This post is part of a new series for Bekah’s Bites. We will be sharing nutrition tips about colorful fruits and vegetables. Think about rainbow colors when you choose your produce because those bright shades not only mean better flavor, it means they contain healthy nutrients.
Any way you want to cook or eat kale, this vegetable packs a punch of nutrition. In recent years, kale has been at the center of a great PR campaign but as it turns out, it popularity isn’t a recent thing. During World War II, this vegetable was a recommended plant for Victory Gardens since it provided nutrients that the American diet was missing due to rationing.
Kale is a cousin of wild cabbage and this vegetable was the most common green leafy in Europe. However, kale’s origins go back to Ancient Greece where the forest green veggie was flat-leaved, not its curly, darker counterpart seen today. Trade with Russia in the 19th century brought kale to North America and it became popular because it could be grown well into winter.
Some very important vitamins and minerals are packed into the 33 calories in one cup of kale such as Vitamins A, K, C and calcium. This dark green leafy has become well known for reducing inflammation and is full of antioxidants, all leading to lowering cancer risk. Fiber and protein can also be listed among this green vegetable’s good qualities. Other nutritional benefits are:
- Improves and protects eye site
- Reduces cholesterol
- Aids in digestion of fats
- Helps with weight loss
Kale may still have a good public relations team now but it will be on the top of everyone’s healthy shopping list for a long while. Check out the delicious, and nutritious, Easy Friday Lunch including this week’s most popular super food vegetable.
You’ve bought one of the healthiest greens available! Now to make the best of it, use these four great tips to make kale taste its best: 1) wash just prior to cooking to keep it fresh longer, 2) remove the thick stems in the middle by holding the stem and removing leaves, 3) blanch the greens to reduce bitterness and 4) slow cook (or braise) kale in water or broth to tenderize the leaves.