The Health Benefits of Eating Kale
As one of Europe’s most important leafy vegetables, kale is a wonderful raw food with a plethora of redeeming qualities. Found in many famous dishes from Africa, Ireland, Asia, Holland, Brazil, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Montenegro and Portugal, kale is truly a supplier global. Despite its incredible health benefits and international appeal, kale still remains largely under the radar in America. It’s so popular in Germany that social clubs and celebrations have evolved around the vegetable, but in America you rarely see kale used in restaurants or even in home-cooked meals. Perhaps it’s the temptations of fast food, meat, deep frying, and large portions that have kept kale largely unknown in the United States, but hopefully as health and diet programs The, uses for kale will be too. As a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-find super raw food, there’s no reason we shouldn’t cook with this leafy friend more often. Primarily promoted and supported by vegan, vegetarian and raw food lovers, everyone would be better served by including more kale in their daily eating habits. Very easy to cook and offering a variety of voracious uses, it shouldn’t be hard for anyone to up their kale intake. After learning a little more about kale and reviewing its many health benefits, I’m sure there will be a clamor in supermarkets to buy some.
Kale is a member of the cabbage family and comes in the form of headless green or purple leaves. Other color variations may consist of whites, yellows, blues and reds. The vegetable is strong in flavor and may become even more pronounced after being frozen or exposed to freezing temperatures. The plant also grows very well in winter and harsh climates, which makes it very versatile when it comes to cultivation. Some close brothers to kale are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, rapini, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts. Kale is considered a superfood with many healing qualities. In addition to its nutritional values, kale is also often used for garnish and decoration. Most ornamental cabbages you see in gardens belong to the kale family. Kale cultivars and looseleaf type classifications include curlyleaves (Scots Kale Lutes), singleleaves, kale lutes, leafy and spear (a cross between kale lutes and leafy simples) and the cavolo nero (also known as the Tuscan Kale Lutes and the Dinosaur Kale Lutes). The shape and texture of the leaves are the identifying marks of the different Kales and they can range from curled and wrinkled leaves (Scottish) to flat leaves with finely divided edges (Siberian or Russian). An attractive feature of growing kale is that you can harvest the outer leaves as needed without harming the plant or the future growth of more inner leaves. Kale is very simple to grow and makes a great addition to any vegetable garden. Interestingly, tender, young cabbage is better for salads while mature leaves are better for cooking. Speaking of food preparation, let’s look at some of the reasons why we should include this raw food in our meals and dishes.
Boiling kale is not recommended, but steaming, microwaving, sautéing, and eating it raw are all strongly encouraged. Kale is a popular raw food because it is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, glucosinolates, sulforaphane, vitamin E, vitamin A, iron, manganese, calcium, potassium and manganese. It is these facets of kale that are known to prevent and fight medical terrors such as cancer, cataracts, emphysema, and rheumatoid arthritis. A traditional serving of kale (1 cup) contains only 40-60 calories, making it an excellent weight loss aid. Containing a plethora of enriching antioxidant properties, compounds, minerals and nutrients, the vegetable is also successful in preventing colds, improving skin tone and boosting energy levels. Although it helps the liver, colon and other vital organs, one particular circumstance in which it does not help is those with thyroid problems. Containing goitrogen, a substance naturally present in kale and if eaten too much, kale can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland or cause concern for people with thyroid problems. Regardless of that caveat, kale is still a food that needs to be eaten more often by more people.
If you care about your health, the environment, and the raw food industry, you should have no problem jumping on the kale bandwagon. Kale recipes are rarely complicated, and the food is so flexible it can be used in smoothies, soups, salads, and even main dishes. Although kale is often cooked and combined with meat, we strongly encourage its use only in a raw food setting. By eating raw kale, we maximize its potential while helping the world as well as ourselves. A raw food diet is a great way to take care of the planet while nourishing your body, and kale is a perfect part of that plan. There are many raw food cookbooks on the market that can show you great kale recipes. The next time you’re thinking about eating something raw and delicious, hopefully kale crosses your mind and belly. Here’s even a great kale smoothie and soup recipe to get you started on your quest for kale fun. You can also check out my raw food cookbooks for other great cooking ideas.
A few kale recipes to get you on the right track!
KALE SMOOTHIE (mix ingredients well):
2 cups of filtered water
3 yellow mangoes
1 cup raspberries
1 cup red grapes
6 to 8 cabbage leaves
A few mint leaves
KALE SOUP (Mix all ingredients with lukewarm water to desired consistency):
1 bunch kale leaves
1/4 peeled lemon
1 roman tomato
2 cloves garlic
2 cups filtered water (lukewarm)
A pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt, pepper and onion powder to taste