A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with some friends. Over our salads, the subject of eating various vegetables came up. Everyone chimed in on how they just loved spinach and other leafy greens. One friend buys brussels sprouts on the stalk to engage her children. Another boils up some beautiful beets and her family enjoys them with salt, pepper, and olive oil right out of the pot! I chimed in about eating kale chopped raw into a salad, sauteed into a pasta, or roasted with olive oil and mushrooms. Everyone looked at me with wonder. The general consensus around the table was that kale looks great ornamentally in outdoor potted arrangements or decorating a plate full of what they’d really like to eat!
I felt this way about kale until a few years ago when during my nutrition research I read a series of books by Steven Pratt, MD. His book, “SuperFoodsRx,” included kale as part of the family of dark green leafy vegetables one should eat every day. I kept seeing kale in the various publications and websites. The following are some key points which helped me to include kale in my family’s diet:
- Kale is loaded with micronutrients and vitamins. Per cup it has 1327% of vitamin K, 192% of vitamin A, and 88% of vitamin C.
- Organosulfur compounds abound in kale! Sulforaphane inhibits and (in some cases) kills cancer cells. Some studies have even shown that the expression of cancer-related genes can be influenced by chemopreventive compounds found in cruciferous vegetables like kale.
- Kale’s antioxidant profile helps optimize your cells’ detoxification, cleansing ability, and mitigates chronic inflammation.
- The lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids act protect eye health and lower cataract risk. These are plentiful in kale!
- During this cold and flu season, enjoy kale to help support a healthy immune system.
My favorite kale is the red variety at Whole Foods. There is also good kale at your local veggie market. Give it a whirl- your cells will love you.