Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How Healthy Is Kale Really?

Kale is the “it” food  of the year– and for good reason.  A single one cup serving of kale has just 36 calories yet delivers a payload of  5 grams of fiber, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, 45 different antioxidants and 10x the RDA of vitamin K. I think that kale can legitimately  call itself  the ‘beauty green ‘ since it offers so much fiber and vitamin C,   the two nutrients linked  to lower  levels of wrinkles in the landmark NHANES study.
But wait there is more.  Kale, a cruciferous veggie like  cauliflower and broccoli,  also contains sulfur compounds that are linked to reduced  risk of  lung, breast, colon, bladder  and prostate cancer.   There is even some evidence that these  sulfur componds,  called glucosinolates, inhibit the spread of cancer cells.  For  example  one study showed that non-smokers  who  ate cruciferous vegetables  have more than a 70% lower risk of bladder cancer.

The Dark Side of Kale

With all of these benefits, it is startling  to learn  of potetial  health problems of kale. Cruciferous vegetables including kale, brussels sprouts  and cabbage contain goitrogens  which  can interfere with thyroid gland activity.  If you have existing thyroid problems, kale can cause  an increase in symptoms.
Two other common medical problems can  pose problems to a kale  lover. If you take the blood thinner warfarin  it can alter vitamin K levels and kale is already high in  this blood thinning vitamin.  Finally kale also contains oxalates which can be a problem if you have a history of kidney stones. That’s the bad news.  The good news?   The potential problems  with kale  can be controlled if the kale is cooked such as sauteed or steamed.  Rather than using  kale in salads and smoothies, get your nutrition packed kale  in stir -fry combos or filling   soups.  My new favorite way to eat to eat  kale is saute that can be  easily turned into an incredible soup or  this recipe below It even contains  protein packed chickpeas! I first  had it last year at a little tapas place in Old Town Madrid. In January  I was thrilled  to see a recipe for it in the New York  Times and it became my go-to  dish all winter.

Kale Saute with Chorizos and Chickpea ( adaped from New York Times)

Ingredients:  one can  of chickpeas,  large onion, chopped, 2 tablespoons Spanish olive oil,  4 ounces of chorizo, chopped, one clove of garlic, chopped, 1/4 teaspoon of smoked Spanish pimento,  1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, one pound of Tuscan kale, slivered into thin strips, 1/2  cup chicken broth or water.
Directions:  Heat olive oil in  a large  skillet.   Add onions and cook until golden.  Add chorizos and cook for two minutes, then add  paprika, cumin and garlic.  Sitr ingredients together and then add  chickpeas ( Don’t let the garlic brown or it will turn bitter).   Add   broth and water, cover and cook for 5-10  minutes  until the greens are  tender.
You can serve it over brown rice or  quinona or turn it into a soup.  Just ladle the kale into a soup bowl and pour on rich homemade beef or chicken broth.  Now that its too hot for a steaming bow of soup, I  pile the kale and chorizos  on a crisp crostini for a quick lunch or  serve  these bits  with a cold  soup for a perfect hot weather dinner.

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I’m a professional Esthetician specializing in treating Acne and I’m also a Beauty Advisor during the day. I’m passionate in helping others have beautiful skin. But at night I am whipping up decadent desserts, amazing pies, and delicious, healthy meals. Cooking for me is an expression of my creative side and I enjoy making meals for friends, family and co workers. 

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