As we head into autumn, it's time to welcome some delicious new-season fruit and vegetables, including KALE! With its dense nutrient profile, it’s no wonder kale has earned itself so-called superfood status.
Just one cup of this dark, leafy green provides 206% of the RDI for vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, a whopping 684% of vitamin K and 134% of vitamin C, not to mention providing greater than 5% of vitamin B6, manganese (26%), calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Another benefit of kale is its low oxalate levels, which ensures that the vitamins and minerals can be readily absorbed by the body, unlike some other plants including spinach.
Kale naturally combines bile acid sequestrants – it acts by binding to bile, which mops up the cholesterol in the blood. As this bound complex is insoluble, it’s unable to be reabsorbed and is excreted, contributing to a reduction in cholesterol levels. Reduced blood cholesterol results in a reduction in the risk of heart disease.
Some evidence suggests steaming kale may increase the effect of the naturally occurring sequestrants.
Rich in antioxidants
Kale is also an excellent source of antioxidants, particularly quercetin and kaempferol, which have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Numerous studies have suggested a link between the dietary consumption of these antioxidants and a decrease in the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Kale is readily swapped for spinach and is enjoyed sautéed, steamed or fresh. It has a coarser texture than spinach however, so this is best overcome by massaging with olive oil and lemon juice to tenderise the leaves.