Old King Kale

When it comes to superfoods, kale is a long-lost king!

Experts say kale is one of — if not the – most nutrient-dense foods on earth. A relative of cabbage, King Kale is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

There’s a 50/50 chance your hometown grocer might not carry kale, even though it’s commonly grown in the US. Oddly, most kale is grown to feed livestock or to be sold to restaurants where most use it as a garnish rather than a menu item! Which is a tragedy, considering it’s an undisputed superfood. As for feeding livestock with it…well heck… keep your grass-fed beef, where can I find kale-fed beef?!  ;)

PROPOSED HEALTH BENEFITS

  • Lowers Cholesterol - The fiber-related components in kale bind with bile acids in the digestive tract, especially when kale is steamed. The binding allows improved excretion of bile acids, which lowers cholesterol levels.
  • Supports Cell Detoxification – Kale is high in a particular type of sulfur that helps boost detoxifying enzymes, triggering the liver to flush out free radicals and other harmful chemicals.
  • Fights Cancer – The particular combination and abundance of antioxidants and phytonutrients contained in kale has been shown to slow the spread of certain types of cancer, including bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate cancers, due in part to its amazing free-radical-blasting capabilities.
  • Battles Chronic Inflammation – The antioxidants and phytonutrients in kale give it superior advantage in fighting inflammation.

NUTRITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Vitamin A – Kale is a fantastic source of Vitamin A, packed with the essential compounds that support eye health in the form of carotenoids (important antioxidants) like lutein, beta carotene, zeaxanthin, and retinol A.
  • Vitamin K – Kale is bursting with Vitamin K, believed to be a key element in fighting off chronic inflammation.
  • Vitamin C – Kale kicks out a healthy dose of Vitamin C, supporting the immune system. It also ensures proper dilation of blood vessels, a necessary component in preventing hypertension.
  • B-Complex – B-vitamins are important for cell metabolism and energy levels. Kale is loaded with B-vitamins, including Thiamin, Niacin, Riboflavin, B6, Folate, and Pantothenic Acid.
  • Minerals – Kale contains a long list of minerals, highest in manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. It also contains phosphorus, sodium, zinc, and selenium.
  • Flavanoids – 45+ flavanoids have been discovered in kale, including kaempferol and quercetin. Flavanoids are important antioxidants with powerful anti-inflammatory effects and they also fight free radicals and oxidative stress.
  • Glucosinolates - these phytonutrients are found in unusually high levels in kale. The body uses glucosinolates to make ITCs, or isothiocyanates, a critical element for triggering cellular defense mechanisms, detoxifying cells, and fighting against cancer.
  • Protein, Fat, Fiber - Kale also contains a little bit of fat, protein and fiber — all for good measure!

INFLAMMATION RATING: + 257

1 cup of kale is strongly anti-inflammatory, helping reduce tissue and joint inflammation, chronic pain, and the ill effects of inflammatory diseases.

HOW TO SELECT & EAT

When buying, looking for smaller leaves which have a milder flavor. Store dry and eat as soon as possible — kale tends to get bitter the longer it’s stored.

I eat greens like a rabbit, but I find eating raw kale is challenging, even for me. But, as it turns out, that’s ok! According to experts, the best way to eat kale is to steam it for approximately 5 minutes to unleash all of its magical health benefits. Boiling and baking are also great ways to eat kale.

CRISPY KALE CHIPS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil (spray)
  • pinch of sea salt

Optional

  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly spray two large baking sheets with oil.
  3. Make sure kale is thoroughly dry. Remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into chip-sized pieces.
  4. Space kale on baking sheets (don’t crowd), spray with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
  5. Bake about 10-12 minutes, turning and stirring at least once to make sure they get crispy.
  6. Top with shredded cheese (optional), baking an additional 5 to 6 minutes, watching to make sure they don’t burn.