Kale has quickly become something of a superstar in the health food world. And it’s not just a buzzword. Not only is kale packed with vitamins and minerals, but there are other nutritional benefits to eating it as well. In fact, research shows that kale can help fight cardiovascular disease, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and even some types of cancer. Moreover, kale is rich in vitamin K, and recent research suggests that women who eat diets rich in vitamin K benefit from healthier bones and are less susceptible to hip fractures. So let’s talk about some of the health benefits of kale and why it makes a great addition to any woman’s diet.
Calories, Fibre, and Fat
No fat, low in calories, and high in fiber – it’s no wonder kale is an increasingly popular vegetable in recipes. One cup of kale contains only 36 calories, 0 fat, and a whopping 5 grams of fiber. It can even help with digestion and provides a variety of nutrients including folate and magnesium.
Get Your Iron
Pregnant women and vegetarians benefit tremendously from kale. The recommended iron intake for women aged 18-49 is 18 mg/day, while pregnant women should aim for 27 mg/day. More importantly, if you’re getting iron from vegetarian sources, kale will become your best friend. Kale actually contains more iron than beef, which is very important for vegans and vegetarians because iron promotes healthy hemoglobin formation (and oxygen transportation) as well as liver function and cell growth.
As we’ve already discussed, kale is high in vitamin K. Getting lots of vitamin K can help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that is four times more likely to affect women than men. It’s also rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, which aid your vision, skin, immune system, metabolism, and hydration.
Cooking With Kale
Kale is a unique and diverse vegetable so it’s a great addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here are a few quick tips to make cooking with kale easy and tasty:
1. Washing: Avoid washing kale until just before you cook with it and it will stay fresh longer.
2. Cutting: Remove any thick stems first; hold the kale by the stems and pull the leaves up. Stack the leaves, roll them, and chop them to your preferred width. The remaining stems can be added to soups, stews, and casseroles.
3. Blanching: First boil your kale for just a minute or two. Then drain and then soak in cold water. Blanching removes some of the bitterness from kale, while also making it softer. You can even freeze blanched kale for later use.
4. Braising: Using half to a three quarters of a cup of seasoned cooking liquid (chicken/vegetable stock, or even wine ~ am I right ladies?), slowly cook 1 pound of kale greens on a low temperature for about 20 minutes until the greens are tender and ready to eat.
You can change the quality of your health through the foods you eat. A diet rich in kale will boost your immune system, elevate your iron levels, build stronger bones, improve your vision, enhance the appearance of your skin, and fight off illnesses like asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. So what are you waiting for? Head to your local market and get your kale fix.