Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. A leafy green, kale is available in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes coniferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% 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.
Easy Ways to Prepare Kale
Quick cooking preserves kale’s nutrients, texture, color, and flavor. Rinse kale, chop it finely, and add it soups, stews, stir-fry’s, salads, egg dishes, or casseroles. Or top pizzas with kale for added nutritional goodness. Steam kale for five minutes to make it more tender or eat it raw. You can also substitute it for spinach or collard greens in recipes.
Other fast and easy ways to prepare kale:
- Make a simple salad with a bunch of thinly sliced kale, red pepper, onion, raisins, and your favorite salad dressing.
- Braise chopped kale and apples, garnish with chopped walnuts, and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
- Toss whole-grain pasta with chopped kale, pine nuts, feta cheese, and a little olive oil.
- Cover and cook a pound of chopped kale with a few garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes; season with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
- Make kale chips by slicing kale into bite-size pieces, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees in the oven.
All vegetables are rich in nutrients and fiber, fat-free, and low in calories and are intended to be the cornerstone of all healthy diets. Toss kale into your grocery cart to enrich the nutritional goodness of your diet and help you eat the recommended 4-5 servings of vegetables every day.
Please take a moment to check out the recipe for Kale Chips
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