When it comes to greens, kale is one of the healthiest choices. But more than having a very high nutritional value, it is quite delicious too. As a leafy green vegetable, kale is available in three varieties: ornamental, dinosaur, and curly. Kale belongs to the family of cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and collard greens. Kale is very rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and comes with a lot of health benefits:
1. Easy digestion
Kale is very rich in fiber so your stomach will be happy while you eat it. Kale is low in calories and has zero fat content. It is the perfect food to add to your weight-loss diet plan. Kale also improves metabolism and aid in the hydration process. It can also help fight against constipation and irregular bowel movements.
2. Disease prevention
Kale contains lots of vitamins that keep both the bones and the blood healthy. It also ensures that all organs are working up to par. It supports the functions of the lungs and makes sure that the bones won’t suffer from osteoporosis or nutrition loss. Vitamin K, which kale has high content of, is known as the nutrient against Alzheimer’s disease. The many antioxidants in kale can also do wonders in preventing the onset of cancer.
3. Promotes healthy circulation
Kale is very high in iron. It helps in the formation of certain enzymes and hemoglobin to efficiently transport blood and oxygen to the different parts of the body. Kale also aids in cellular growth while keeping the kidneys strong. If you are eating kale combine it with vitamine C (for example a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice). It helps to increase the intake of iron.
4. Fights against inflammation
Kale is one of the most effective anti-inflammatory foods as it is very rich in the omega 3 fatty acids. This nutrient helps fight arthritis, joint pains, disorders of the immune system, and asthma.
5. Lowers cholesterol level
The zero fat content of kale can only mean one thing – it can fight off the bad cholesterol present in the blood. Adequate intake of this leafy treat can keep your heart safe from diseases. Kale is known for boosting the functions of the cardiovascular system.
6. Protects the skin and eyes
With the many vitamins packed inside this vegetable, Vitamin A in particular, the eyes and skin are protected. Keep your vision clear while your skin healthy with adequate amounts of kale.
Do not eat kale everyday because you can suffer from kale side effects like:
– Hyperkalemia is a condition wherein there is too much potassium present in the blood. Its symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, chest pain, and diarrhea. People who eat too much kale and other food items that are high in potassium are prone to acquiring this disease.
– Gastrointestinal problems; kale contains high contents of fiber that can do more harm than good when consumed in very high amounts. Consuming too much kale can result in diarrhea, gas, and stomach cramps.
As always a variation in your diet is the key! Just add kale to your diet two or three times a week to get the health benefits.
How to use kale?
You can put kale inside your smoothies, salads, soup, omelette, steam it or add to a stirfry. I will share my favorite raw kale salad and green smoothie with you. Enjoy!!!
Raw Kale salad
Because you use raw kale you really need to massage the kale with the dressing.
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp freshly squeeze lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
- 1 tbsp tamari or nama shoyu (soysauce)
- ½ tsp honey or maple syrup
- Handfull pistachios, sliced almonds or pinenuts
- 1/4 cup fresh pomegranates or dried organic cherries, cranberries or currants
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ avocado
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing and massage the kale with the dressing. Let it marinate at least for 30 minutes (or longer).
Dry roast the pistachios
Mix the marinated kale with the nuts, pomegranate and black pepper. Slice the avocado in cubes and put it on top of the salad.
Pineapple-Kale green smoothie
- 1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple, chopped
- 1 medium apple, cored
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- ½ avocado
- 2 cups water
Mix everything in your blender and enjoy!!!