I love kale! This super awesome vegetable has beautiful rich green leaves that scream nutrients. They taste wonderfully with your favourite meat, fish or vegetarian dish and they are easy to cook with. This cruciferous vegetable is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables out there and is definitely worth including in your diet. Although Kale is available all year round, you can find them more widely available and sweeter in taste in the middle of winter and through to the beginning of spring.
Let’s undress this leading nutritious vegetable to uncover some of its health benefits:
Vitamin K: This important vitamin is needed for blood clotting in our body. For example if you got a paper cut, this nutrient will help stop the bleeding so your cut can heal. Wicked!
Vitamin A: This is an excellent antioxidant that protects the cell membranes and lining of tissues from any free-radical damage. Vitamin A is important for eyesight since it is the primary source in the process of forming rhodopsin (the visual purple found in the retina). Rhodopsin is needed to prevent night blindness and to help the eyes adjust to any rapid environmental light changes. This vitamin also lowers risk of cancer by maintaining the structural integrity of the cells and helps stimulate immunity cells, which protects the body from diseases.
Vitamin C: This essential vitamin and antioxidant is not produced in the body therefore would need to be obtained through food. Like vitamin A it also stimulates immune function. It is needed to heal wounds and illness. Great in metabolizing cholesterol and helps with elimination of cholesterol as well. It helps protect the health of blood vessels, body tissues and muscles. If that isn’t enough, vitamin C is especially valuable in opening up pathways for liver detoxification, which is vital for mental and physical health.
Cardiovascular disease: Kale provides support in cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol. The liver uses cholesterol as a building block to produce bile acids. The nutrient fiber in kale binds to bile acids instead of being absorbed along with the fat it has emulsified. Therefore the liver needs to replace the lost bile acids and in return the cholesterol level decreases.
Antioxidant & Cancer: You can count on kale for its antioxidant health benefits just like vitamin A and C. Sufficient antioxidant intake is important for preventing oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is a risk factor for developing cancer including breast cancer, bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer. Kale provides supreme maintenance in our body’s detoxification processes. It can give our body the extra support in dealing with toxic exposure whether through food or environment.
Whew! This green vegetable is like a superstar in the making. What more can we ask for when trying to eat healthy. Now that you have learned some of the awesome benefits of Kale, nourish your body with the following simple recipe that only takes 2-3 minutes to cook. How awesome is that!
- 1 bunch of kale, coarsely chopped, with stems removed
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- Sea salt for taste
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of water or vegetable stock
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil (on medium heat) and add garlic; stir for 30 seconds and do not allow it to burn.
- Add water or vegetable stock, kale and sea salt; toss and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, until kale turns bright green. Add these healthy greens to any of your favourite dishes.
Note: For more added flavour, you can drizzle with Avocado oil (optional).
Try it out and let me know how you like it by leaving a comment below. Also, make sure your friends and family know the inside scoop on this wonder-veg by sharing it on facebook and twitter.
Guest Writer: Irene Liu, CNP
Irene Liu is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for nutritional education. She is a health and wellness writer as well as a personal nutrition coach. Her goal is to inspire others to live a happy and healthy life filled with delicious food.