Welcome back to Health and Wellness Fridays!
Today, centre stage we have kale. Some say it is the king of all the super greens, others call it the “queen of greens” but whatever name you give it at the end of this post hopefully we’ll agree that it is definitely one of the world’s healthiest foods.
Kale is a vegetable and it’s a member of the Brassica family along with cabbages, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. There are so many varieties of kale. If you didn’t know you might probably mistake it for just another beautiful flower.
Let’s take a look at some below.
- Common kale: is the most common type found in supermarkets. It has large, frilly edged leaves and long stems. The colour can range from light to dark green with a slightly bluish hue at times. It has a slightly sweet taste.
- Lacinato Kale also known as Dinosaur Kale or Tuscan kale: is an Italian variety of kale. It has crinkly leaves and is dark purplish and green. It has a sweet but slightly spicy flavour.
- Ornamental kale: although referred to as “ornamental” is actually edible but be warned the leaves are somewhat coarse and bitter in taste. It has a frilly and fluffy appearance. Its colour can range from pink to purple to magenta. This colourful variety because of its beauty is often used for displays.
- Red Russian Kale: have bluish-green leaves with a red rib. They have frilly edges but they are not as frilly as those of common kale. It is also more tender and sweeter than common kale.
- White Kale: has frilly white leaves and is slightly peppery in taste.
What’s in it?
Kale is packed with nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese and copper. It’s a very good source of vitamin B6, fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamin E and vitamin B2. If that was not enough, you’ll also find iron, magnesium, vitamin B1, omega 3 fats, phosphorus, protein, folate, vitamin B3 and 45 different flavonoids. Kale is clearly not a super green to be taken at face value.
Now that we have gotten the nutritional profile out-of-the-way let’s get into the good stuff that is, what is it good for?
Some benefits of kale include:
- Lower cholesterol
- Supports vision health
- Supports brain health
- Good for skin and hair
- Good for bones
- Support weight loss
- Support immune system
- Help with depression
- Control blood sugar
Kale has the potential to do amazing things but what is the best way to use it? Some people like to eat kale raw others prefer to cook it. Whatever method you choose, be sure to wash it thoroughly before consuming.
You could add them to salads, sandwiches or as a side to a dish whatever you feel inspired to do. Cosmopolitan.com has offered 19 ways to cook kale that would blow your mind. Feel free to check them out if you’re looking for inspiration in the kitchen or just want to try something new.
Some possible side effects
Kale has come under suspicion as being goitrogenic, a substance that can lead to swelling or dysfunction of the thyroid gland.
Recent studies, however, show that kale and its cruciferous cousins do not interfere with thyroid function in healthy people.
One article has stated that even those suffering from hypothyroidism can eat as much kale as they want as long as it is cooked.
I suggest talking to your doctor to be safe. What might be okay for me, might not be okay for you – so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Additionally, persons who use beta-blockers need to exercise moderation when consuming foods high potassium, especially if your kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, it could be fatal.
People taking blood thinners should also be particularly careful because kale’s high content of vitamin K promotes clotting.
Kale contains oxalates which have been identified as a contributor to the formation of kidney stones. However, according to University of Chicago kidney specialist Dr. Fredric Coe, although kale does contain oxalates it has very small amounts unlike spinach which has large amounts of oxalates which can cause the formation of kidney stones.
All in all, kale is a great food that has a lot to offer but moderation is advised. For safety consult your health care provider.
Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend!