Featured article by Jessica Pantermuehl, Nutritional Counselor and founder of Beautifully Balanced Nutrition. Read more about Jessica, here.
You’ve seen the trend: blended kale making its way into your local smoothie bar; pouches of the dark curly chips lining the shelves of Whole Foods in ever-increasing numbers.
It may seem faddish, but there is good cause for this leafy green’s rise to stardom. If you haven’t yet jumped on the kale bandwagon, here are a few reasons you might consider developing your own cruciferous crush:
Here’s a glimpse at what you’re getting from just 1 cup of kale:
- 15% of your daily requirement of calcium and Vitamin B6
- 40% of magnesium
- 180% of Vitamin A,
- 200% of Vitamin C,
- 1,020% of Vitamin K
- 5 grams of fiber.
Kale is also a good source of minerals: potassium, iron, copper, manganese and phosphorous. And all of that for just 36 calories per cup! As a note on Vitamin K, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating a diet rich in vitamin K can reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer, so eating kale is a great way to help protect you from this!
If you’re still unsure about adding kale to your diet, here are 5 tips that will make it easy to eat and fall in love with the King of Greens:
1. Massage in oil and lemon to cut the bitterness.
Try it out! The simple act of massaging a little oil or lemon into your kale will do a lot to reduce the bitter flavor that some complain about. After chopping the kale, drizzle a little oil and squeeze in some fresh lemon. Using your fingers, literally massage the liquid into the kale by small handfuls. It makes a difference!
2. Try it without the spine first.
Although it’s generally always best to eat as much of the plant as possible, some people find that the thick, hearty spine of fresh kale can add too much crunch (and chewing) for their liking. Try your kale without the spine as a gradient, and then add it in when you’re ready. When you do, start by chopping it in small pieces before adding.
3. Add it to a white bean soup.
If you’re not quite ready for kale to be the main attraction of your meal, get to know it through an easy addition to your white bean soup. Try this simple recipe.
4. Eat it when it’s fresh.
The age of the kale makes a big difference to the flavor. In the store or at your farmer’s market, choose kale that’s firm, crisp and dark. The older, paler and more flaccid the bunch, the more bitter and unpleasant you’ll probably find it.
5. Cut it with fruit
Adding fruit to your kale salad helps to smooth out any bitterness and adds a light, summery feel. Try sliced strawberries, diced apples or dried cranberries.
Ready to Try Kale? Start with this simple salad:
Summer Kale Salad
1/2 bunch kale, chopped (removing main stem optional)
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon (approx 1 Tbsp.)
1/4 C dried cranberries
1/4 C sliced strawberries
1/4 C sprouted salt and pepper walnuts
Remove stems from kale if desired. Chop kale into bite-sized slices. In a large bowl, add kale, oil and lemon juice. Massage oil and lemon juice into kale. Add dried cranberries, strawberries and nuts and toss.
[Image: ilovemypit's Flickr Photostream/Creative Commons]
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