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Kale has taken the nutrition world by storm this past year, and for good reason! This deliciously green (or purple!) leafy vegetable is extremely high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, as well as calcium! It is fantastic for salads, and can be considered an excellent staple for any plant-based diet. Fun fact, some kale is ornamental, due to the beautiful colors that can be found within the interior rosette. Despite being able to serve as decoration, ornamental kale is as edible as any other variety!
Benefits: Eating kale on a regular basis may provide cancer protection, lower cholesterol, and aid in detoxification. As a nutritional powerhouse, this leafy green is high in antioxidants, like the vitamins mentioned above, in addition to carotenoids and flavonoids. The latter two antioxidants, as well as Vitamin K, are what yield this food’s anti-cancer benefits. Vitamin K is also necessary for certain bodily functions like normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and proper bone health. Kale is also a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, manganese, and phosphorous, and also possesses sulphur-containing phytonutrients. As a cruciferous vegetable, the fiber content of kale also enables it to bind bile acids, help lower cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Finally, kale is very rich in the compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, which both promote eye health.
How To Use: Wonderful in salads, baked into chips, steamed (its ability to prevent heart disease is higher when cooked!), added to soups and stir-fries, thrown in pestos, and so on. Two of our favorite applications for kale is in salad form. Check out the best kale salad ever and butternut squash kale salad.
Nutrition Facts: Serving Size: 1 cup
It is important to note that as a cruciferous vegetable, kale contains oxalates, which are naturally occurring and can interfere with calcium absorption and may impair thyroid function. If you are concerned about calcium absorption, avoid eating dairy, and other calcium-rich foods while consuming kale. If you have been diagnosed with hyper or hypothyroidism, you may also want to limit your intake of kale, or make sure it is cooked when you consume it! Also, if you are taking anticoagulants, you may want to limit how much kale you eat as the vitamin K may interfere with your medication!