All hail Kale! All hail Kale!
This amazingly wonderful and super-handsome green has really been trendy lately. And I’m okay with that. It’s prettier and healthier than deep-fried-everything.
So why all the fuss? Well. Kale has a number of health benefits, besides being absolutely packed with nutrients.
One of these benefits is as an anti-inflammatory. A 100g serving of raw kale has about 180mg of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help the body to produce more anti-inflammatory prostaglandins which are then used to (you guessed it) reduce inflammation.
Another oft-cited wonder of kale is its content of iron. Calorie per calorie, kale has more iron than beef, which also leads in to its sustainability. Per calorie, it takes nearly 11 times more fossil fuel to raise beef than it does to grow crops. Per pound of meat, 13 pounds of grain and more than 2400 gallons of water are used. That’s a lot of resources to feed something for 2 years just so it can feed us. Kale reaches maturity in a matter of weeks, and feeds on sunlight and rain.
Kale is also high in calcium, containing more easily-absorbable calcium per calorie than cow’s milk. And let’s not forget fiber, of which animal sources of protein contain approximately zilch. Fiber keeps you “regular” as my grandma would say, and helps lower your risk of heart disease. This green beauty also contains 8% DV of magnesium in a 100g serving, helping your body absorb calcium as well as improving nerve and muscle function.
Since it’s Flu and General Ick Season, lets not forget about its contributions to our immunity. That same 100g of kale contains 308% of your vitamin A, 200% vitamin C, as well as flavonoid and carotenoid antioxidants which help boost your immune system and keep you healthy and sassy!
Most people are deficient in vitamin K, so it’s worth noting that kale has a whopping amount — like, 1021% per 100g. Let’s say that together: “One thousand twenty-one percent”. Do we need to stop for a moment while you run to your neighborhood grocery to stock your produce bin with kale? It’s okay. I’ll wait right here…
So what’s with vitamin K? Deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and prostate, lung, and liver cancers as well as leukemia. Its link to brain health problems such as dementia is also being studied. There are actually two types of vitamin K: K1 and K2. How creative. The ridiculous amounts of vitamin K in kale are type K1. Type K2 is further divided into 2 sub-types, but we won’t get in to those. If you want a reliable dietary source of K2, you’ll have to choke down some natto.
In the meantime, why not slurp your kale in smoothie form?
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, nor do I have training in nutrition. Seek advice from a health professional before beginning any diet, or to diagnose health problems.
• Mercola. “This Could Be Even BIGGER than the Vitamin D Discovery…”. Mercola.com. Retrieved January 6, 2013, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/08/26/this-could-be-even-bigger-than-the-vitamin-d-discovery.aspx
• Nutrition Data. “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Kale, raw”. NutritionData.com. Retrieved January 6, 2013, from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2
• PETA. “Meat Production Wastes Natural Resources”. PETA.org. Retrieved January 6, 2013, from http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/meat-wastes-natural-resources.aspx
• Zelman, Kathleen M. “The Truth About Kale”. WebMD.com. Retrieved January 6, 2013, from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-kale