Chances are you saw this dark green thing used as a decoration on salad bars. It’s called kale, and it was probably the most nutritious thing on some of those old salad bars. Unfortunately, this leaf cabbage was used for no more than a few days and then thrown away.
Nowadays, many salads, smoothies and side dishes contain kale cabbage, due to the important health benefits provided by the plant.
Kale contains a lot of essential vitamins, such A, C and K, and is also a great source of calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. On the contrary, sodium levels contained in kale are quite low.
In addition, kale cabbage is a low-calorie food with just 49 calories per a 100-gram serving. One full cup of chopped raw kale will contain only 34 calories, as well as a little more than a gram of fiber.
What is more – kale is significantly rich in phytochemicals, such as lutein and zeaxanthin that are associated with vitamin A. These phytochemicals can reduce the risk of cataract development or macular degeneration. In addition, lutein has been found to contribute to preventing atherosclerosis.
Cruciferous vegetables like kale also contain substances known as glucosinolates that are potentially beneficial for your health.
There are research studies suggesting that cruciferous vegetables may have some cancer-preventing properties, even though the hypothesis has not been officially proved. In fact, it is quite hard to say whether some foods may actually help to prevent, or cause, cancer and other serious conditions. The reason is a large number of possible confounding factors. For instance, it is very unlikely that you eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables but apart from that, your diet is not that healthy. Health-consciousness in general helps to maintain your body healthy and full of energy, as well as prevent many diseases.
The theory of cancer-preventing properties of cruciferous vegetables, however, may be supported by laboratory studies. When cruciferous vegetables are cooked or chewed, they release substances called glucoraphanin and myrosinase. An anti-cancer compound sulforaphane is synthesized from these two substances.
Sulforaphane helps to detoxify carcinogens that cause cancer in your body and enhance the activity of antioxidants, which may decrease the risks of developing some cancers. According to lab studies, this compound may also directly affect the cancer cells themselves.
How to Choose and Prepare Kale Cabbage?
Kale cabbage can be easily found in the produce section of the grocery stores. The plant looks like a dark green crispy bunch of leaves and its smell is similar to that of broccoli or cabbage. Kale should be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container, or frozen.
You can eat this plant raw (in salads or smoothies) or cook it in order to reduce its bitterness and makes its leaves softer. Before eating or cooking kale, you have to rinse it and removes the stems. You can chop, boil or stem the plant, as well as use it in soups or stew. Moreover, dehydrated or baked kale chips are a great nutritious and low-calorie snack.