Kale: Your Friend with Benefits

October 10, 2012 2:58 am
Posted in: Food For Thought
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This October Unprocessed guest post is also part of International Kale Day(Okay, so International Kale Day didn’t exist…until now! I hope that you’ll make every October 10 — or every day — Kale Day from now on.)

Red Russian Kale, Lacinato Kale, Redbor Kale, Green Scotch Kale

Did you know that kale is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables around?  If you had one choice for a vegetable, it should definitely be kale!

Before you start washing, chopping, and cooking with kale, you must take a moment to find out why kale is your new friend with benefits. Here are the top five reasons:

Antioxidants

Kale has powerful antioxidants that may fight against cancerous cells. Loaded with carotenoids and flavonoids, which protect your cells from oxidative stress, this cruciferous vegetable can also help keep you looking youthful and healthy from the inside out.

Anti-Inflammatory

A cup of kale provides you with 100mg of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce inflammation. With the added mega-dose of vitamin K, it may help reduce inflammatory-related problems, such as asthma, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, allergies and sensitivities, acne, colitis, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure and more.

Detox

Research has shown that the isothiocyanates (ITC) from glucosinolates found in kale can aid in your body’s detoxification process at a genetic level. The high sulfur content is also essential in the detox process. Getting rid of toxins in your body is important to help keep your organs running smoothly.

Diet & Digestion

Kale is great for those on a diet, as one cup contains 36 calories, and zero grams of fat. It also provides you with 20% of your dietary fiber per day, which aids and improves digestion, and prevents constipation. For those trying to lose weight kale, put kale at the top of your list of foods to eat, as it helps curb overeating and lowers your blood sugar levels.

Vitamins A, C, & K

One cup of kale provides you with 180% of your daily value of vitamin A, which is important for maintaining your vision, your skin and cellular health, and immune function. It also gives you twice your daily minimum vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body, may shorten the duration of a common cold, and can help keep your skin from wrinkling as you age. That same cup of kale provides you with more than ten times your daily minimum of vitamin K, which can strengthen our bones and help prevent calcium build up in our tissues that can lead to heart disease and stroke – and it may reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer, according to a  study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Kale Stir Fry

Kale Stir Fry
Author: 
Recipe Type: Side
 
Here's a lovely way get it on with kale. You can share it with other vegetables to gain even more benefits. I find that adding collards, spinach, red peppers and white beans really add flavor to the mix. This makes a nice side dish with a piece of white fish.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 cup chopped collards
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • ½ cup diced sweet red pepper
  • ½ cup white beans
  • ¼ cup sliced green onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • lemon and sliced green onion, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the vegetables and beans, and stir-fry for 8-12 minutes.
  3. Garnish with lemon and green onion slices.
  4. Enjoy!

“Kale: Red Russian, Lacinato, Redbor, Green Scotch” © 2012 Suzie’s Farm, used under Creative Commons License

Kale Day Linkup!

October Unprocessed2012

This guest post was part of the October Unprocessed 2012 Challenge, in which more than 6,000 people pledged to eat no processed food for the month. Learn More.

14 Comments on "Kale: Your Friend with Benefits"
  1. Comment left on:
    October 10, 2012 at 7:08 am

    These are all really great reasons why to eat kale and can convince me, but any way to convince the husband and kids, all of whom care more about how a vegetable looks and tastes than it’s nutrition content? Bringing in new vegetables often lands me the “mom’s a crazy lady” look

    • Comment left on:
      October 10, 2012 at 8:36 am
      Andrew says:

      I’d start by feeding them kale chips… I haven’t heard of anyone yet who doesn’t love kale chips! :)

      http://www.eatingrules.com/2010/08/baked-kale-chips/

    • Comment left on:
      October 10, 2012 at 12:34 pm
      Sandy says:

      Kale and potato croquettes? (AKA colcannon when made with cabbage.) Practically everybody likes potato pancakes. Serve with Ketchup for the kids (Heinz makes an organic-ingredients version with no HFCS, if you don’t make your own yet.)

      • Comment left on:
        October 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm
        Sandy says:

        Or mild salsa instead of ketchup – the cooked tomato adds to the bioavailability of iron in the greens.

      • Comment left on:
        October 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm

        I know Colcannon(the Irish version that is) with mashed potatoes rather than croquettes. Made with kale, it is (practically) the same as the Dutch stamppot boerenkool (see my comment on this page). And you are right: everybody loves it, esp also children here in Holland. It is a national dish over here.

    • Comment left on:
      October 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      Jacqui – my son will only eat one or two kale chips, but I have had luck with the massaged kale salad with lemon juice and parmesan cheese. I let him add the cheese himself — it may be half-cheese, half-kale when he’s done, but at least he’s eating the kale! :) I’ve also worked it into baked ziti and smoothies.

  2. Comment left on:
    October 10, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I recently learned that cilantro is great for detoxing and will chelate all the heavy metals from your organs if you eat a large handful every day for 2 – 3 weeks. If you live in LA, chances are you’ve got heavy metals, so eating cilantro couldn’t hurt!

  3. Comment left on:
    October 10, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Did you know that kale is maybe THE national winter dish in the Netherlands? We Dutchies call it boerenkool(pronounce booh-ruh-coal). We serve it overhere cooked and mashed with potatoes, add a generous smoked sausage (a bit like Kielbasa), maybe mustard, piccalilly or vinegar. A very hearty winterdish after iceskating :).

  4. Comment left on:
    October 10, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Brilliant post, LOADED with awesome information on one of my favorite greens. Love it! Thanks for adding the linkup too, I’ll definitely be checking the recipes out. Perfect timing too, as I was really in the mood for kale this week, but didn’t really know how I wanted to prep it. Now this just sealed the deal. I am so buying kale on my way home tonight! No doubt I will find the inspiration that I need right here. :)

  5. Comment left on:
    October 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    And here is the recipe for Dutch boerenkool stamppot (kale hash). The smoked sausage is a bit difficult to purchase unprocessed, but good, old fashioned butchers still make em using real smoke and no additives. The recipe in this link has a 1:3 ratio of kale to potatoes. In Holland, this ratio would be 2:3 or even 1:1. The dish should be very, very green. I’d serve some piccalilly on the side (which is, in Europe anyway, available from 100% organic ingredients and no additives).

    http://www.food.com/recipe/boerenkool-stamppot-kale-hash-33269

  6. Comment left on:
    October 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm
    Alli says:

    Falling in love with Kale all over again… Thanks for the great info!

  7. Comment left on:
    October 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm
    Syhren says:

    I love kale! I only recently started eating it, and I find it to be very delicious. In fact, I just made a soup using a whole bundle of kale this evening. Thanks for the recipe, it sounds delicious!

  8. .
    October 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    [...] even tofu-fearing husband has learned to appreciate it — so of course we had to jump on the Kale Day bandwagon on social media today. You see, the blog Eating Rules has an “October [...]

  9. Comment left on:
    October 11, 2012 at 6:39 pm
    Hannah says:

    I am a huge fan of kale, and these are terrific reminders of how healthy it is to eat. We’re trying to add more anti-inflammatory foods to our diet and this is a go-to one for me. Sauteed kale with a poached egg on top has become my fast food dinner. I love the recipe you share here and look forward to trying it this weekend!

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