lower risk for diabetes. For the flavonoids, kaempferol and quercetin are spotlight antioxidants in kale together with more than other 45 different antioxidants.
Vitamin K is very important nutrient and kale is a spectacular source of this vitamin, specifically vitamin K1. Together with omega-3´s called alpha linolenic acids, they have been shown to have direct anti-inflammatory benefits. Vitamin K1 is also important for blood clotting and bone health.
Kale´s content of glucosinolates shows that after eating, these are converted by the body into cancer preventive components. In addition kale provides us with cholesterol-lowering benefits, especially when prepared by steaming and thus reduces the risk of heart disease. Kale is very high in vitamin C, where 1 cup of raw kale has about 4,5 times more vitamin C content than spinach and more than a whole orange. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesizing.
It is often claimed that spinach contains vitamin A but actually it is beta-carotene, an antioxidant that body can turn into vitamin A. Kale contains good amounts of iron too, with 1,1mg per cup, containing more iron than beef, per calorie. Iron is essential for oxygen transport and cell growth.
Kale is also good source of calcium, magnesium and potassium. It also supports body´s detoxification process with the help of fiber and sulfur, which also helps with digestion. Per calorie, it has more calcium than any milk you can get.
Because kale is very low in calories, eating it could be very useful addition to a weight loss diet, even though there is no study proving kale´s effects on loosing weight.
Kale is very popular these days and there are couple of ways of eating it, especially in salads, steamed, in veggie dishes and in smoothies.
Other popular form is munching on kale chips, making it super healthy, delicious and crunchy snack.
Here is the recipe I would like to share:
Healthy and crunchy kale chips
- 1 bunch of curly kale
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (more or less according to taste)
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kelp powder
Wash your kale throughout, separating its leaves.
Next, dry in the kitchen cloth, starting to remove the stems away. You will be left out with nice curly leaves. Break these down onto smaller pieces, depending how you would like your chips size to be. Remember, it will shrink considerably in the oven, while baking.
Now, you can spread some parchment paper over your baking tray (I left out this step, and it came perfect), and spread your teared kale onto the tray. I used 2 large baking trays for the whole bunch of kale.
Next, sprinkle on the olive oil, vinegar/lemon, salt and kelp powder and massage the kale leaves for about 1-2 minutes. When done, you can add more salt, according to your taste.
Put in the oven and bake at 170°C for about 15 minutes, depending on your oven. It can be less or more, as well. When finished, just take out of the oven, cool down and start munching.
Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet and there is no reason why not to consider on loading up on kale to start reaping from its valuable benefits.