I really don’t know why. Probably because there is already so much literature on kale (and its health benefits) that I reckoned another post would just be redundant.
Just take a look around on the web: there are entire websites and blogs completely dedicated to kale. Chefs have created entire meals with kale: from the appetizer to the dessert.
Women around the web that have sworn love to kale forever, promising that they will never ever leave it.
With all this fuzz around, what could I possibly bring more to the kale’s table?
Probably nothing, but I’m still going to write a post about kale.
The Romans said back in the days: “Repetita iuvant” (i.e., repeating does good), and I’m gonna honor that saying today by talking about kale. Hearing about the amazing properties of this veggie one more time can do only good.
We all know what kale is, don’t we?
Kale is a form of cabbage, with green or purple leaves. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms. There are many varieties of kale; the most famous being Curly kale (the one in the picture above), but also Tuscan (or Black) kale is pretty popular, as well as Lacinato kale, Premier kale, Redbor kale, and Siberian kale.
The richest veggie in antioxidants
Kale is a powerhouse when it comes to antioxidants content. In 1996, a research conducted by researchers at Tufts University, and at the University of Connecticut reported the antioxidant activities of 22 common vegetables (measured using the automated oxygen radical absorbance capacity assay with three different reactive species).
Based on the fresh weight of the vegetable (besides garlic) kale had the highest antioxidant (17.7), followed by spinach (12.6), Brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli flowers, beets, red bell pepper, onion, corn, eggplant, cauliflower, potato, sweet potato, cabbage, leaf lettuce, string bean, carrot, yellow squash, iceberg lettuce, celery, and cucumber.
Among antioxidants, kale is very rich in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and sulforaphane.
Rich in calcium
When talking about calcium, the mind travels immediately to dairy (milk in particular); but it shouldn’t, or at least not so fast though, as kale is very rich in calcium, and, moreover, its absorbability by the human body is one of the highest around.
In one study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, calcium absorption from kale was measured in 11 normal women, and compared in these same subjects with absorption of calcium labeled from milk. The researchers found somewhat higher absorbability
for kale relative to milk (even if the difference is relatively small), proving that kale can be considered to be at least as good as milk in terms of calcium absorbability.
Another study, published in the Journal of Food Science, reached similar outcomes, finding that kale exhibit excellent calcium bioavailability.
Full of magnesium
In a study conducted at the prestigious University of Cambridge in England, researchers found that even though kale has lower magnesium content - if compared to other green leafy veggies such as spinach - it's much more available to the human body for absorption (in other words, it's absorbed much more efficiently).
Even if many do not know it; magnesium is vital for our health, as it is necessary in over 300 chemical reactions in the human body.
Amino acid profile
In 2007, a study conducted at the University of Krakow (Poland), and published in the Food Chemistry Journal, looked in-depth at the amino acids profile of kale (both fresh and frozen).
The researchers found out that both fresh and processed leaves of kale were a good source of amino acids. In all the samples examined, glutamic acid, proline and aspartic acid were the dominant, while lysine and leucine were the limiting amino acids. Cooked leaves contained 78% of the total amino acid content found in fresh leaves, while the traditional and modified frozen products contained 76% and 78%, respectively. The proportion of essential amino acids in total amino acids was 44% and 43%, respectively for fresh and cooked leaves and 46% for the frozen products.
Here’s a snapshot on the nutrition facts of kale, just in case I’ve missed something along the way...
As you might notice, kale is very low in calories, almost fat free but is a powerhouse when it comes to vitamins, and nutrients in general.
So it should come as no surprise at all the popularity that this veggie has gained lately!
Kale is very easy to grow in your garden
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you might want to give growing kale a try. It’s a relentless vegetable that grows into all climate conditions: doesn’t suffer cold or hot temperatures, you just need to water it constantly.
Last August I bought some seeds of curly kale, planted them in a pot (with no hope whatsoever of seeing anything popping out, as I’m a well-known plants killer!), and after just one week it sprouted marvellously. Today I have amazing baby kale plants that are on their way of becoming ravishing big plants (look at the picture below).
So if you want to give it a try in your garden, I strongly recommend you do so!
I didn’t wanted to write another post on the health benefits of kale, but ended up doing so anyway.
Truth is, every time you dig into kale you find always new, and exciting things about it. So yes, this is nothing but another post on the health benefits of kale, but it is still so worth it!
The Iron You