The Truth About Kale
- Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet.
by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
WebMD Expert Column
Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. A leafy green, kale is available in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
What makes kale so exceptional? Here is why it's a superstar vegetable -- and ways to work it into your diet.
Kale is a Nutritional Powerhouse
One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% 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 fiber 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 or dying from cancer, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 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.
2 bunches of kale greens (washed thoroughly)
2 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
1/2 cup of red pepper (diced)
1/2 cup red onion (minced)
1/2 cup scallions (finely sliced)
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
Kale greens should be washed thoroughly. Chiffonade the greens. Chiffonade is a cooking technique whereby the leaves are stacked and then rolled tightly. Cut across the rolled leaves forming strips of greens. For this salad, the strips should be thin. Place greens in a large bowl and massage the leaves. Add the juice of one lemon, dash of sea salt and about 2 Tbsps. of olive oil. Continue to massage the leaves until the leaves are tender. (This only takes a few minutes) Add vegetables and adjust seasoning as needed. Additional salad greens or vegetables can be added if you desire. You may also use apple cider vinegar in place of the lemon juice.
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