If there was one food that I thought to be equivalent or even superior in nutrient value than broccoli, it would be kale. Both are from the brassica family. Broccoli remains an easier sell to my kids; however, kale is actually quite versatile so I remain hopeful. Kale is a leafy green packed with vitamin A, C, E, K and antioxidants. When researching how to reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease and even osteoporosis, dark green leafy vegetables top the list as foods to include daily in your diet. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that can help protect brain cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin K is important for bone health. One ½ cup serving of steamed kale provides enough zeaxanthin and lutein (12 mg) to help improve eye health and reduce macular degeneration.
Nutrient Facts for 125ml (1/2 cup) cooked kale:
1.3 g protein
4 g carbohydrates
1.4 g fibre
28 mg Vitamin C
531 mg Vitamin K
157 mg potassium
50 mg calcium
12 mg lutein
Kale is available year round and is easy to grow in our climate. Leaves should be deep green not yellow, brown or wilted. The smaller the leaves, the milder the flavour; baby kale is delicious in salads. Kale keeps well if you wash it and then wrap and store it in paper towel and then place in a plastic bag in the crisper. The longer you keep kale the stronger the flavour. Picking kale after a light frost yields a sweeter tasting leaf. Slightly steaming or blanching make makes the vitamin A more available.
- Kale can be eaten raw (leaves trimmed from the coarse stems), steamed, braised, boiled, sautéed or added to soups, casseroles and stews. Here are some delicious ways to add kale to your diet.
- Blanche and Freeze. Toss kale into boiling water for 1 minute, remove and submerge in ice bath immediately to cool and stop the cooking process. Drain and freeze in freezer bags or use blanched leaves in smoothies.
- Add sautéed onions and chopped kale to an omelet with feta cheese
- Add chopped kale to a frittata or quiche
- Make a baby kale salad with sundried tomatoes, toasted walnuts and feta cheese
- Add chopped kale to a vegetable soup, stir fry or on top of pizza
- Blend kale with basil, garlic, walnuts and parmesan for a delicious pesto sauce
- Make kale chips