Kale facts and nutritional information that will astound you, and a baked kale chip recipe.
Kale is one of those green leafy veggies that you look at and say “what the heck do I do with this?”
Kale is a leafy green and it has all the goodness you would expect from such a beautiful plant. Use it as you would spinach or turnip greens. Sauté it in olive oil and garlic as a side dish. Tear some raw and mix with your salad greens for a healthy bitter flavor (bitters aid digestion by increasing digestive enzymes), throw a handful into your favorite soup, or stir fry or throw it in your morning shake!
Kale is best when eaten soon after harvest, so this would be a great leaf to buy at a farmers market. Kale is also seasonal. The season was just ending in June in the south when I wrote this, and I was lucky to find it at the markets.
1. Anti-inflammatory: Inflammation is the number one cause of arthritis, heart disease, cancer and a number of autoimmune diseases, and is triggered by the consumption of animal products. Kale is an incredibly effective anti-inflammatory food, potentially preventing and even reversing these illnesses.
2. Iron: It is a myth that vegetarians are anemic. In fact, the number of non-vegetarians with iron deficiencies is on the rise. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef.
3. Calcium: Dairy contains calcium, but the “milky way” (the U.S….known for it’s powerful dairy council) still has some of the highest rates of bone loss and osteoporosis in the world. Kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk (90 mg per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy.
4. Fiber: Like protein, fiber is a macronutrient, which means we need it every day. But many Americans don’t eat nearly enough and the deficiency is linked to heart disease, digestive disorders and colon cancer. Protein-rich foods, like meat, contain little to no fiber. A one cup serving of kale not only contains 10% of the recommended daily intake of fiber, but it also provides 2 grams of protein.
5. Omega fatty acids: Essential Omega fats play an important role in our health, unlike the saturated fats in meat. A serving of kale contains 121 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 106 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.
6. Immunity: Superbugs and bacteria are a serious risk to our health. Kale is an incredibly rich source of immune-boosting carotenoid and flavanoid antioxidants including vitamins A and C. One serving has 134% US RDA for vitamin C and a whopping 206% US RDA for vitamin A…that’s 10,302 IU!!
7. Sustainable: Kale grows to maturity in 55 to 60 days versus a cow raised for beef for an average of 18-24 months. Kale can grow in most climates and is relatively easy and low impact to grow at home or on a farm. To raise one pound of beef requires 16 pounds of grain, 11 times as much fossil fuel and 2,400 gallons more water.
8. Low cal: one cup of fresh kale has 30 calories and 0 fat. Nuff said.
9. Cancer fighting: Kale or borecole belongs to the botanical group Brassica oleracea which is closely related to broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts making it extremely high in phytochemcials sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol that has been shown to protect against prostate and colon cancers.
Yes, I know…it’s so…. green.
You can always make kale chips! Just think of how cool it would be to sit in front of the TV, eat chips, and not have to feel guilty!
Click here for a quick video. Or follow this recipe:
- 1 bunch of kale..any variety, curly or flat (I used curly)
- 1-2 tbs olive oil (or as much as will coat all your leaves for the amount of kale you have)
- seasoning: sea salt, Old Bay , cumin, etc
1. Preheat oven to 300 F
2. Wash kale well soaking in a bowl or the sink…shake it and mix it around well to get all dirt off the kale. I also added about 1/8 cup of salt to the water for extra cleaning as this would help remove any critters/dirt still clinging. I found ripping them into pieces and removing the stem at this point helpful (you can eat the stem which has extra nutrients, but it’s a bit tough)
3. Dry the kale extremely well. This is an important part so you can use a salad spinner, but you still need to dry with paper towels after that. They should be dry…not damp, not almost dry…but completely dry. I left mine sit out for a few hours.
4. Place leaves in bowl and drizzle with olive oil. You want to coat each piece, but not be drippy. Work the oil into each leaf.
5. Place pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet and season as you like.(I used Old Bay on some garlic, sea salt and pepper on some others) The next time I make these, I will season the oil instead of sprinkling it over for a more uniform flavor.
6. Bake for 20 minutes.
7. Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!
Store in airtight firm bowls as the chips are very delicate.
Side note: If your in the Atlanta area, and you don’t have access to fresh kale, Krunchy Kale Chips from Square Peg Living Foods are 100% deliciously addictive. Their blend of spices is just right and they are dehydrated not baked, so the crispiness is irresistible!
Please feel free to post any fun kale recipe links in the comments!
Hail to the kale!