It's amazing when you realize how much of our food supply came from simple plants our ancestors picked up and ate. Even plants you would step around or over every day if you saw it in the wild ended up in early cooking pots or munched on raw.
Take kale for example, it's a superfood, and a source of dietary fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. It elevates other foods it's served with and stands well on its own.
The World's Healthiest Foods tell us about the major benefits of kale, "Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale's flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress." One of the great things about kale is the fact that it grows well in cooler weather. It does well in northern Europe. This is a green you can enjoy almost all-year round. We are considering planting this fall for a winter crop on our deck.
The World's Healthiest Foods also says, "What we have already seen in the health research on kale is ample evidence that its glucosinolates provide cancer-preventive benefits. Kale is a top food source for at least four glucosinolates, and once kale is eaten and digested, these glucosinolates can be converted by the body into cancer preventive compounds. Kale's glucosinolates and the ITCs made from them have well-documented cancer preventive properties, and in some cases, cancer treatment properties as well. At the top of the cancer-related research for kale are colon cancer and breast cancer, but risk of bladder cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer have all been found to decrease in relationship to routine intake of kale."
Some people are calling kale "the new beef," because of its nutrition and its easy cultivation. Regardless, it's the new darling. In its article "The Truth About Kale", WebMD calls kale the Queen of Greens and says, "Gaining in popularity, kale is an amazing vegetable being recognized for its exceptional nutrient richness, health benefits, and delicious flavor." Although many people use raw kale in smoothies and salads, kale is great in a stir-fry or stew and really shines as a boiled green like spinach, collard greens or mustard. But, like its cousin cabbage, the best cholesterol-lowering benefits will be returned by steam cooking. Also, cabbage-like kale contains the heavy hitter glucosinolates.
Many people puree kale into smoothies for a healthy morning drink or afternoon pick-me-up. It's a great food for both vegetarians and everyone else. I like it served German style, "Gruenkohlfahrt" with bratwurst and potatoes - boiled with bacon and a little mustard, salt and pepper and perhaps a little vinegar. A nice brisk walk on a cool morning followed by a warm meal and schnapps is an excellent way to celebrate winter (kale grows well in cooler climates). If you're not into sausage and schnapps, then you might try a healthy snack with vitamins A and C from the Linus Pauling Healthy Youth Program: Kale Chips. Pick a venue, pick a style, but pick some kale for a healthy snack, side dish, or main course meal.
c. 2013 - Live2AgeWell.com
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