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The Lake News Online
  • Nutrition column: Go ahead, go crazy for kale

  • Kale is one of the newest food trends. Grocery stores and restaurants have jumped on the kale bandwagon and for good reason.
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  • Kale is one of the newest food trends. Grocery stores and restaurants have jumped on the kale bandwagon and for good reason.
    Kale is related to broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. Kale, as other greens, is high in vitamin K. It also contains beta carotene, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, calcium, and some iron and magnesium.
    Kale is full of nutrients. One cup of cooked kale has:
    35 calories,
    50 mg of vitamin C (about 80% of the Daily Value),
    100 mg of calcium (10% of the Daily Value),
    2.5 grams of fiber ,
    30 mg of sodium (1% of the Daily Value),
    329 mg of potassium (9% of the Daily Value),
    Over 100% of the Daily Value for vitamin K,
    100% of the Daily Value for vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene),
    And is a good source of many antioxidants that boost health.
    Kale is a good vegetable to add into your meals, but not everything made with kale is healthy.
    Kale chips, kale crackers, and other foods that have kale added to them may not have similar nutrients as plain kale, so read the nutrition label to be sure. Many may have little or no vitamins, minerals, or fiber, plus added sodium, calories, or fat.
    Fresh kale is mostly available year-round. Frozen kale is also an option.
    Raw kale is edible, but may be too bitter for some. Kale can be lightly steamed, sautéed, added to soups or stews, or marinated in dressing or olive oil.
    You can make your own kale chips for less expense and a healthier option than buying kale chips at the store. Wash, dry, remove any thick stems, and tear into large pieces. Toss or spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt or other seasonings, coating evenly. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes.
    Kale (like spinach) can be added to smoothies. When added to a smoothie with fruits and/or fruit juice, you cannot taste the kale. There are many kale smoothie recipes available online.
    One caution with kale is for those who are taking blood thinners. This can be dangerous due to the high amount of vitamin K in kale, so speak to your physician before adding more kale to your diet.
    Next time you are at the store, purchase some of this superfood to try at home. Add it to a smoothie, make some kale chips, steam for a side dish, or add to a soup or stew.
    Melissa Bess is a Nutrition and Health Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension. Contact Melissa at the Camden County Extension Center at 573-346-2644 or bessmm@missouri.edu.

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