The Case for Kale
Often described as grainy, bitter, and even unpleasant, Kale is one of the most under-rated leafy greens you can come across. As one of the most nutrient dense foods you can find, in one cup you will find Vitamins A, K, C, B1, B2, B3, B6, Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, and Magnesium, all with very little fat which comes in large part from an omega-3 fatty acid (SELFNutritionData). A word that often gets tossed around with kale is Superfood (Time Health). This designation reflects that kale has more iron per oz. than steak as well as around 700% of your daily vitamin K. Another type of nutrient that packs a punch are the antioxidants that it contains; helpful molecules that counteract oxidative free radicals that the body produces naturally. Antioxidants are lacking in a more processed food diet as they are abundant in many raw fruits and vegetables. Because it contains over 200% of your daily vitamin A and nearly 150% of your daily vitamin C, along with the antioxidants, many people will claim that regular kale consumption can help to lessen the likelihood of contracting a cold come cold season. Some experts warn that many of the nutrients contained in kale can be difficult for the body to digest and suggest that it be paired with a fat to aid in metabolism so as to not waste its health benefits (Julia Mueller, Let Them Eat Kale!).
All of that is great but many of us still can’t get past the fact that it can be grainy, bitter, and unpleasant, so here are some ways to make it work:
- Mix it up: there are many different varieties of kale that can grow at different times of year, each with its own taste, texture, and use. If you’ve maybe only tried it once, head over to a farmer’s market and try some in season, local varieties and talk with your local farmer about it! Also, don’t forget to try out baby kale, which can be more similar to arugula in texture and flavor.
- Pair it with a strong but mellow flavor: you may not think it will work at first but kale pairs especially well with fruits such as mango, apple, and blueberry. Try throwing a few leafs into a morning smoothie and you will be surprised at how well the flavor can be masked!
- Bacon makes everything better: first blanch the kale which will help to change the texture and then try sautéing it with pieces of bacon, the fat and salt will balance out the bitterness and sautéing will mellow it out.
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