Kale is the new Spinach

by Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati on March 18, 2012

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Kale has risen to fame in the company of other dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard and collards. This group of plants gained their healthy reputation through the vitamins and special chemicals that they contain, which do everything from keeping your bones strong to reducing your risk of cancer.

Still the question remains: Why has kale’s recent surge in popularity begun to overshadow that of other dark-green leafy vegetables?

While it may be partially fad and partially flavor, in truth, kale’s calcium content alone could have won it a leading role at the dinner table. Thankfully for us though there are even more talents hidden in this tasty green, that make it well-deserving of the hype.

Kale: Nutritional Information
Health Benefits of Eating Kale

NB: Kale is also an easy and durable plant to grow!

Kale’s powerhouse nutritional profile makes it a star in three particular areas:

1. Antioxidants
2. Anti-inflammatory nutrients
3. Anti-cancer nutrients

Kale: Vitamins, minerals and healthy chemicals galore!

– Kale is an excellent source of beta carotene (which converts to vitamin A in the liver), vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin.

– Kale contains glucosinolates and their derived Isothiocyantes such as: indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane, phenethyl-isothiocyanate, benzyl-isothiocyanate and allyl-isothiocyanate (more on these later!).

– Kale also contains smaller amounts of omega-3, Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Thiamine (B1), Pantothenic acid (B5), Vitamin B6, Folate (B9), Vitamin E, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

– It is also an especially noteworthy source of calcium!

Here is a quick look at what some of these specific nutrients do:

1. Antioxidants

Zeaxanthin and lutein (both carotenoids):  Zeaxanthin and lutein are powerful antioxidants that protect against degenerative illnesses such as cancer, cardio-vascular disease and macular degeneration.

2. Anti-inflammatory

Vitamin K and Omega-3: Vitamin K and Omega-3 play key roles in reducing inflammation in the body by regulating the inflammatory processes.

3. Anti-Cancer

Glucosinolates:  Kale, along with the rest of the members of the Brassica family (such as cabbage and broccoli), contains a number of these anti-cancer chemicals. These groups of glucosinolates and their derived isothiocyantes block the growth of certain types of cancer cells, boost DNA repair and help cells to detox!

With accolades such as these, why wouldn’t kale have its own fan club?

So jump on the kale bandwagon and start enjoying it in your soups, salads, stir fries, smoothies and more today.

Watch out for my next post on six simple ways to enjoy kale, coming soon!

 

NB: If you’re a gardener, or simply interested in trying out your green thumb, check out my easy guide to growing kale!

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