My friend Natalie texted me this morning to wish me a “Happy National Kale Day.”
She’s super thoughtful and was actually the person who got me an awesome Eat More Kale shirt last year for my birthday. I was so excited that I had to make a short video dedicated to today’s vegetable of honor!
In addition to posting that video on my Facebook page today about why kale is so awesome and some tricks for how to make it taste good and NOT bitter, I thought I’d whip up a quick blog post 🙂
Kale is related to some of my other favorite veggies, including cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts! It scores 1,000 on the ANDI scale, which measures the nutrient density of a food. In English, that means it packs in a TON of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals essential for our health, growth and development).
The more nutrient-dense our diet is, the better off we will be!
Kale is loaded with antioxidants that protect our body (inside and outside!) from damage caused by things like stress, poor diet, lack of activity and smoking.
This leafy green also contains isothiocyanates (say “eye-so-thio-CY-a-nates”) more simply known as ITCs. These compounds have strong cancer-preventive properties. Not only that, but kale contains over 45 flavonoids, a type of phytonutrient (FIGHT-o-nutrient) that protects plants from disease as they are growing. Flavonoids protect our bodies as well AND are give plants their colorful pigments.
Kale is full of micronutrients like beta carotene, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Vitamin K is an important nutrient involved in blood clotting and one cup of kale contains 7 times the RDA for vitamin K.
You may have heard people express concerns about eating too many leafy greens if they are on blood thinners. In fact, the well-known anticoagulant drug Warfarin (Coumadin) works by blocking the function of vitamin K, which is why anyone taking those medications should talk to their doctor about any dietary changes like significantly upping their intake of vitamin-K containing foods.
When there are ways to naturally support our body rather than using medication, I’m all for it!
Kale is anti-inflammatory and detoxifying, so it helps us calm the fires inside of our body and get rid of toxins that can build up as a result of how we live, including how we eat. Dr. Mark Hyman, Director of the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, writes and speaks about how inflammation and toxicity are two of the reasons we are sick, develop disease and have trouble losing weight. Check out his video about it here.
If you want to learn even more about the awesome benefits of kale, check out this post by Authority Nutrition about the 10 Proven Benefits of Kale.
Oh, and if you want to be entertained, make sure you check out my National Kale Day tribute video on Facebook!
In the meantime, here are some recipes to try (and check out others on the National Kale Day website):
- “Taste the Rainbow” Super Food Kale Salad (my signature salad that gets RAVE reviews!)
- Upgraded Kale Waldorf Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea and Sundried Tomato Kale Salad
- Mini Kale & Mushroom Breakfast Frittatas
- Peachy Keen Kale Salad
- White Bean & Fennel Soup
- Caribbean Island Breeze Smoothie
- The Recipe that Will Make You Fall In Love with Kale All Over Again from MindBodyGreen
- Lentil & Carrot Salad with Kale from Serious Eats
- Bobby Flay’s Sauteed Kale from Food Network