Kale is one of the most nutrients-loaded foods known to man. It has excellent amounts of vitamins and minerals and is low in calories. Thus, if you want to increase your nutrients intake by manifolds, kale consumption is a superb way! It is a rich source of antioxidants and fibre too resulting in multiple health benefits.
Read on to know more!
Kale belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family which includes cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflowers, Brussels sprouts, collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, etc and is grown for its edible leaves. The leaf colours range from shades of green to violet-green and violet-brown. You may also find the green leafed vegetable with purple or lavender stems and leaves. It was first cultivated in the Mediterranean region over 2,000 years ago.
Types of Kale
There are a number of varieties of the plant of which principal ones are three, namely, flatter, and wider-leafed ‘Red Russian’, darker ‘Lacinato’-type, and more tightly formed ‘Curly leafed’. There is usually no clear-cut distinction between them and blended characteristics of all three are often found in the vegetable that we get in the market.
Red Russian Kale has flat and fringed leaves and may look like arugula or oak leaves. They have a red or reddish purple tinge and are sweet (this is one of the sweetest Kales) and mild with a little bit of peppery taste.
The dark coloured Lacinato Kale (also known as Dinosaur) has leaves that have a slightly wrinkled and firm texture. It has a sweeter and more delicate taste than curly one. It has a taste deep and earthy, but not so bitter.
Curly Kale is perhaps the most recognizable variety of kale. It is normally green or purple in colour and tight ruffled leaves. It has a pungent flavour with bitter and peppery qualities though younger leaves are less bitter.
There is culinary kale on one hand and there is ornamental one on the other. Both are edible but because the ornamental one is developed basically for its appearance, its texture and taste are not that likeable.
The vegetable is one of the most nutrients-loaded foods known to man. It has excellent amounts of vitamins and minerals and is low in calories. Thus, if you want to increase your nutrients intake by manifolds, kale consumption is a superb way. It is a rich source of antioxidants and fibre too resulting in multiple health benefits.
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Availability: Although Kale is available all around the year, its peak season is from the middle of winter till the beginning of spring.
Selection: The buying decision for kale should depend on the freshness of the leaves (unwilted and not yellowish), their colour (should be dark), their size (should be small as smaller leaves have a milder flavour) and kale’s stem (should be firm and hard). It should be displayed in a cool environment since higher temperatures will cause it to wilt and negatively affect its flavour.
Storage: Store kale in a plastic storage bag post removing as much air as possible. Then keep it in the refrigerator for a maximum of 5 days because its flavour becomes bitterer with the passage of time. Also, remember to not wash it before storage as it causes spoilage.
Refer to the following link for step by step instructions to store Kale.
Cleaning: Wash kale leaves under cold running water.
The following table shows the nutrition profile of 100 gm of raw kale.
|Serving Size||100 g|
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value|
|Total Fat 0.9g||1 %|
|Saturated Fat 0.1g||0 %|
|Sodium 38mg||2 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 8.8g||3 %|
|Dietary Fiber 3.6g||14 %|
|Protein 4.3g||9 %|
|Daily values are based on 2000 calorie diet.|
- Kale is one of the most nutrients-loaded foods known. It has excellent amounts of vitamins and minerals and is low in calories. Thus, if you want to increase your nutrients intake by manifolds, kale consumption is a superb way!
- Kale is a rich source of antioxidants such as vitamin C, polyphenols, flavonoids (quercetin and kaempferol) and carotenoids that help in preventing oxidative damage by free radicals in the body. The antioxidants have many health benefits including reduced inflammation, blood pressure control and prevention of cancer. Note: To get the most antioxidant benefit from kale, it is recommended to eat it raw.
- Kale has good amounts of fibre and sulfur, both of which are excellent for detoxifying the body and maintaining a healthy liver.
- Kale has huge amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin- nutrients that play a role in reducing the risk of two very common eye disorders, namely macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Kale, particularly steamed kale, contains bile acid sequestrants which are responsible for lowering the body’s cholesterol level.
- Kale is a great source of vitamin K- the nutrient responsible for the clotting of blood– with a single raw cup containing almost 7 times the recommended daily amount.
- Kale is rich in vitamin C which has many important roles in the body so much so that a single cup of the raw vegetable contains more vitamin C than an orange!
- Kale prompts the formation of vitamin A in the body as it contains high amounts of Beta-Carotene, an antioxidant that the human body can convert into vitamin A.
- Kale contains more calcium than milk.
There are significant issues involved with over consumption of Kale. They are as follows:
- Excessive consumption may cause dehydration because in order to get rid of the body toxins, urination frequency increases after consuming kale. Thus, a lot of water is lost from the body in the process.
- As mentioned earlier in this article, kale has good amount of dietary fibre. So, overconsumption can give rise to problems like poor absorption of nutrients or malabsorption, indigestion, intestinal gas, intestinal bloating etc.
- No doubt, kale reduces the blood pressure but excessive consumption may result in hypotension.
Keeping the above points in mind, it is important to note that kale consumption beyond a limit could become problematic which is true for all foods in fact.
Puy lentil, squash and kale: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/puy-lentils-squash-kale
Chinese style kale: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5138/chinesestyle-kale