Kale has been a popular topic over the past few years, and for good reason. This leafy green vegetable is jam packed with nutrients and has a handful of health benefits.
Unfortunately kale is not always an instant palate pleaser to everyone. You may have tried it before and felt like Loretta Devine on the Carmichael Show who described kale in the following words, “it’s nasty, that tastes like Christmas tree”. Not to worry. In addition to reviewing some of the great health benefits of kale in this week’s post, I’ll also provide some suggestions on different ways you can include kale in your diet in a tasty way.
First let’s run through some of the health benefits of kale so that you will have some motivation to try it (or for some of you, try it again).
- Improved Eyesight
Kale contains the following nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin which can protect your eyes from sunlight damage and can lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Kale is also rich in vitamins A, K, C, and the mineral manganese.
- Weight Management
One cup of raw kale contains just 8 calories. This nutrient rich low calorie vegetable can be helpful with weight management and glycemic control. Kale is also a good source of fiber which can aid your body in digestion and give you more satiety with your meals.
Protection Against Disease
Kale is also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants work to protect our bodies by fighting free radicals that are known to damage cells and cause diseases such as cancer. Carotenoids, vitamin A, and vitamin C are the main antioxidants found in kale that are fighting to protect your body.
In addition to functioning as antioxidants, some of these valuable vitamins and nutrients found in kale also offer an anti-inflammatory effect (vitamin C and polyphenols), defending the body against inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods may be beneficial in the management of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Tasty Ways to Enjoy Kale
There are many different ways you can enjoy this nutritious vegetable. Here are some examples to help get you started.
Saute kale in a little olive oil with garlic, salt, and pepper to taste
- Mixed in a salad
Eating raw kale will not be appealing to everyone. I therefore suggest using baby kale or lacinato kale due to the softer leaves and milder taste. Additionally, you can try mixing the kale with other greens and lettuce that you are more accustomed to such as spinach or butter lettuce (Do Not eat romaine lettuce right now because of the recall for E.coli) . Due to the bitter flavor of kale, you may also find it helpful to add something sweet to your salad to balance the flavor such as carrots, fresh strawberries, or dried fruit.
- Cooked in a soup or casserole
Often times non starchy vegetables are limited or completely missing in many soup and casserole dishes. This is a great way to add this healthful green to your favorite dish.
- Blended in a smoothie
Try adding a few leaves of kale into your favorite fruit smoothie. The natural sweetness of the fruit will help even your kids forget that there is a vegetable in their drink.
- Baked as kale chips
Toss 1 bunch of chopped kale leaves with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt to taste, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes until the edges of the kale leaves are browned.
There are so many different ways to try and enjoy kale. I hope this week’s post has given you a deeper look into the nutritional value of kale, but more importantly has given you some practical ways to experience the benefits to your health first hand.
The Diet Duchess