The answer is: Yes, of course! But more on that later. First, let’s review some historical facts.
Kale’s origin is very confusing. No one knows for sure where it came from. Kale can be called the emigrant from the cabbage world. No matter what country would give tribute to its taste and beneficial properties, this type of cabbage is considered to have arrived from abroad.
In Germany, kale is considered the French cabbage, in England and the United States – the Russian or Scottish one, Dutch – German cabbage.
Kale is able to survive even in extreme conditions, becoming juicier and sweeter after frost. Kale was cultivated in many countries, but gradually it was unfairly displaced by other vegetables. And when people started cultivating it again, they thought it arrived from abroad.
Red Russian kale – under this name kale is known in the U.S. and the U.K. It is believed that it came to America’s shores on ships of Russian merchants, and then firmly it established itself in the gardens of California. The second wave of kale to England also took place due to the trade relations between London and Arkhangelsk, Russia.
In Russia, kale repeated its fate, being a completely forgotten vegetable crops, it moved into the garden beds. However, nowadays, we’ve finally realized what are the healing powers that are hiding in the corrugated kale leaves.
Benefits of raw kale
The use of kale for our body is far more superior than other cultivars of cabbage. It can rightly be called the leader among the vegetables in terms of the content of substances that are essential for our health.
The composition of kale includes:
- a complete protein, containing all the essential acid that is digested better than the animal one;
- essential fatty acids omega-3, protected from oxidation by a large number of its own antioxidants;
- natural active vitamins A and C;
- calcium with high bioavailability that is digested better by 25% than calcium from cow’s milk;
- the large amount of magnesium;
- glucoraphanin, the precursor of sulforaphane, which exerts anti-cancer and antibacterial effect;
- indole-3-carbinol that blocks the growth of cancer cells.
A bit more about vitamins:
- The amount of retinol (vitamin A) goes through the roof. One cup of cabbage is equivalent to 200% of daily intake value. And retinol is in the form of beta-carotene, which does not form an overabundance in the body.
- There are also lutein and zeaxanthin – these substances are in the retina and protect us from harmful ultraviolet radiation. It means that kale increases the resistance of our eyes to the sun rays.
- A lot of the active vitamin C.
- In addition, it contains vitamin B, vitamin K, and PP
- Calcium. Kale contains calcium in greater amounts than milk. And it is much better digested because it does not contain casein. Kale stores calcium in an easily digestible form.
- Magnesium. Kale is rich in magnesium, as well as all green products.
- In kale sulfolane element, which is a cure for many diseases, exerts an antibacterial effect.
- Also potassium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, zinc, selenium, copper – and all this in just one kale!
- As for the nutrient density, in fact, there are no equals among the green leafy vegetables. Let me also remind you that during the Second World War, when people were fed on the cards in the United Kingdom, the cultivation of this wonderful, easy growing plant was supported by the government, which probably saved many people from diseases and starvation.
- The ratio of carbohydrates – protein is 2:1 – an exceptionally high amount of protein for every vegetable, and one of the reasons why kale was recently recognized as the new beef.
- I’ve mentioned above that the amino acids of kale are easily digested. It may seem strange, but let’s talk about it. For example, while digesting steak, the body has to spend considerable metabolic resources to expand the massive, highly complex structures of the protein in the flesh of mammals back into their constituent amino acids.
Then, the extracted amino acids should be collected back to the same, very complex human proteins that make up our body. This energy-intensive process takes time and leads to the accumulation of a plurality of metabolic wastes. Kale can be considered anabolic, meaty and may be even considered the main dish in the diet.
The advantage is that you need less kale for a full recharge of a body with protein. Furthermore, cabbage is much lower on the food chain than beef, it does not maintain the same number of toxins from our increasingly polluted environment.
And, of course, we completely avoid the moral debate about the harm to living beings, that is – to eat kale is morally better than to eat/kill animals. And that’s one of the reasons for the popularity of kale since it simply has to be one of the most popular ingredients in the vegetarian diet.
- The balance of fatty acids. The general rule – the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 at 40: 1 or higher – is true for most cereals, seeds, beans, and nuts. Peanuts, for example, contain omega-6 by 1,800 times more than omega-3, which (taken in isolation) is contributing to inflammation and unhealthy ratio.
Thus, kale — is a superstar in terms of essential fatty acids, especially considering that all of its natural oil-soluble antioxidants protect the fragile unsaturated fats from oxidation. And it is very important. The fatty acids in linseed oil, for example, are oxidized in few seconds. And it should be used in the form of capsules that are completely protected from the extremely harmful effects of oxygen.
Today kale is thoroughly studied at academic medical institutions. Experts recognize its usefulness in the treatment of oncological diseases, chemical poisoning, eye diseases.
Rules of kale cooking:
- use only leaves, as its stems are hard;
- chop finely to form sulforaphane – a cure for many diseases.
Salad of fresh kale — is the best option for the health and slim body. You can decorate your favorite vegetable salads with colored kale leaves, but it will be much more useful to grind them in a blender or chop with a knife.
Ideal vegetables to combine kale with – tomatoes, green onions, garlic, nuts, herbs basil, celery, and parsley. For the dressing, you can use extra virgin olive oil, combined with balsamic or cider vinegar. You may also use low-fat sour cream.
Kale can be stewed with while a good companion for it would be bacon. Meat, potatoes and kale leaves, stewed with fried onion, black pepper, and nutmeg — is a good main dish.
Kale leaves with olive oil (refined Olive oil) can be baked in the oven.
Tasty and healthy omelet with Kale, bacon and fried onions.
My favorite recipe
- 2 cups collard kale
- 1/2 cup edamame beans (not in pods!)
- 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
- 2-3 tablespoons coarsely chopped almonds
- 1/3 cup chopped green onions
- 1/3 lemon
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp chopped herbs (dill, parsley, cilantro)
Preparation: 10 min
Cooking: 5 min
Total Time: 15 min
- Kale should be chopped in small or not so small pieces (as you like).
- Edamame beans must be boiled, or better, steamed (it only takes a few minutes). I usually buy them ready-made in a sealed package.
- Mix kale with edamame, cranberries, whole cherry tomatoes, almonds, green onions.
- In a separate bowl, mix the juice and finely chopped zest of lemon, olive oil, finely chopped herbs, salt, and pepper to taste – ready salad dressing.
Kale in different cuisines
Kale is frozen well and tastes sweeter and more aromatic after cold exposure. In the Netherlands, cabbage is mixed with mashed potatoes, in order to make the traditional dish called stamppot, which is sometimes served with sausages. In Japan, kale is popular as a nutritional supplement. In Turkey, on the Black Sea coast, kale is used for soup cooking. Kale contains plenty of vitamins K and C; it is rich in calcium.
To sum up:
Kale is useful for:
- Filling protein deficiency in the vegetarian diet;
- The elimination of calcium deficiency;
- Maintaining good eye sight;
Kale is useful as:
- A source of antioxidants
- A fortifying agent
- A low-calorie dietary product
Now, think about whether kale should be eaten raw? Yes, absolutely, as it would be wrong to destroy the whole set of incredibly useful for the body nutrients during the cooking process. Nevertheless, you can cook it, there is nothing wrong with that, but in this case it is necessary to strike a balance of approximately 50 \ 50 fresh and cooked cabbage. Then it will be very tasty and very useful.
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