Thirteen Reasons Why Kale is the New Black:
In case you haven’t heard…kale—a bitter, cabbage-like vegetable often seen being swallowed by Gwyneth Paltrow, is getting a lot of recognition for its nutritional benefits. We are seeing it everywhere, and for good reason! Kale has something to offer everyone, kind of like a cute little black dress…it should be a staple in your closet, I mean, refrigerator! Not to mention, this beautiful, green bouquet of nutrients goes with anything, really. Which is why, I think that Kale is the new black.
Kale is a nutrient powerhouse packed with so many benefits to your body it’s incredible. Even if you don’t find it the most appealing option in the produce section at the grocery store, I highly encourage you to give it a try. If you’re not crazy about it the first time, try it again a different way. Kale is a low maintenance vegetable that makes an excellent addition to any meal, and there are some delicious recipes listed below that prove it! Your body will thank you!
So, here you go…. 13 reasons why kale is the new black….
- Anti-inflammatory food: One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight against arthritis, asthma, inflamed belly’s and other autoimmune disorders such as celiac, diabetes, etc.
- Excellent source of Iron and Calcium: Per calorie kale has more iron that a steak. A higher percentage of calcium is absorbed from kale than milk. Kale contains 197 mg calcium/cup raw x 42% absorbed = 83 mg absorbed. This can aid in the reduction of osteoporosis AND help raise low iron stores in those with celiac disease and other digestive disorders.
- Excellent source of Vitamin A and C: Rich in Vitamin A which helps to maintain healthy mucus membranes, healthy eyes and skin. Vitamin A also helps protect against lung and oral cavity cancers. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infectious agents and reduce the levels of free radicals within the body.
- Helps to ease lung congestion, protect from colon cancer and prostate cancer: As I stated before Kale is full of photochemical that help to reduce free radicals in the body and due to its high fiber content keeps your colon happy and healthy.
- Rich in Vitamin K: Vitamin K is necessary for a wide variety of functions in the body, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health. Too much vitamin K can be harmful for those on blood thinners such as Warfarin and Coumadin, so if you are taking those and get a constant level of vitamin K per week than no worries, if you are on those medications you should speak with your doctor and dietitian about it before you start to increase the levels of vitamin K in your diet.
- High mineral content: copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. These minerals are necessary for many functions in the body. For example, the manganese in kale helps your body’s own antioxidant defense system, which protects you from damaging free radicals. Teams up with B vitamins in Kale to keep homocysteine levels down, which may help prevent heart disease, dementia, and osteoporosis bone fractures
- Low in calories, fat and rich in fiber: AND kale keeps you regular! Kale is a pretty thick leafy green which does amazing things for your intestines and your cholesterol! A little bit of roughage helps clean out cholesterol from building up in your arteries. The calciferous kale binds to bile acids when digested which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduces the risk for heart disease.
- Versatile: You can use kale in so many ways! You can make a salad out of the leafy greens, massage them first, they like it. You can sauté it, add it into a smoothie, pop it in the oven for a few and make chips and juice it! So what’s the deal? Why haven’t you added it into your diet yet?
- Kale has 45—count ’em, yep—different flavonoids: as a bit of a nutrition nerd, I think, that’s pretty exciting. I mean you couldn’t design a better powerhouse of anti-disease all in one little green plant. That might I add, is pretty easy to grow yourself.
- Its available YEAR ROUND: Kale is available throughout the year, although it is more widely available, and at its peak, from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring. BUT you can get kale pretty much anytime you wish.
- There is more than one kind of kale: How exciting! You have different powerhouses to choose from. Check this out, there is Curly Kale, Dino Kale, Redbor Kale (those are the three that you see most in the stores), Siberian Kale, Walking stick Kale, Red Russian Kale and Kamome Kale.
- Good for weight loss: Kale is high in fiber which keeps you feeling full longer, keeps digestion flowing, and it helps to reduce bloating and water retention. Kale is a very versatile vegetable so you can add it to many dishes as it mingles with other foods very well
- You can play with it: The one thing your mother told you not to do, play with your food, you can do with kale! Kale loves to be massaged, especially if you are going to make a salad with it. Throw some sea salt on it, and get massaging! It will let you know when it’s ready, it will be fragrant and a softer to the touch, not to rough. It will look like this- when it is happy and relaxed.
Just so you have a starting point for adding kale into your dietary regime, here are a few recipes that you will really love! At least I do…
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad- I know what you’re thinking, Brussels sprouts, hell no…. before you start on reasons why you hate Brussels sprouts, give this bad boy a try, you wont even know they are in there!
Kale and Brussels sprouts with Tahini-Maple dressing
- 1 bunch of curly green kale
- 12 Brussels sprouts (about 2 big handfuls’ worth)
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
- ¼ cup shaved Parmesan (optional)
- dash of sea salt
- Tahini-maple dressing
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- ¼ cup water
- Use a chef’s knife to cut out the ribs of the kale leaves, or you can just rip them off. Chop the kale into small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle a dash of sea salt over the kale and use your hands to massage the kale by lightly scrunching handfuls of kale in your hands. Release and repeat until the kale becomes darker in color and more fragrant. Transfer the kale to a medium serving bowl.
- Chop off and discard the stem end of the Brussels sprouts and any discolored outer leaves. Slice the sprouts as thin as possible, then use your fingers to break up any clumps. Add the sprouts to the bowl.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, vinegar, maple syrup and red pepper flakes. Whisk in the water until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour the dressing over the kale and sprouts and mix well.
- In a small pan over medium heat, toast the almond slivers, stirring frequently, until fragrant and turning golden (this will take less than five minutes so watch carefully). Add the toasted almonds and Parmesan shavings to the salad and toss. Serve immediately.
Just Beet It Joose:
Rich in: Vit A, C,K, Beta-carotene, Folate, Calcium, Mag, Phosphorus
Prep everything as you were going to eat it, toss it in the juicer and get to drinking’ my friends!
Kale, Cranberry, Almond Salad
- 1-2 cups chopped, massaged kale
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/3 c. grape seed oil, olive oil or rice bran oil
- 1 tbsp. agave or honey
- salt to taste
- Add cranberries, almonds to chopped, massaged kale
- Pour dressing over top
- Store the left over salad in the fridge for 2-3 days (if you have any left!)