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Vital Vittle of the Week: Kale

Posted Jan 14 2009 7:21pm

The Vital Vittle

By Maureen Lauder

Food of the Week:  KALE!

Kale is the first green I really fell in love with.  Not so much because of taste, I’m sad to say-like many of the healthiest greens, kale has a strong flavor that may take a bit of getting used to-but because I felt SO good after my first kale-centric meal.

Five reasons to eat more kale: kale

1) Get your vitamins and minerals. Kale is an amazing source of several different nutrients:  Vitamins K, A, C, and B6, manganese, copper, calcium, B6, and potassium, among others.

2) Prevent cancer. The phytonutrients in kale and other cruciferous vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, including lung, breast, colon, and ovarian cancer.

3) Detoxify your body. In addition to the garden-variety antioxidant benefits of many fruits and vegetables, the phytonutrients in kale actually stimulate extra detoxification.  These compounds trigger increased production of numerous enzymes involved in detoxification, considerably expanding the body’s ability to neutralizing damaging free radicals.

4) Protect your eyesight. Kale contains carotenoids, which help prevent UV damage to the eyes and reduce the risk of cataracts.

5) Have more energy. Kale is good source of manganese, which helps produce energy from protein and carbohydrates.  It also helps protect the mitochondria, the cells’ power source, against damage from free radicals generated during energy production.

Ways to sneak more kale into your diet:

If you haven’t yet completely developed a taste for the more savory greens, kale is a good place to start.  Add a leaf or two into your morning smoothie for an extra energy kick, or shred a bit into your evening salad.  Or, for total immersion, try this tasty salad recipe from Alissa Cohen’s Living on Live Food:

Kale Salad

1 bunch of kale, shredded (discard the woody stems)

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 cup avocado

2-½ T olive oil

1-½ T lemon juice

1 t sea salt

½ t cayenne pepper

Using your hands, toss the ingredients together, squeezing to cream the avocado.

Hint: The more avocado you use, the richer and creamier (and, frankly, tastier) this salad gets.

So in honor of kale, I challenge you all to learn to love it (if you don’t already).  Try eating a serving of kale every day for a week and pay attention to how you feel-I promise you’ll be a kale convert!

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