Superfood: kale

Posted in Nutrition

Coming from the cabbage family; kale also sits in the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. It comes in fresh green tones or in dark green shades, with both flat or curly leaves that can be both long or short, and a variety of flavours to go with it.

Popular in the European diet for centuries, one cup of raw kale has about 33 calories - and that is just one in a generous list of benefits.

Benefits:

Nutrient-rich (one of the most nutrient dense natural produce known), kale is full of beta-carotene (that leads to the generation of vitamin A), as well as vitamins C, K, and B6. It’s also rich in minerals, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, calcium and potassium.

Kale is also rich in fibre, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s abundant in antioxidants, including flavonoids (quercetin and kaempferol) that have antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects, while helping protect the heart and lower blood pressure.

Due to these amazing benefits, kale is believed to help prevent some types of cancer, prevent heart disease, fight LDL (bad cholesterol), and work as an anticoagulant.

High on nutrients and low on calories, kale delivers protein and fibre and can be a great ally for weight loss diets that don’t lose track of health and balance.

Recipes:

Here is a delicious Celebration Salad recipe suggestion, created by Stacey from goodnessis.com with a selection of all-natural, organic ingredients.

For the salad:

  • 6 – 8 cups of young leaves of Nero Tuscan Kale
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red cabbage
  • 1 small pear, slightly under-ripe, cored and thinly sliced length-wise
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • zest from one lemon

For the dressing:

  • 5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp sweet balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Recipe:
Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C. Wash the young kale leaves and remove the inner stem of the bigger leaves.

Bring a pot of water to the boil, salt it lightly and plunge the kale gently in for 15 – 30 seconds, retaining its vigour and crispness. Drain, pour cold water over and set aside to cool. Spin to remove excess water. Slice into ribbons.

(If you prefer your kale leaves raw – In a large mixing bowl, toss and gently massage the chopped kale with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Set aside, tossing by hand every ten minutes for about 30 minutes.)

Arrange the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with maple syrup. Toast until golden brown and fragrant, about 8 – 10 minutes. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes, and then coarsely chop.

Discard any limp outer leaves from the cabbage and shred finely until you have half a cup. Slice the pear into quarters, remove the core, and then cut the fruit into thin slices. Brush each piece with lemon juice, to stop browning.

To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a large salad bowl, combine the finely chopped cabbage and kale. Toss with your hands to combine. Scatter the walnuts, pear slices, and pomegranate seeds over the top of the salad. Sprinkle over the lemon zest. Dress the salad when ready to serve and enjoy.

Posted in Nutrition