What The Kale?

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What is this dark leafy green and why should we be eating it? We dove in a little deeper to give you the run-down on why this plant is being praised in the health industry for its nutritional content and how it can benefit you and your family!

First, kale is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. Its relatives include: broccoli, cabbage, collard greens and many other healthy green leaf vegetables.

Fun fact: Did you know Kale has been served since the Roman times? It is said Kale has been cultivated for over 6,000 years, and for good reasons!

This jam packed nutritional powerhouse plant takes the spotlight as being arguably one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Kale is awesome and here is why; it is a low calorie food that is high in fiber, has zero fat and packed with nutrients.

One cup of Kale leaves has only 36 calories, offers 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat.

Kale has a remarkable nutrient profile which include

High levels of antioxidants

Manganese and other essential minerals including: calcium, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.

Vitamins: K, A, C, B

Heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids

Protein

Fiber

 

Benefits of consuming Kale

Promotes eye, skin and heart health

Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants to help protect against various cancers.

Helps to lowers cholesterol

High fiber content aids in digestion and intestinal cleansing.

Helps reduce inflammation

High in iron, kale is great for proper liver function.

Different Types and how to use

Baby Kale – perfect for salads

Curly – Saute or quickly boil

Red – Steam, Saute or make kale chips

Lacinato (Dino) – cut into ribbons and eat in salads

How to Buy Kale

Kale has become a member of the “ Dirty Dozen”, therefore It is recommended that you buy kale that is organically grown. Or even better, grow your own! It is heart and typically will survive in the winter months!

The leaves should be firm and deeply colored with stems that are moist and strong. Avoid leaves that are browning or yellowing, and free from small holes. If the raw leaves show signs of wilting, it is an indication that the greens have been sitting on the shelf for too long, or they were not properly stored…avoid these wilting leaves.

How to Store Kale

To store, keep kale refrigerated in an airtight bag. It can typically be stored for up to 5 days, but you may notice the flavor increase in bitterness with longer storage. Only wash the kale when you are ready to use it as washing before storage will promote spoilage.

 

How to Fit Kale Into Your Life

Steam kale with your favorite vegetables

Prepare a raw kale salad

Add kale to your favorite green smoothies

Bake kale for a healthy snack

 

Simple Staple Kale Salad

Ingredients:

½ c extra-virgin olive oil

¼ c lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic mashed

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon Thyme

Pinch red pepper flakes

2 bunches Dino (Tuscan, Lacinato) Kale, ribs removed and leaves sliced into ¼ ribbons

*½ c finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus shavings for garnish.  

*2 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs

*Omit cheese if, vegan or dairy-free.

*Omit, bread crumbs if gluten-free

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, thyme and pepper flakes. Add kale and toss to coat (preferably 2 minutes). Let sit at room temperature for 10-30 minutes.
  • Add grated cheese and breadcrumbs and toss (Omit if dairy-free or gluten-free)
  • Garnish with shaved cheese before serving. Cover and refrigerate leftovers up to two days. Enjoy!