It seems like everyone is leaping onto the kale bandwagon. People line up at juice bars for cups of the pureed greens. Healthy snackers much on kale chips. And the term "kale recipes" yields nearly 30 million Google search results. Kale is to veggies what iPod is to the MP3--and its popularity shows no signs of waning.
If you haven't swapped your spinach for the leafy green that starts with a "k," you may wish to reconsider. Popeye's favorite is a great source of nutrients, but it seems that kale packs a bigger nutritional wallop than spinach--or most other foods--could ever aspire to. Here are six good reasons to add kale to your diet.
1. It is the Iron Vegetable
When we think of iron, we traditionally think of meat as an optimum source. The truth is that kale offers more iron per calorie than a slab of beef ever could. Iron is a key player in creating a healthy immune system, oxygenating the bloodstream, creating new cells, and ensuring that the liver functions properly. As an iron-rich food, kale tramples beef in the dust.
2. It beats a milk mustache
Kale is superior to cow when it comes to more than just iron--it also offers a larger dose of calcium than milk. Yes, this cruciferous vegetable packs more of this bone-building ingredient per calorie. And, due to a lack of oxalic acid, kale's calcium is more easily absorbed by the body. This makes kale a wise choice in your battle against osteoporosis.
3. It cleanses your colon
If you find yourself frequently reaching for a laxative, kale can awaken your digestive system and get things moving once again. With one cup of this leafy green containing 20% of your recommended daily fibre intake, it fights constipation. But unlike your chocolate-flavored Ex-lax, kale aids in digestion, lowers your blood sugar, and makes you feel more satisfied after a meal.
4. A.C.K! It's full of vitamins
If you've been relying solely on a multi-vitamin to meet your dietary needs, why not incorporate kale into your cuisine? After all, this cruciferous gem is overflowing with Vitamins A, C, and K.
• Vitamin A, often referred to as the "eyesight vitamin," does more than enable you to spot Waldo in record speed. It also maintains your skin, boosts your immune system, fights against kidney stones, and makes sure that your reproductive system remains in tiptop shape. According to several sources, just one cup of kale provides you with over 190% of your daily requirements of this vision-enhancing vitamin.
• Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that keeps your immune system prepped for battle. It also keeps you attractive by keeping wrinkles at bay and ensuring your skin remains soft and firm. Traditionally, humans have looked to citrus fruits for their supply of Vitamin C, but kale is actually a wiser choice. Gram for gram, kale offers more of this valuable antioxidant than an orange--hands down.
• Vitamin K may not be talked about as much as its A through F counterparts, but it plays an extremely important role in keeping you healthy. Not only does it play a role in building and maintaining bones, but it also facilitates normal blood clotting. It is also a key player in fighting inflammation and related conditions such as asthma, autoimmune disorders, and arthritis. Kale offers greater than 1000% of your required daily intake--making Kale the King of Vitamin K.
5. It Kills Cholesterol
For many, the battle against cholesterol is a never-ending war. Recruiting kale is a great line of defense. Many studies have shown that kale lowers cholesterol levels--likely due to its fiber's innate ability to bind with bile acids, causing the liver to use more cholesterol, which results in a lower level in your bloodstream.
6. It's got fat...honest
We rarely think of vegetables as being harbingers of fat--good or bad--but kale is actually a viable source of essential fatty acids. A serving of kale, in fact, boasts 121 mg of omega-3 and 92 mg of omega-6. Fatty acids are important for brain function, and cardiovascular health.
If you are wanting to embark on a healthy new lifestyle--or even if you're simply bored with the same old foods--kale is a tasty and nutritional addition to your diet. And with millions of online recipes to choose from, it will never become stale.
What is your favorite kale recipe?