Eat More Kale! The fervent consumption of kale has recently grown into a cult-like following. Odds are you know someone who swears by kaleís immense health benefits and tastiness. Persuaded by their healthy glow, you might eat it too. But how much do you really know about this power-packed member of the cabbage family?
Types of Kale
There are so many types of kale. However, the 3 most ubiquitous are curly kale, lacinato kale (aka dinosaur kale, black kale, Tuscan kale, or cavolo nero), and red Russian kale.
The most common type of kale purchased from the market†is†curly kale. As you could guess, it is very curly at the edges and ranges from light green to purple. Ironically, it is one of the more bitter types of kale, so the younger leaves are better.
A personal favorite is lacinato kale. With deep blue-green leaves, lacinato is more wrinkled, narrow and firm, spearlike leaf. It has a deeper, earthy kale flavor with a touch of nutty sweetness.
Lastly, red Russian kale has flat leaves similar to big leaves of oak or arugula. With a general reddish purple coloring, it is mild and sweet in flavor but has very woody stems which require removal. It is an excellent kale for cold weather. Regardless of which type you prefer, when you buy your kale, make sure itís organic. Otherwise, itís probably loaded with pesticides.
So, what are the benefits of kale again?
Antioxidants. Kale is simply loaded with antioxidants that protect against cancers and macular degeneration. To put it simply, it is an overall anti-inflammatory food. Need I say more?
Brain boost! Kale is a great source of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which is an omega-3 fatty acid responsible for boosting brain and heart health and reducing your risk of Type II diabetes.
Better than beef. Kale actually provides more iron per calorie than beef!
Cleansing. At 36 calories and a whopping 5 grams of fiber a cup, eating kale is like cleaning your intestines with a pipe cleaner.
Better than milk. Kale has more calcium per calorie when compared to a glass of milk. However, for calcium to be properly absorbed into the body, magnesium must be present. As kale has rich supply of both calcium and magnesium, the calcium in kale is actually absorbed by the body more readily than calcium from milk. Acid like lemon juice makes kaleís calcium even more bioavailable.
Better than an orange. One cup of kale offers 134% of your RDA of vitamin C, whereas a medium orange boasts 113%. However, as a cup of kale weighs about 67 grams and the orange weighs 131 grams, gram for gram, kale has over double the vitamin C of an orange! Next time you get a cold, better ask for some kale chips with your O.J.
Vitamin galore! Kale provides 133% of your daily vitamin A intake — a serious eye and skin booster! It also offers a ton of disease fighting vitamin K along with a myriad of other flavonoids and benefits…
Are you loving the benefits, but find organic kale too expensive? Grow your own! Kale is very tolerant of the cold, in fact it thrives in it, making it an excellent autumn green. If planted in late July, it will last well into the fall, gaining desirable sweetness with each frost.
So what are you going to do with all of this newfound kale knowledge? Put it on everything! Kale is a hearty delight and chock full of nutrition!† Kale can enhance soups, pizzas, salads, entrees, or even make a great snack. Whatís your favorite kale-centric meal?
Interested in learning more about kale? Check out 50 Shades of Kale by Dr. Drew Ramsey.