Several weeks ago, Scott Jacobson published an article in Slate on “The All-Kale Diet: Kale of Duty.” Although intended as a bit of humor, there is much to recommend this vegetable to everyone interested in good health.
The first great reason; Kale or borecole is a form of cabbage, albeit closer to wild cabbage than the cultivar and is arguably one of the healthiest vegetables known. 250 grams [about one cup] of kale contains approximately 5 grams of fiber [13% of RDA], 102 mg of Vitamin C [142% of RDA], 179 mg of calcium [17% of RDA], 2,037 micrograms of Vitamin K [1925% of RDA, and the list goes on and on.
The second great reason; Clinical studies, as reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have shown that generally speaking, an increase in consumption of vegetables lower the risk of chronic diseases, or at least minimally slow their onset. Studies have also indicated that a diet rich in Vitamin K, such as kale, can significantly reduce the overall risk of cancer. Additionally, other studies show that diets that include foods in the brassica group, such as broccoli, cabbage and kale can support elimination of toxic estrogens. These estrogens, found in plastics and pesticides, are the kinds that promote breast cancer. These health benefits seem to be very good reason for increasing one’s consumption of kale.
The third reason, kale is easy to grow and has an extended growing season. Kale is, of course, available in your neighbourhood grocery store and farmer’s market, but growing your own is also very easy. If you have a garden, it can be one of the first seeds you sow in the spring and one of the last crops you can harvest in the fall. Even in the heat of summer, if you have a protected area in your yard, kale could be grown, but it does like the cooler weather best. If you live in an apartment or condominium with space at a premium, you could grow enough in a window box or pots to have it with a meal once or twice a week. If shopping for kale, look for firm, darkly coloured leaves and stems; leaves range from dark green to red. It will keep for up to five days in a refrigerator in plastic bags as air tight as you can get them.
The fourth great reason is eating more is so easy. Kale can be eaten raw by simply cutting it up and adding it to your green salad. We like it with heavier salad such as taco salad where we have added black beans and meat. Kale can be cooked like spinach, chopped and added to soups or stews or it can be roasted with salt and pepper and eaten like chips. Getting a bit more ambitious, it goes great in eggs, with quiche, or in a stir fry. My friend adds baby kale along with fresh fruit to her good morning smoothie to power up her day. Our Kale is just about ready to pick and so are the strawberries, so where is that blender? Yum!