Green Week: Kale

Posted by Erin Donahue on 03/15, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Kale. Photo Credit Emily Wiley.

Want to add more greens to your diet, but can’t get excited about iceberg lettuce and broccoli? Give kale a try; it’s the “super food.”

Kale is a form of cabbage and can be either green or purple in color. It is very high in beta-carotene, vitamin K, and vitamin C, and it is reasonably rich in calcium. It is a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidants.

Kale is not only a healthy vegetable; it is very versatile and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes. It can be added to salads, baked into chips, or creamed for a nutritious side dish.

Kale is available throughout most of the year, but it is most abundant during the fall and winter. There are many varieties from crinkly-leaved to smooth-leaved. The smooth type is usually referred to as spring kale, and the curly version is called Scotch kale or Siberian blue kale.

The best way to enjoy the nutrition and flavor of kale is to cook it properly. To ensure quick and even cooking, cut the leaves into ½-inch slices and the stems into ¼-inch pieces. Let both sit for at least five minutes to enhance their health-promoting qualities.

Kale may reduce cholesterol and decrease the risk of several types of cancer like bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. The isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these health benefits.

Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. Also, kale can reduce inflammation in your body.

When comparing vitamins and minerals for leafy greens, like kale and iceberg lettuce, kale is by far the winner. This simple, abundant vegetable has become much more popular as it’s healthy benefits are learned.

More and more often, people are using kale to make salads heartier, smoothies greener, and chips healthier!

What’s your favorite way to use this super food?

(Learn more about kale.)

Tags: kale | green |

{name} Author: Erin Donahue

Bio: Erin is a senior at Penn State majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in sociology. She's excited to share her passion for food, writing, and multimedia.

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