It has been a few months since I incorporated this leafy green into my eating habits, and now I can’t imagine my diet without this extraordinary veggie. What’s better: it is a powerfully healthy food. So, why is kale such a necessary addition to your lifestyle? Read on to find out why you should become a fan. P.S. Whether it’s kale chips, kale salad, or black bean kale soup, it’s hard to get bored with this versatile power plant. Don’t miss the finale of recipes to try!
The Art of Digestion
One cup of kale has only 36 calories and zero grams of fat, which makes it a great weight loss helper. In addition, one cup contains nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar and curbs overeating. Now for the medical jargon: kale contains the glucosinolate isothiocyanate (ITC) that fights the formation of H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori), a bacterial growth in the stomach lining that can lead to gastric cancer.
A Bowl Full of Antioxidants
Kale is a superstar when it come to carotenoids and flavonoids, two powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals that cause oxidative stress. The key flavonoids kaempferol and quercitin (not to dismiss the 45 other distinctive flavonoids in kale) have also been shown to specifically fight against the formation of cancerous cells. With the addition of high doses of well-known antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese, kale is without-a-doubt a smart choice in the battle against cellular oxidation.
The Anti-Inflammatory Agent
One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids that helps regulate the body’s inflammatory process. A megadose of vitamin K further aids to fight against excessive inflammatory-related problems, such as arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and asthma.
A Shield Against Cancer
Not only do kale’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities work together to prevent and even combat cancer, a healthy diet of kale also provides glucosinolates, which have been shown to prevent colon, breast, bladder, prostate, ovarian cancers, as well as gastric cancer.
A Top Cardiovascular Supporter
The high fiber content of kale lowers cholesterol by binding with bile acids that the liver produces from cholesterol for digesting fat. Because many of these bile acids are coupled with fiber, the liver is charged with producing more bile acid to digest fat, and therefore requires more cholesterol to do so, ultimately lowering the amount of cholesterol within our bodies.
A Natural Detox
The isothiocyanates (ITC) from glucosinolates found in kale aid in both phases I and II of the body’s detoxification process. The high sulfur content of kale has further been shown essential for phase II of detoxification. It aids in clearing out toxic build-up!
A Strong Dose of Vitamin K
Kale provides a whopping dose of vitamin K (providing 1327% of the RDA in one cup), which is necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin, a protein that strengthens the composition of our bones. Vitamin K also prevents calcium build-up in our tissue that can lead to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Finally, vitamin K is essential for synthesizing sphingolipid, the fat needed to maintain the myelin sheath around our nerves, and therefore our nervous system as a whole.
A Boost of Vitamin A
With over 192% of the RDA of vitamin A, one cup of kale is an effective antioxidant, boosts immunity, maintains healthy bones and teeth, prevents urinary stones, and is essential to our reproductive organs.
A Dose of Vitamin C
Vitamin C, which one cup of kale heartily provides (over 88% of our RDA), is not only a powerful antioxidant, but also lowers blood pressure, ensures a healthy immune system, and fights against age-related ocular diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Kale Salad with Raisins and Pumpkin Seeds
What You’ll Need:
Kale (preferred amount)
1/2 cup raw pumkpin seeds
1/2 cup unprocessed, fresh raisins
1 Tbsp. fresh goat cheese
Homemade dressing, see LOLO suggestions here!
Directions: Combine all ingredients, and enjoy!
Toasted Kale and Coconut Salad with Sesame Oil
As printed in Super Natural Every day by Heidi Swanson.
What You’ll Need:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 TSP toasted sesame oil
2 TBL shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce
3 ½ lightly packed cups of chopped kale, stems trimmed, large ribs removed
1 ½ cups of unsweetened large-flake coconut
2 cups cooked farro or other whole grain (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F with two racks in the top third of the oven.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, and shoyu. Put the kale and the coconut in a large bowl and toss well with about two-thirds of the olive oil mixture.
Spread the kale evenly across two baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, until the coconut is deeply golden brown, tossing once or twice along the way. If the kale mixture on the top baking sheet begins to get too browned, move it to the lower rack.
Remove from the oven and transfer the kale mixture to a medium bowl. Taste. If you need a bit more dressing, add some and toss. Place the farro on a serving platter and top with the tossed kale.