Kale, kale, kale. You've probably heard about this superfood and either are rejoicing in its holiness or are still scratching your head wondering what everyone's on about. This darky leafy green vegetable is a member of the cabbage family, comes in numerous varieties (curly and dinosaur being the most common), and has even been claimed to be the world's healthiest food source.
So what is so great about Kale?
- It is loaded with antioxidants (remember the darker the colour the better), vitamins and minerals, cancer fighting properties, has anti-inflammatory effects (as it contains omega-3s),and even helps with detoxifying the body and promoting weight loss.
- It contains high levels of Vitamin C - even around 4.5x more than spinach (IF only popeye knew!!) and just under 1.5x your daily Vitamin C requirements in one cup!
- It can help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels
- It is one of the best sources of Vitamin K (which helps with blood clotting and improving bone health) - containing around 7x more than the dietary requirements in one single cup!!!
- It is very high in beta-carotene which your body is able to turn into Vitamin A and use this to give you 2x your daily requirements of Vitamin A (again in one single cup) - helping improve your eye, skin, & hair health.
- It is loaded with protein, iron, fibre, potassium and is ridiculously low in calories (around 30 calories per cup AND it has all these benefits!)
So why aren't more people eating it? Raw kale on its own isn't the most appealing and can actually be quite difficult to digest. However, some simple tips to improve its digestibility and how to use it may actually make the transition to including this in your diet much easier:
- Raw kale included in salads is best massaged first. Yes massaged - treat that baby well. Tear up your kale (remove the stalks) and combine some olive oil or coconut oil and a little apple cider vinegar (the vinegar isn't essential, but it adds extra flavour and is also known for its ability to improve digestion) in a bowl and massage the kale with your hands for a couple minutes until the kale becomes tender. This minimises the amount of effort your digestive system has to do and makes eating kale a whole lot tastier and enjoyable than eating it as it comes as its often too chewy.
- Rub a little coconut oil on torn up leaves and cook it in the oven until crispy to make kale chips that even kiddies love! TIP: sprinkle a little sea salt or chilli flakes on to jazz this up!
- Cook your kale - sauté it in a pan with some water, or steam it, or through it through stir fry's - kale is actually better consumed cooked and not only are the nutrients more available, but it helps with digesting it, and it removes the substances (like other cruciferous veggies have) that have been linked with effecting your thyroid gland.
- Included it in your green smoothies or juices - just don't overdo it on eating it raw as too much can have an effect on your thyroid gland (around a handful of raw kale on a daily basis appears to be fine though).
- Add it to soups.
- Mix it in cooked with some cooked quinoa and roasted vegetables for a well-rounded easy meal.
Need more help and ways to use it? Check this out for more ideas.