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The power of Kale

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“Today, the big killers in Western societies are cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertensions, most of which are preventable by diet” – said Pat Croker in her book “ The Vegan Cook’s Bible.” There is no doubt about it. What you eat affects not only who you are and what you can accomplish, but also how you look and feel, including your overall health and vitality. Eating a variety of healthy foods including fruit and vegetables is essential. Superfoods are our first line of defense against many diseases from coronary heart disease, stroke and even some cancers.

KALE - overall, an exceptionally healthy vegetable with many powerful benefits!

Let’s talk about kale - one of the healthiest green on the planet. Kale has received a lot of attention in recent years for its powerhouse nutritional benefits, which make those leafy greens (along with blueberries, chia, quinoa, spinach, beans and certain other vegetable) one of the so-called "superfoods."

Everyone knows kale is good for you.

Kale is full of health benefits including high levels of folate and more calcium, than a cup of milk. This popular superfood is packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients such as glucosinolates and flavonoids. Thanks to its broad nutritional profile, kale is thought to help fight cardiovascular disease, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis; to promote the health of the urinary tract and to prevent several types of cancer and pre-mature aging of the skin.

What is kale?

Kale is a leafy green vegetable (Brassica oleracea) sometimes called borecole. A member of the brassica family, which also includes broccoli, cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts, kale is known as one of the healthiest veggies on the planet! Like cauliflower or broccoli, kale is a descendent of the wild cabbage, a plant thought to have originated in Asia Minor and to have been brought to Europe around 600 B.C by groups of Celtic wanderers. English settlers brought kale to the United States in the 17th century. Varieties of kale are grown all around the world, in a number of different climates, and the plant is able to grow well into the cooler winter months.

Health benefits

Kale is packed with nutrition that puts it high on the list of word’s healthiest food. Here are the great benefits of adding more kale to your diet. One cup of chopped kale contains 206 % of the daily value of vitamin A and 684 % of vitamin K. Vitamin K has been known to reduce the risk of cancer and help with blood clotting and bone health. Kale also contains almost as much calcium as milk, more vitamin C than an orange (there is 200% vitamin C in one serving), and is loaded with important minerals, including copper, potassium, iron, manganese (40% of your RDI) and phosphorus. This powerful superfood is low in calorie (one cup of kale has only 36 calories) and has zero grams of fat. Kale is being called “the new beef” because per calorie, kale has actually more iron than beef. Kale is also a great source of fiber. One cup of chopped fresh kale provides about 2.6 gram of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25g kale per day for women and 30-38 g/day for men.

How to buy

Look for kale with firm, deeply colored leaves and moist hardy stems. Choose kale with smaller-sized leaves since these will be tenderer and have a milder flavor than those with larger leaves. The leaves should look fresh, be unwilled, and be free from signs of browning, yellowing, and small holes.

How to store

Store in the refrigerator where it will keep for 5 days. Place kale in a plastic storage bag; remove as much of the air from the bag as possible. The longer it is stored, the bitterer its flavor becomes. Do not wash kale before storing because exposure to water encourages spoilage.

Do you know? The leaves of the kale plant freeze well, and some sources claim the leaves taste sweeter if harvested after a frost.

How to cook

Rinse kale leaves under cold water, than chop for quick and even cooking. To get the most health benefits from kale, let sit for a minimum of 5 minutes before cooking. Sprinkling with lemon juice before letting them sit can further enhance its beneficial phytonutrient concentration. Then steam for 5 minutes.

Kale can be enjoyed raw in salads or on sandwiches, boiled, baked or added to soups.

Healthy recipes

Kale grows well in the colder winter months, so it can be a great addition to your fruit and vegetable routine when other products are not readily available.

Winter greens as kale, cabbage or Swiss chard leaves – add important nutrients to a winter diet and this easy dish is a tasty way to enjoy them.

Baked Winter Greens

*Preheat oven to 350 F (180C)

*8-inch (2L) baking dish, lightly oiled

  • 2 cups shredded green or Savoy cabbage (500mL)

  • 2 cups Chopped kale lives, thick ribs removed (500mL)

  • 2 cups Chopped Swiss chard leaves (500mL)

  • 1 cup Garlic olive oil (200mL)

  • ½ cup of vegetable stock or water

In a bowl, toss cabbage, kale and Swiss chard leaves together with vegetable stock or water. Pour about ¼ cup of olive oil into bottom of prepared baking dish. Pile greens on the top and pour remaining oil over. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until green are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Kale snacks ready to eat

Chocolate Kalenola - Coca Kale Chips from Just Pure Foods are our favorite. Absolutely delicious and super nutritious. Supernatural kale snacks at Just Pure Foods are low temperature dried to keep all of their enzymes and nutrients intact. Cocoa Kale Chips are also tasty in Almond Milk, which Justin the founder of Just Pure Foods wanted to turn into granola. “They are so good in almond milk or hemp milk with fresh bananas and berries! I would bring them home in large bags to eat them this way, and encourage people to do this.” It’s definitely a pricey bowl of granola, (3.0oz Bags, $7.00 Each.) but as Just Pure Foods grows, they hope to bring the price of this delicious serial down.“ At Just Pure, we actually made a tasty cereal out of vegetables! Kale is so high in vitamins and other nutrients, that it totally beats eating a big bowl of oats & gluten.” They have two flavors, Chocolate & Maple Cranberry. Give them a taste…

Note: The power of kale is part of -“Help your body be healthy again” series.

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