Food & Fact: KALE

Hello everybody,

It’s vegetable time! And for the first vegetable to be explored I definitely had to pick a superhero. No doubt about it, it’s:

KALE:

kale-pola

  • Brassica oleracea
  • a leafy green vegetable belonging to the cruciferous vegetables group, including cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts; there are several varieties of kale: curly kale, ornamental kale, and dinosaur (or Lacinato or Tuscan) kale, which differ in taste, texture, and appearance;
  • Buying & Storing: look for deep colour, crisp leaves; store unwashed in a vented plastic bag in the fridge, away from fruits; the longer it is stored, the bitter the flavour becomes;
  • Important: kale is on the Dirty Dozen Plus list from the Environmental Working Group 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which means it may contain pesticide residues of special concern, so again it is recommended to buy organic;
  • A good source of:
  1. Fiber: fiber-related components of kale bind together with bile acids in your digestive tract better, when kale has been steamed, meaning better absorption of fibre and all-over better digestion;
  2. Flavonoids: has over 45 different flavonoids (kaempferol and quercetin in large amounts) effects remarkable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits;
  3. Glucosinolatestop food source for at least 4 glucosinolates; once eaten and digested, these glucosinolates can be converted by the body into cancer preventive compounds and in some cases kale has cancer treatment properties as well. Cancer related research for kale shows it has beneficial effects on colon and breast cancer, risk of bladder, prostate, and ovarian cancer have also all been found to decrease in relationship to routine intake of kale;
  4. Essential fatty acids (EFAs): contains a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the basic building block for all Omega-3 fatty acids, which boost heart health and have many other health benefits;
  5. VITAMINS: vitamin K (1cup/130g containing 1327.6%  of daily value!!!), vitamin A (354.1%), vitamin C (88.8%), vitamin E, B complex vitamins (pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamine);
  6. MINERALS: manganese, copper, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium;
  • Actions: antioxidant, anticancer, detoxifying, lower blood cholesterol, anti-inflammatory;
  • In Ayurveda: qualities of cold, takes energy and fire to digest;
  • Culinary uses: rinse under cold running water, remove tough stem and spine, shred, chop or tear; works well with curries, legumes, spicy Indian dishes;
  • Interesting and useful: for maximum nutrition it is best eaten steamed; steaming and/ or sprinkling it with lemon juice decreases bitterness in the taste of kale. When using it raw squash it well with your hands first. Excellent to use in juices. For a super delicious and healthy snack see recipe below.

Recipe: KALE CHIPS:

1 bunch of fresh kale leaves washed  and well drained

2 tbsp olive oil (melted ghee works well too)

salt or soy sauce

nutritional yeast (optional)

Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Shred or chop kale leaves into bite sized pieces and put them in the baking tray. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt or soy sauce, toss with your hands until leaves are evenly coated. If you want you can sprinkle it with nutritional yeast too, it will give it an extra yummy flavour. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until kale is dark green and crunchy. If you are curious, try experimenting with adding spices and herbs. Enjoy 🙂

I have nothing more to say, other than try it, use it, it’s super good for you.

And also: I ♥ kale! 😀

Maja

p.s.:  In case you would like me to write about a particular food, just drop a comment or a message on my email and I will see, that you get your answer.

Resources:

The Vegetarian Cook’s Bible: Pat Crocker,

The Ayurvedic Cookbook: Amedea Morningstar with Urmila Desai,

– http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale

– http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/

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