The Queen of Greens - kale

 Kale is known as one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. This leafy green is considered a nutritional powerhouse. But what makes kale so exceptional? Here is why it's a superstar vegetable and ways to work it into your diet.

 

Benefits of Kale

  • It is low in calorie, high in fibre and has zero fat
  • It is high in iron
  • It is high in Vitamin A, C and K
  • It is filled with powerful antioxidants
  • It is a great anti-inflammatory food
  • It is great for cardiovascular support
  • It is high in calcium
  • It is a great detox food

One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% 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 fibre 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.

Super-Rich in Vitamin K

Eating a diet rich in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K can reduce the overall risk of developing cancer. Vitamin K is abundant in kale but also found in parsley, spinach, collard greens, and animal products such as cheese.

Vitamin K is necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health.

Easy Ways to Prepare Kale

Quick cooking preserves kale's nutrients, texture, colour, and flavour. Rinse kale, chop it finely, and add it soups, stews, stir-frys, 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 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 favourite 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 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.

 

Try Baked Kale Chips At Home!

kale chips.jpg
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Directions

Preheat an oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line baking tray with baking paper.

With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.

Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

So toss kale into your shopping trolley to enrich the nutritional goodness of your diet and help you eat the recommended 4-5 servings of vegetables every day.