Why Is Kale So Popular? The answers are not that complicated and yet they may surprise you. After all, kale is a pretty humble plant. Though it can be brilliantly green in color, it is not one of the sexiest of foods. As an example, what do you do with a big pile of tough green leaves when spinach is sold in the same aisle?
The good news is that you can do a surprisingly long list of prep tactics on this food, and even better is the news that anything you do with it means your health is improved by eating it!
Let’s first look at the benefits of kale and then we’ll explore the reasons that so many people are opting for it as their ideal food.
The Health Benefits of Kale
Low in calories (only 33 per cup) it can become a negative calorie food when prepared in certain ways. For example, kale chips require more energy from the body to digest them than they deliver in total calories. While that may seem counterproductive, you should know that even the non-caloric snack is going to pack an impressive amount of nutrition.
A cup of kale gives you around 9% of your daily need in calcium, around 135% of your vitamin C, roughly 200% of your Vitamin A and an overwhelmingly high 650+ percent of your vitamin K. It is high in trace minerals that can be tough to come by as well and will give you a lot of iron, copper, manganese, potassium and phosphorous with every serving.
Let us not overlook the fact that it is also one of the most popular of the health promoting compounds. It is loaded with flavonoid and carotenoids that ensure your cells can perform well and fight off malfunction. This, when partnered with that high vitamin K content makes kale one of the world’s best natural health promoting foods.
Of course, we should go back to that earlier comment about kale as a bright green food. Now, we all understand that the healthiest plates are those that are full of the colors of the rainbow and that can actually be pretty challenging during the winter months. Few of us remain unaware of the need to eat “in season” rather than buying foods that have been grown far away and shipped (unripened) many kilometers.
Kale is one of the only fresh greens that can take cold temperatures. It actually thrives in the cool weather months (whether as the flat or curly leafed type) and is something that can be obtained all year long in peak condition.
This tells us that kale is a remarkable food. It has fibre, tons of nutrition and is available as a fresh and affordable food all year long. It is also incredibly tasty and can be used in a diversity of ways.
Now that you know why kale is so healthy, and why so many people advocate for it to be included in the regular diet, let’s take a look at some ways to add that beneficial cup of kale to the daily diet:
- Chop it fine and add it to sauces, soups, pasta dishes, casseroles, omelets, or use it as a topping on pizza
- Create hearty winter salads with chopped kale, walnuts, blue cheese, and dried fruit
- Toss diced kale with freshly cooked pasta, add fresh chopped garlic and some olive oil
- Make chips by tearing leaves into bite sized portions, tossing with a coating of olive oil and some sea salt and baking until crisp in a 350 degree oven
Fat free, high in nutrients, filling and incredibly tasty, kale is a great food source.
If you have questions about how to add kale to your diet, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a dietitian.
Zelman, Kathleen M.D. “The Truth About Kale.” WebMD.