If you’re not already eating kale, start! Its nutritional benefits outweigh spinach and do wonders to your health. But be aware that if you’re just starting out, you may want to take it easy on how much you consume right away. Your digestive system will thank you later. If you choose to add this healthful vegetable into your diet, do so at a gradual pace and build up from there.
So what are these benefits you speak of?
One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds. Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.
Eat kale for your health: bones, immune system, eyes, heart, and soul! It’s wonderful benefits can not only impact your health but rid and prevent cancers such as colon, prostate and ovarian. Plus, kale’s magnesium and potassium help lower blood pressure, and its high fiber content can help lower cholesterol — all beneficial factors in lowering your risk of cardiovascular illness.
A word of warning: because of its high vitamin K content, patients taking anti-coagulants such as warfarin are encouraged to avoid kale since it increases the vitamin K concentration in the blood, which is what the drugs are attempting to lower. This effectively raises the dose of the drug and causes toxicity.
Now how do you go about including in your diet? Simple! Sautée it, cook it, or even eat it raw or massage it with agave nectar or olive oil to make it less crunchy. You can even make delicious kale chips that I will provide a recipe for below!
If you cant find yourself being the type to eat a raw kale salad or sautéed kale with your dinner, you can disguise it in a way that it is still enjoyable without reaping yourself of its great health benefits. Mixing cooked or steamed kale with marinara sauce and perhaps tofu or tempeh with pasta, for example, can do this. Besides, if you cook the kale, it won’t have too much of a flavor unless you eat it by itself. Eating it with other foods tends to help if you’re having trouble getting used to the flavor or don’t care much for it.
Now for the tasty recipe for those looking for a wholesome snack or potato chip alternative with the same crunch!
Baked “Cheesy” Kale Chips
Ingredients: A big bunch of Kale (organic if preferred), nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
1. Preheat your oven to 300°.
2. Make sure to wash the kale very well and then remove the leaves from the stems.
3. Cut the kale leaves into sections/strips that are approximately the size of chips or use your hands to tear them into pieces.
4. Use a salad spinner to rid of any excess water. Put them into a medium sized bowl.
5. Pour in a decent amount olive oil and toss/ massage the kale leaves until the olive oil has covered them evenly. Don’t use too much olive oil or they will become soggy.
6. Start with a drizzled, thin layer over the leaves and go from there.
7. Add in the nutritional yeast, to give them a wonderful “cheesy” flavor. You can use as much as you’d like. You can also add the salt and pepper, too.
8. Put the kale leaves on a cookie/baking sheet and put them in the oven.
9. After 5-10 minutes check on the kale leaves. If they are crispy, flip them over using a spatula or tongs so they can evenly cook. If they are still soft/mushy, then place them back in the oven until they do. Keep a close watch because they can burn easily!
10. After both sides are crispy and possibly slightly golden brown, you can take them out of the oven and let them cool. Enjoy!
And there you have it, a simple yet healthful snack that the whole family will enjoy! Not only will they be thanking you, but so will their health. Besides, nutritional yeast is a health food, itself! Don’t miss out on one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet!