Kale Nutrients and Benefits

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Kale is moving from obscurity to a starring role as the “queen of greens.” It is being juiced, added to smoothies, steamed, and featured as the main salad attraction. Kale is even popping up as the main gourmet ingredient in Kale chips. Recipes for Kale prep and instructions for making your own Kale chips are readily found on the Internet.

So what is bringing Kale out of the shadows and into the spotlight? After all, the first nibble on a leaf can literally be a sort of tough and bitter disappointment. Yet, there is a growing population migrating from empty calories to nutrient dense lifetime replacements. And nutrition density plus a few extras shines the spotlight on Kale. And we are not talking about the cooked in fatback for 10 hours kale of bygone years.

It is becoming very apparent that Kale is filled with health secrets, and is no longer tempting only the adventurous at heart. Kale is naturally positioned to become the ultimate new superfood. Here’s why:

  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients
  • Multiple micronutrients (in which the average U.S. adult is currently deficient)
  • An abundance of cancer-preventive nutrients called glucosinolates
  • At least 45 different recently discovered flavonoids, including kaempferol and quercetin.
  • Kale also plays a definite role in support of the body’s detoxification processes.

More About Kale As a Natural Detoxifier

Isothiocyanates are associated with regulating detox activities in our cells and good concentrations are found in Kale. Just a side note, many of the toxins that could cause serious damage use a two-step process, appropriately called Phase I detoxification and Phase II detoxification. the ITCs found in Kale favorably modify both Phase I and Phase II detox steps and that makes Kale really valuable in helping cells with natural detoxification.

And an added detox bonus; Kale has unusually large numbers of sulfur compounds that help support some Phase II detoxification which require sulfur.

Because Kale supports both phases of the detox process on a cellular level, kale is a real asset in dealing with exposure to toxins, whether environmental or from the very food we eat.

As you read down the page, be on the lookout for the nutrition density chart. That should be enough to inspire you to make Kale an important part of your weekly diet plan.

A Few Helpful Tips on How to Buy and Store Kale

I used to buy kale in the regular produce section at the grocery store. I figured that it probably would be a relatively safe choice. However, this year, The Environmental Working Group has added both Kale and Collard Greens to the pesticide list. I now go to my supermarket organic section – there is very little difference in price. In our area, we have two supermarkets that buy local grown (state of Colorado) organic produce.

Check to see if your local supermarkets have a similar provision. If your local supermarket is not carrying fresh organic veggies, put in a request, and get all your friends to do the same.

Picking a good bunch of Kale:

Look for kale with firm, deeply colored leaves and moist hardy stems. Don’t buy Kale that is exposed to heat since warm temperatures will cause it to wilt and will negatively affect its flavor. The leaves should look fresh, not wilted, with no signs of browning, yellowing, or small holes. Choose kale with smaller-sized leaves to get a more tender pick of the crop with a milder flavor than those with larger leaves. Kale is available throughout the year, although it is more widely available, and at its peak from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring.

Storing Kale

Place kale in a plastic storage bag and remove as much of the air from the bag as possible. Keep refrigerated, and it should last up to 2 weeks. Even though it has a rather hearty shelf-life, keep in mind – the longer any vegetable is stored, the more vitamins are lost to the air. And with Kale it gets more bitter with age.

Hint. Do not wash kale before storing because exposure to water encourages spoilage. And if it is still wet from the sprinklers at the grocery store, pat it dry with paper towels before refrigerating.

If you have not tried Kale yet, hope this encourages you to add a new superfood to your diet. And remember to leave a comment once you have tried the Kale salad.

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