21 August 2012

Hail to kale!

For all the good it does, and for the good health it promotes, I think there should be a holiday to celebrate kale.
What, some may ask, is kale?

Kale is a cruciferous (or brassica) vegetable, related to other leafy greens such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and collards.

Tagged as one of the world’s healthiest foods, kale is very nutritionally dense. It is bursting with vitamins and minerals. Highlighted below are some nutrients found in a single serving (1 cup) of kale!

·         Protein- An important nutrient composed of a long chain of linked amino acids, crucial for growth, maintenance and development. A serving of kale contains 2.5 grams of protein.

·         Iron- Another very important mineral that we must consume every day to keep healthy. It has been increasingly common for vegans to have less occurrences of anemia when compared to meat eaters. Eating kale helps; one cup will get you 6% of your daily requirement.

·         Vitamin A, C- Vital in promoting a healthy immune system. Vitamin A neutralizes free radicals and also promotes healthy eyes and skin. There is well over 100% of your daily requirement of both vitamins in one serving of kale!

·         Vitamin K- Crucial for supporting bone health, and encouraging clotting of the blood, as well as reducing complications from liver disease and jaundice. One cup of kale exceeds the recommended daily intake of vitamin K!

·         Thiamin (B1) - Turns carbohydrates into energy, improves circulation and promotes healthy cognitive functioning.

·         Riboflavin (B2)-Vital for cell growth and the production of energy.

·         Folate (B9)- An important nutrient necessary in the health and production of cells,  DNA repair, and child and fetal development. 5% of your daily requirement is met with one serving of kale.

·         Magnesium & Phosphorus- Macrominerals which help produce and release energy. Also supports and maintains healthy bone growth, and aids in producing essential enzymes needed within the body. You are consuming an efficient source of both by eating kale!

·         Fiber- Kale is an excellent source of fiber: vital for digestion and keeping weight under control. Adequate intake of fiber may prevent certain diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Kale also contains flavonoids which boast antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and carotenoids, crucial in the maintenance of a healthy immune system.
Take a look at this ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) chart. Kale scores extremely well, meaning that the vegetable is loaded with powerful healthy antioxidants, protecting against innumerable diseases such as cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate.
Hungry yet? Here are some kale recipes to get you started!

Ashley Shamus | Email
Northeast Pennsylvania Ashley has a psychology degree, and is soaking up tons of knowledge while furthering her education. She has a passion for holistic nutrition, animal rights, and green vegetables. In her free time, she loves to cook, juice, and bask in the sun. She whole heartedly applauds and appreciates all of the wonderful people who strive to make a positive difference in animals’ lives!

Photo credit: TDIV