Jam-packed with a nutritional powerhouse of goodies, this leafy green vegetable has certainly earned its title of ‘superfood’ among the world’s greatest.
Although it is usually imported into Trinidad and Tobago, some local supermarkets are now stocking from local farmers who have discovered its green goodness.
Kale is easy to grow, and its distinct flavour can bring out many types of meals such as salads, stir-fries and soups; or it can also be used as a topping or ingredient on sandwiches and pizza. For those of you who aren’t fond of greens, your best bet would be to incorporate kale into a tasty smoothie with other fruits or vegetables.
Kale has a myriad of health benefits that can trump an entire week’s worth of other foods.
Do not underestimate this formidable plant, which grows as high as six to seven feet in the right conditions, casting a shadow as long as the impressive list of beneficial nutritional components it contains.
Health Benefits of Kale
Kale has 684% of the daily value of vitamin K, 206% of the suggested daily amount of vitamin A, and 134% of vitamin C.
The phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol aids in DNA cell repair, while at the same time slowing the growth of cancer cells. With its sulforaphane content, kale protects against prostate and colon cancers. It also has properties that studies show can ease lung congestion, and is beneficial to the stomach, liver, and immune system.
Kale also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect your eyes from macular degeneration.
Kale has been compared to beef, which is known as a “go-to” food for iron, protein, and calcium. Kale’s anti-inflammatory capabilities are unrivaled among leafy greens, especially relating to the prevention and even reversal of arthritis, heart disease, and several autoimmune diseases.
Kale is an excellent source of omega-fatty acids. Benefits of these often-talked about but little understood compounds include their ability to help regulate blood clotting, build cell membranes in your brain, and protect you against heart disease and stroke. They may also help combat autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Serving Size: One cup (67 grams) of raw kale
Carbohydrates: 7 g
Protein: 2 g
Fibre: 1 g
Potassium: 299 mg
Kale Contains ALL the Essential Amino Acids and 9 Non-Essential Ones. One serving of kale contains 121 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids and 92.4 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids.
One cup of raw kale contains less than 1 gram of fat (0.3 grams to be exact), 2 grams of protein, and subtracting the 1 gram of fibre from the total carbohydrate content (7), an effective carb content of 6 grams per serving, which is almost entirely complex carbohydrate, i.e. “starch.”
This means it has a 3:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio – an exceptionally high amount of protein for any vegetable, and one reason why it has recently been acclaimed as the “new beef.”
Studies Done on Kale
Studies indicate that kale has a very high protective effect against bladder cancer.
Kale also has a very impressive number of flavonoids, each with its own healthy job to do in your body, including 32 phenolic compounds and three hydroxycinnamic acids, which can help keep cholesterol levels within the normal range and scavenge harmful free radicals in your body. Two of the most important flavonoids kale has in abundance are kaempferol and quercetin.
*It should be noted that the effectiveness of several antioxidants and vitamins in kale are diminished when cooked.
Kale With Roasted Peppers and Olives
- 2 large bunches kale
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 4-ounce jar roasted red peppers
- 2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
Cut the kale into bite-size pieces, removing any tough stems. Rinse and shake dry.
Warm the oil and garlic in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Remove the garlic as soon as it browns (don’t let it burn).
Add the kale and stir-fry 5 minutes.
Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Uncover and add the sugar, salt, olives, and peppers. Cook over medium-high heat until the liquid has evaporated.
Spoon into a serving dish; scatter the garlic over the top. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8.