Kale is a popular member of the cabbage (Brassica) family, with many health benefits. I still cannot decide whether I like kale more than collard greens. I cook with both and also like Swiss chard. I plant the three greens in my vegetable plot each summer and have enjoyed using them in many different recipes. Kale is a favorite ingredient in smoothies and juices for many people because of the important health benefits of kale. I plant both curly kale and lacinato kale (also known as dinosaur kale), and each summer, I harvest kale all through the growing season. They are quite easy to grow. As people are becoming more and more health conscious, kale is being used in a lot of different dishes. Besides juicing and smoothies, kale can be added to eggs for breakfast (!) and also to the usual meals for lunch and dinner, which is what people usually associate with kale. The healthy benefits of adding kale to your diet include obtaining vitamins A, C, K and B vitamins (thiamine, panthothenic acid and riboflavin). Important minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium and manganese can be found in kale. Potent phytonutrients contained in kale include the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin and glucosinolates. Kale provides important eye health benefits (1) and a recent study showed a benefit in glucose control (2). Healthy meals can be prepared with kale purchased from your local supermarket or from the Farmers market. I recently prepared kale to pair with sweet potatoes and added dried crayfish to the kale sautéed in olive oil with chopped onions and came up with very flavorful kale. For those wanting to add kale or other leafy greens to their diets but are unsure about interactions with medication, talk to your doctor. Let them know what you are planning to include in your diet so they can work with you to find out safe and healthy ways to increase vegetable intake.
- Kondo, S, Suzuki, A, Kurokawa, M and Hasumi, K (2016) Intake of kale suppresses postprandial increases in plasma glucose: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Biochemical Reports, 5 (5):553-558