Kale – it was popular even way back in ancient Roman

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Have you been introduced yet to kale? It has become the talk of the town. Some are calling it “the new beef”. The truth is that this vegetable has actually been around for quite some time. It has been popular way back from the times of ancient Rome. Well Veggy Malta is looking at this vegetable and understanding it’s benefits.

As a starter, don’t get confused because you first see an image then another. There are different varieties of kale, from the Curly, Tuscan, Redbor (purple) to Siberian (and there are others).

7 reasons in short why kale is good for you

  1. Low calorie, high fibre and zero fat.
  2. A vitamin powerhouse.
  3. High in iron and calcium.
  4. An anti-inflammatory food.
  5. A detox food
  6. Great for cardiovascular support
  7. Full of antioxidants

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Now the longer version.

Anti-inflammatory

Thanks to it’s ideal balance of omega-3 (good) and omega-6 (bad), it is considered as an anti-inflammatory food.  It is unlike most processed foods we eat which are overly rich in omega-6, which is linked to a never ending list of diseases from rheumatoid arthritis to cancer. It has a ratio of 1:1 between omega-3 and omega-6 (actually slightly more omega-3).

Antioxidant and detoxifier

It is rich in antioxidants including Vitamin C and beta-carotene, both antioxidant vitamins. Research shows that antioxidants counter the damage done on the body by free radicals. Furthermore kale contains alpha-lipoic acid, a known antioxidant. Studies have suggested the importance of this antioxidant. It also contains isothiocyanates which help detoxify the body.

Heart health

Kale is rich in fibre, vitamin C, vitamin B and potassium, all known to support heart health. Proper potassium intake is associated with reduced risk of stroke, reduction in the formation of kidney stones, conservation of bone material density, and helps against the loss of muscle mass. 128g/1 cup of cooked Kale provides 296 mg of potassium  and 128g/1 cup of fresh kale provides 79 mg of potassium.

Keeps the doctor away

It has nearly as much Vitamin C as an orange and double that of an apple. Apart from the immunity assistance, Vitamin C also helps the body produce collagen needed to maintain healthy skin.

May aid in weight loss

One of the things people look for when they are trying to lose weight are foods with low calorie values. The combination of high fire and water content in kale and 33 calories per 128g makes it an ideal diet food. Added with all that, it is rich in protein. This makes it a food with a low energy density.

Good for your bones

It is rich in calcium. 128g/1 cup of kale contains 90.5g of calcium, nearly 10% of your required daily intake. Calcium helps maintain bone mass, thus making bones less prone to fractures. Also kale is rich in Vitamin K which helps in the absorption of calcium.

Digestion

I don’t think one needs to explain why and how it’s high level of fibre and water help prevent constipation and regularity. Obviously also giving you a healthier digestive tract.

Serving suggestions

It can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled sautéed or added in soups and casseroles. This gives the product total versatility. Try it out in salads, side dishes, fried chips, soups and smoothies. Check out Veggy Malta our recipes section for kale recipes.  You can buy fresh Kale in Malta as well as organic kale. As in the case of other collard greens, you may also consider consuming organic and pesticide free kale.

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Author: Darryl Grima

Darryl Grima is Veggy Malta's Editor. He has been a vegetarian for over 31 years and recalls a time when Malta was not so vegetarian and vegan friendly. Apart from blogging on vegetarian matters, Darryl is also active in environmental and animal welfare organisations. He holds a Diploma in Political Studies and a Masters in Business Administration.

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