Kale – Health Benefits and a Great Recipe!

Kale leaf

Lacinato or "Dinosaur" Kale is the preferred variety in our household.

Kale is very popular in our house.  We eat a big bowl of kale salad at least two times a week.

Kale is quite literally one of the most nutritious things you can eat.  According to http://www.nutrition-and-you.com:

  • “Versatile, sweet Kale is widely recognized as an incredibly nutritious vegetable for its low fat, no cholesterol and powerful anti-oxidant properties.
  • Kale, like other members of the brassica family, contains health promoting phytochemicals, sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol that are appears to protect against prostate and colon cancers.
  • Di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol has been found to be an effective immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent through its action of potentiating “Interferon-Gamma” receptors.
  • Borecole is very rich source of ß-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. These flavonoids have strong anti-oxidant and anti-cancer activities. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body.
  • Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions. Thus, it helps prevent retinal detachment and offers protection against “age related macular degeneration disease” (ARMD) in the elderly.
  • It is very rich in vitamin A, 100 g leaves provide 512% of RDA. Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is also essential for vision. Foods rich in this vitamin offer protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • It is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K; 100 g provides about 700% of recommended intake. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet helps limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • This leafy vegetable is notably good in many B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, vit.B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic acid, etc that are essential for substrate metabolism in the body.
  • It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Iron is required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation.

Kale provides rich nutrition ingredients that offer protection from vitamin A deficiency, osteoporosis, iron deficiency anaemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and, colon and prostate cancers.”

This is great news for any vegans or raw vegans who are concerned with their iron or calcium levels.  Kale, like most dark leafy greens, contains an abundance  of easily absorbable iron and calcium.

We use raw tahini in a lot of our dressings and other recipes for the same reason: high calcium and high iron content.

Until recently, I always cut the stems out of the kale leaves, because I thought my children preferred the salad that way. One day, however, I was in a rush and chopped up the kale, stems and all, and they still devoured it!

Here is one of my kid’s favorite kale salad recipes:

 

Kale Salad – A bowl full of vitamins!

 

Ingredients:

(These are approximations, you can change the ratio of tahini, honey, and vinegar depending on whether you like a sweeter/more sour/creamier dressing).

Kale (we use 3-4 bunches per 7 people)

1/4 cup Hemp seeds (optional)

Dressing:

3 heaping spoonfuls of Raw Tahini  (or other nut or seed butter)

1/4 cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

 

Chop the Kale into small strips and place into a bowl.

Chopped Kale

 

Add hemp seeds (optional)

Hemp seeds

Put Tahini, honey, and vinegar into a jar.

Tahini Honey Vinegar dressing

 

Mix thoroughly with a spoon.

 

Yarrow stirring dressing

Yarrow, age 3

 

Pour dressing mixture over salad.

Yarrow pours dressing

 

Mix thoroughly.

 

Make sure each piece is coated with the dressing.

kale salad

 

Serve, and enjoy!

 

kids eating kale

Shale,10, Yarrow, 3, Jome, 13

Just one small serving of this salad contains over 1/3 of your child’s daily vitamin and mineral needs:

real kale salad nutrition

And check out that protein content!

 

In Joy,

Jinjee

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