The MyPlate and Food Guide Pyramid of the US Department of Agriculture recommend eating vegetables daily to reduce the risk of health disorders due to nutrient deficiencies. Some vegetables have a wider range of nutrients, and one is a favorite of weight-loss programs. It may be the healthiest vegetable in terms of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
How Kale Became “Trendy”
Eating a vegetarian diet has increased in popularity over the past decade. One reason has been a greater awareness of the relationship of cholesterol and “red meat” consumption to heart disease and colon cancer. Vegetarian meals are typically lower in cholesterol than those containing meat or poultry. However, it can be difficult for vegetarians to obtain an adequate range of nutrients on a daily basis without increasing calories. As a green leafy vegetable, kale is a great choice because it is nutrient-rich. Recent nutrition studies have produced more interest in eating kale and promoted public interest in buying it. As a result, chain supermarkets have stocked more of this vegetable in their produce aisles.
Kale contains high amounts of Vitamin A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber, antioxidants, and flavonoids. In terms of minerals, it is an excellent source of calcium, potassium, and iron. This green, leafy vegetable has also been attributed with anti-inflammatory properties. Its high fiber content is considered advantageous in meal-planning for weight loss.
This vegetable has been shown to aid digestion due to its high fiber content, and cholesterol-lowering benefits. It contains indole-3-carbinol, which is involved in estrogen metabolism, and may therefore protect against the development of breast cancer.
Kale has even been termed a “super-food”. If you are parent of a child who avoids eating vegetables as much as possible, try substituting kale for spinach or broccoli. Even if your child only eats a small portion, it will provide more nutrients to the meal.
Cooked versus Raw Kale
Recipes for cooked kale usually involve steaming to preserve its nutrient value, and because boiling this vegetable can toughen it (as well as reduce its vitamin content). Vegetarian entrees often involve stir-frying it with tofu to create a complete protein meal. Meanwhile, raw kale can be added to salads.
Kale is also a versatile vegetable. It can be the star of a dish or can play a secondary role in a soup or salad. Check out these two recipes that incorporate kale in very different ways:
Baked Kale Chips
1 head of kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Separate one head of kale into leaves and remove tough stems.
3. Wash and DRY thoroughly – extra moisture will inhibit crisping.
4. Break into small pieces, toss with olive oil and sea salt, and spread in a baking sheet.
5. Bake for 15-30 minutes depending on your taste for char.