Kale is an awesome vegetable, there’s no denying.
It’s still enjoying the limelight as a so-called superfood ever since it exploded onto the market in the mid-2000s. Before that, no one was really eating it much.
I was first turned on to kale during my clinical internship, almost 20 years ago. I avoided it because as a rule, I hated cooked leafy greens, as in cooked spinach, etc. Yuck. But my friend’s boyfriend told me how he would simply prepare sauteed kale, I gave it a try and loved it.
Kale chip recipes were still 10+ years into the future 🙂
Cruciferous veggies are a diverse group that includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collards, watercress, and radishes.
FUN FACT: The name “cruciferous” is an informal classification for members of the mustard family and comes from the Latin Cruciferae meaning “cross-bearing,” because the four petals resemble a cross.
As a crucifer, kale is part of a group of vegetables with the most potent anti-cancer properties. Crucifers, including kale, are unique in that they contain sources of sulfur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates.
Chopping or chewing raw or lightly cooked cruciferous vegetables results in the formation of active glucosinate byproducts such as isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol.
These compounds are responsible for the anti-cancer properties attributed to this group of vegetables. Those compounds also stimulate your liver’s natural detoxification processes.
Kale is low in calories but high in nutrition. One cup of chopped kale has:
- 33 calories
- 1.3 g fiber
- 80 mg vitamin C
- 547 mcg of vitamin K1
- 20 mcg folate
- 91 mg calcium
- 23 mg magnesium
- 300 mg potassium
- 30 mcg of beta carotene
- 6.5 mg lutein & zeaxanthin
Kale is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin as well; two carotenoids that have been shown to reduce the risk for macular degeneration, cataracts, cognitive decline (dementia), and provide protection for your skin against UV radiation.
It’s recommended to get between a daily average of 6-10 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin; one-cup of cooked kale has over 20 mg combined.
Kale chips are an out-of-the-ordinary way to enjoy some veggies while getting some of that mouth-satisfying crunch that many love. They make a great snack or as an add-on to any lunch or dinner.
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- spices as desired - common options are curry powder chili powder, turmeric, or even a little Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 175C or 350F [some prefer lower temperatures to reduce the risk of burning, be sure to keep an eye on them]. Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner.
- Drizzle kale with olive oil and toss; sprinkle with seasoning salt and any spices you prefer
- Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.