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Kale: A Nutritional Powerhouse And The Superstar Of The Super Greens
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Green is the color of choice for healthy eating. And, of all the green, leafy vegetables available, kale has become the number one superfood.

Packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals, it boasts a long list of health benefits, including:

  • Reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and asthma,
  • Lowering blood pressure,
  • Improving blood glucose levels related to diabetes,
  • Promoting healthy skin, and
  • Improving bone health—to name a few.

Why Add Kale To Your Diet

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, making it one of the healthiest foods. It contains antioxidants, flavonoids, fiber, phytonutrients, potassium, vitamins A, C, K and B6, beta carotene and more.

And, it’s low in calories. A cup has only about 40 calories but provides about 3 grams of protein. Compared with a cup of cooked spinach, it has over 1000 percent more vitamin C and a low oxalate content, making the calcium and iron highly absorbable to our digestive system.

In The Beginning…

Tracing its roots (no pun intended), this dark leafy vegetable descended from the wild mustard plant, brassica oleracea, which in its uncultivated form is known as wild cabbage. Kale’s close relatives include kohlrabi, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts.

The World’s Healthiest Foods explain the plant’s history:

[Wild cabbage was] thought to have originated in Asia Minor and to have been brought to Europe around 600 BC by groups of Celtic wanderers. Curly kale played an important role in early European foodways, having been a significant crop during ancient Roman times and a popular vegetable eaten by peasants in the Middle Ages. English settlers brought kale to the United States in the 17th century.

The Superstar of the Super Greens

A cool weather crop, kale grows best in the spring and fall but you can find it at the market all year. For those with a green thumb, plant the seeds around St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy the bounty of one of the first veggies you can harvest after a long, cold winter. 

You can bake, boil or sauté it or even eat it raw blended in a smoothie.

According to smoothie delivery service, Green Blender:

The benefits of kale are more readily reaped when kale is blended… [The green leafy veggie] makes some pretty tasty smoothies.

Earthy, green, fresh, fibrous, kale has a strong, semi-bitter flavor many people learn to love.

Its unique taste may take some getting used to.

Aspiring kale lovers may want to start with mellower baby kale for a more mild experience, then make their way up to laminate and curly kale.

To offset the bitter taste, consider blending in some sweet fruit, like mango or banana.  Try an Almond Joy or an Orange Sunrise, two great tasting smoothie recipes that are sure to satisfy.

Drink up and enjoy a taste sensation that your palate will love and your body will thank you for.

Photos by Alan Chadwick (gardener extraordinaire) and  greenblender.com.

 

 

 

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