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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kale "The Queen of Greens"

I actually really like this stuff :-)!!! Kale has a great simple flavor and texture and who knew it could be so positive for me!!!!!!

- From Blogger for Infinity Health and Wellness Center, Shantee.

How Healthy is Kale…Really?

It seems like everyone is going crazy for kale these days. It’s referred to as the “queen of greens” and is showing up in all kinds of restaurant menus as salads, side dishes, main dishes and even snack chips.

But is kale really that different, than, say spinach or broccoli?

Kale comes from the Brassica family, which includes cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. These veggies are rich in sulpher-containing, anti-cancer phytonutrients. They’re so healthy that many nutrition experts recommend people try to eat at least a few servings of Brassica veggies each week for their health benefits.

A serving (about 1 ½ cups chopped) of kale has about 50 calories and 9 grams of carbs. It has a tad bit more protein, 4 grams compared to spinach’s 3 grams, and it has one gram more of fiber to total 3 grams fiber per serving. But where kale really shines is in it’s micronutrients and phytonutrients.

A serving of kale also packs in nearly 500 mg potassium (more than a banana!) and is an excellent source of vitamin C, Vitamin K, the eye-protective antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as betacarotene. Compared to spinach, kale is about equal nutritionally so the best bet is to enjoy both of them!  I personally find raw kale more bitter and tough than spinach, so I prefer spinach in my raw salads. But when it comes to wilted salads or cooked greens, I prefer the stronger texture of kale.

How to Buy It

To find the freshest kale, look for firm, deeply colored leaves with hardy stems. Smaller leaves will be more tender and milder in flavor.  Store , unwashed in an air-tight zipped plastic bag for up to five days in the refrigerator.

How to Use It

You want to minimize cooking time to retain kale’s nutrients, texture and flavor. Just, rinse, chip and add to stir-frys, frittatas and other egg dishes, soups, salads, pasta dishes or casseroles.  You can lightly steam it to make it more tender to enjoy in salads.

Bottom line on Kale

Eating more veggies is what’s important because 99% of US adults don’t eat enough veggie servings on any given day. If you like the taste and texture of kale, then eat more of it. If you don’t particularly like it, eat other leafy greens because they’ll be about the same nutritionally as kale.  For more anti-cancer protection, try to eat servings from the Brassica family at least 3 times a week.

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