Natural Food Spotlight: Kale
Posted on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 at 10:48 am
When shopping for groceries, you want to fill you cart with foods that are low in fat and calories, rich in nutrients, and easy to add to a number of dishes. Nothing fits this description better than fresh fruits and vegetables. In the winter months, it’s difficult to find a wide variety of fresh foods that are in season. However, dark, leafy greens like kale are especially good for you! Kale has recently gained in popularity as more and more discover the health benefits and delicious flavor of this hearty green!
Kale is part of the same family that includes cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. A single cup of kale only contains 36 calories, but it’s packed with 5 grams of fiber, 15% of your daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of your daily magnesium, 180% of your daily vitamin A, 200% of your daily vitamin C, and 1,020 of your daily vitamin K! Kale is also a great source of copper, potassium and iron!
This leafy green is also loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients. Kale is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin compounds, which are great for promoting eye health. Eating antioxidant-rich kale can help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and prevent cancer.
When purchasing kale, look for leaves that are firm, deeply colored, and feature hardy stems. Smaller leaves will be more tender and will have a milder flavor. You will see leaves range in color from dark green to purple or deep red. To help kale stay fresh, store it unwashed in a zipped plastic bag for up to five days in the refrigerator.
Ensuring you eat your daily recommended vegetables can be tough. Luckily, kale is versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes! You can use it instead of lettuce in your favorite salad. Kale is also great when you chop it up and add it to pasta or rice. You can also cook it with some garlic, onions and your favorite seasonings! Another popular option is to place bite-sized kale pieces on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and salt, and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Voila! The result is delicious kale chips!
If you’re especially fond of kale, you can add it to your smoothies or fresh made juices for an easy, on-the-go way to get a boost of nutrition!
Enjoyed learning about kale? Check out our Natural Food Spotlight on grapefruit!