January 18th, 2012

Kitchen Talk: For the Love of KALE

 

Kale is one of the world’s most nutrient rich foods.  Even if you don’t love the taste of kale, you can’t help but love the nutritional value it provides your family! {And before you start thinking I have this amazing garden with kale growing in my backyard {ha}, the picture is from Wikipedia!}  I wish I had enough space to grow my own, but since I don’t it’s fortunate that kale is so inexpensive to buy at the grocery store!   

A few years ago, our family started trying to incorporate its nutritional benefits into our diet.  {True confession, I have a grown son who eats no vegetables other than carrots and potatoes, and corn . . . no lettuce, no tomatoes, no squash, no broccoli – NOTHING!}  After considering some health concerns, we started researching the nutritional value of vegetables and have to say that kale is more than impressive.

On the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI), kale takes top honors.  Check out these scores:

 

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and lutein, and fiber.  Here are some other amazing benefits:

  • Kale eases lung congestion and is beneficial to the stomach, liver and immune system
  • It contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from macular degeneration
  • It also contains indole-3-carbinol, which may protect against colon cancer
  • Inflammation is the number one cause of arthritis, heart disease and a number of autoimmune diseases.   Kale is an incredibly effective anti-inflammatory food, potentially preventing and even reversing these illnesses.
  • Healthy fats play an important role in our health.  A serving of kale contains 121 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 92.4 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Dark leafy greens can cut your risk of Type2 diabetes.
  • Kale is an excellent source of calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, and chlorophyll

So if you don’t already enjoy the benefits of this amazing veggie, you might consider trying to work it into you menu.  I will tell you it wasn’t an easy transition for my family at first because we hadn’t acquired the taste for it, but it does grow on you.   If your family is not ready to eat steamed kale, here is how we came to like it:

1.  Green Smoothies with Kale.  {I said my son wouldn’t eat any greens, but he has learned to drink them!}  Recipe coming tomorrow.

2.  Baked Kale Chips.  Basic Recipe:  Lightly mist clean, dry kale leaves (torn in pieces) with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.  Eat them like chips or crumble them over salad, soup, and other sides.

3.  Soup and Salad.  Add a small amount to your favorite fresh salads or use a little in your regular soup recipe until you acquire the taste.

4.  Hide it {Sometimes a mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do!}.  Chop it up super fine and add it to soup, meatloaf, casseroles, lasagna – any place you can find, they never have to know!

It took my family a while, but we have come to enjoy this amazing vegetable.  We’ll be featuring a few other favorite kale recipes in the future.  If  your family has kale favorites, let us know so we can try them too!

Resources:  WHFoods, Fooducate, Mercola, ABC News Video on health benefits and uses of kale

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One Response to “Kitchen Talk: For the Love of KALE”

  1. I always put kale in our blender wheat pancakes! Turns the pancakes slightly green, but the kids think that is cool and now, when I see green pancakes, I know they just got healthier!

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