One of the healthiest vegetables on the planet, kale is a lean, green, nutritional machine – and smart moms have long known the numerous benefits of this superfood even as the rest of society seems to be playing catch-up.
Take these examples:
- Starbucks has been rolling out a new smoothie menu in more than 4,000 of its stores on the West Coast. Made-to-order flavors include Sweet Greens, Strawberry and Mango Carrot, “with the option to add fresh kale upon request,” the company said in a recent statement.
- McDonald’s has announced that nine of its southern California restaurants are offering kale-infused breakfast bowls. One of these $4 offerings contains turkey sausage, egg white, kale and spinach; the other features chorizo and egg.
- Green smoothies are practically ubiquitous now in juice bars, corner stores and restaurants of all sizes and stripes, as they feature the green leafy vegetable in numerous selections.
“Pound for pound, kale is one of the most nutrient-dense greens on the planet,” said New York-based health and wellness expert Randi Luckman. “Aside from protein, kale is loaded with calcium to make your bones stronger and antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and cancer-fighting compounds called glucosinolates.
“Kale is available all year and it’s great for salads,” she said. “When you just want a hearty green salad, mash an avocado into kale, sprinkle on some lemon juice, and have a quick meal or snack.”
Per cooked cup, kale contains just 36 calories. That serving provides us with over 1,300 percent of our vitamin K needs and over 94 mg of calcium. It provides 350 percent of our vitamin A needs, is a superb source of vitamin C and manganese, and is a good source of fiber and copper.
Kale strengthens our immune system; it is great for our heart health; and it lowers our cholesterol.
Kale is also a top source of eye-healthy carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. A recent study found that older women who eat kale or collard greens at least once a month lowered their odds of developing glaucoma by nearly 70 percent.
Other benefits of this cruciferous giant, whose cup clearly runneth over: It strengthens our immune system; it is great for our heart health; it lowers cholesterol; and it’s great for our sleep.
All told, the term superfood barely seems an adequate label for this powerhouse vegetable.
Here’s a great storage tip for kale, courtesy of the Orlando Moms’ Blog: If you buy it fresh by the bunch, kale will last longer in your fridge if you chop the stems at the bottom, fill a large mason jar with fresh water and store it that way.