Kale belongs to the same family as cabbage, brassica, and is sometimes called leaf cabbage. It is high in fiber and nutrients earning the reputation as a "super food". There are many varieties of kale with different leaf sizes and shapes. Kale varies in color from green to purple. Kale is easily grown in a home garden and it is very productive under a variety of growing conditions.
One cup of kale had just 36 calories and 5 grams of fiber which is about 20% of our RDA for fiber. Fiber helps to prevent constipation, helps decrease toxins and lowers blood sugar levels. The fiber found in kale helps prevent the growth of a bacteria that has been shown to increase the risk of stomach cancer. The fiber binds to bile acids and cholesterol helping to remove them from the body which helps prevent hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease.
Kale has also been called " the new beef ' because like beef it is very high in iron. Beef has less iron per calorie that kale and iron is needed by your body to form hemoglobin which in turn helps to transport oxygen through out your body.Kale is a good source of vitamin C which helps your immune system. Vitamin C has been shown to slow the formation of cataracts as well as lower blood pressure. One cup of kale contains 88% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. A single cup of kale provides 13 times the RDA for vitamin K. Vitamin K protects against atherosclerosis by keeping calcium from building up in arterial walls.This helps decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Vitamin K also helps our nervous system by protecting the myelin sheath around our nerves.
A cup of kale has almost twice the RDA of vitamin A. Vitamin A is important in maintaining strong teeth and bones as well as a strong immune system. Vitamin A helps prevent some forms of cancer from developing. Your skin and your vision are protected by an adequate intake of vitamin A. On a calorie for calorie basis, kale has more calcium than milk and the calcium in kale is better absorbed. Calcium is necessary for strong bones and it helps prevent osteoporosis.
Kale has an abundance of both flavonoid and carotenoids. These are powerful antioxidants that remove free radicals from our body and by doing this help slow ageing and prevent cancer. Kale has been found to have 47 different flavonoids. Kale has Omega 3 fatty acids that aide our immune system and have anti-inflammatory properties. Omega 3 fatty acids help people with autoimmune diseases, asthma and arthritis. Inflammation in the body increases our risk of developing cancer and inflammation also can be responsible for many our body's aches and pains.
Kale chips are an easy snack to make at home in the oven. Remove the rib from the kale and tear the leaves into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Lightly coat the leaves with olive oil or coconut oil and dust them with garlic powder and jalapeno powder or another spicy pepper. I also use a little curcumin to increase the anti-oxidants of the kale chips. Bake the leaves on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees for about 40 minutes. Turn them a few times during the drying process and bake the leaves until they are crisp and brittle. Died kale can also be frozen for long term storage and then put in the microwave oven to thaw for a quick snack.