Kale Recipes and Health Benefits
Last night I made my favourite kale salad recipe and thought I should share it with you. I used the very popular dinosaur kale, also known as the black cabbage, to prepare my salad. This is an exciting leafy green that has varieties [different types of kale leaves] and provides us with a lot of nutrition. You must get organic and fresh kale. Kale grows well into winter, therefore easy to find in Canada.
Preparing kale for optimal health benefits:
Kale belongs to the Cruciferous or Brassica family. When eaten raw cruciferous vegetables are known to suppress thyroid function for those who are suffering from low thyroid function, mainly because they contain goitrogens. Goitrogens interfere with iodine uptake and, in that way, also interfere with production of thyroid hormones. However if you steam the kale you can negate this affect. Contrary to popular belief cruciferous vegetables are not “goitrogenic” food that will cause goitor just because you eat them. In fact if you are a healthy person it will not interfere with your thyroid function.
Another reason to steam or cook kale is that it can provide cholesterol lowering benefits. The fiber related components in kale bind together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they are steamed. When this binding process takes place, it is easier for the bile acids to be excreted which then results in lowering cholesterol.
Losing the Parasite:
Leafy greens before they are picked are – perfect breeding ground for a microscopic parasite to lay eggs. Make sure when you are eating raw kale it is thoroughly cleaned and washed to remove any pathogens that may still be there. Lightly steaming may help lose the parasite. I add lots of lemon or lime juice and garlic to my raw kale to negate this factor.
Research is now showing that kale can lower the risk of five different types of cancer – bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits. The ITCs can also help detox our body at a genetic level.
Nutritional affect of Kale:
According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman [author of Eat Right America], kale scores highest [along with collard greens and few others] in his nutrient dense food chart.
Kale contains high amount of Vitamin K and A. It also contains significant amount of Vitamin C, beta carotene and manganese.
Flavonoids are naturally occurring plant pigments that make fruits and vegetables beneficial for our health. They have antioxidants, anti-histamine, anti-microbial, memory and mood enhancing properties. Kale also provides us with at least 45 different flavonoids, including kaempferol and quercetin. Many of the flavonoids in kale are also now known to have anti-inflammatory compounds.
Building block of Omega 3:
Kale also provides us with a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the basic building block for all omega-3 fats. Omega 3 is known to reduce inflammation.
Kale contains both soluble and insoluble fiber that is crucial for our colon health.
Dino Kale Salad:
1 bunch organic dinosaur kale
½ garlic clove
¼ tsp. of sea salt
2-3 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ an avocado
½ a tomato
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
Pinch of red chili flakes
Black pepper to taste
• Cut off the stems [1/4 inch from the end] and chop kale leaves roughly. Put the leaves in a salad bowl.
• In another small bowl mix olive oil, garlic, red chili flakes and shallots.
• Squeeze half a lemon to get the juice and pour it on the kale leaves.
• Massage the juice on the leaves and let it sit for 5 minutes.
• Chop avocado and tomato.
• Add the avocado and tomato to the kale leaves and mix well.
• Pour in the olive oil mixture, salt and pepper to the salad bowl.
• You can enjoy this leafy green salad on it’s own or with a main. It is a plate cleanser!
Miso and Curly Kale Soup:
5 kale leaves, thinly sliced or chiffonade
4 -5 cups of water
2 tbsp. of dark miso (and a cup of water)
5-6 shiitake mushroom, sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tsp. of cumin powder
1 tbsp. of coconut oil or ghee
1/4 cup organic tofu, cubed (optional)
• In a bowl add miso paste and a cup of water to make a thin paste of miso.
• In a pot add coconut oil/ghee, ginger and shallots. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
• Pour in the rest of the water and bring to boil.
• Lower the heat after it starts to boil. Pour in the miso paste into the soup pot and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
• Add shiitake mushroom, kale and cumin powder in to the pot.
• Bring to a boil once more and lower heat to simmer the soup for 2 minutes.
• Add the scallions at the end.
Note: You can add tofu, tempeh or seaweed to this recipe.