What Is Kale Good For? Crucial Kale Juice Benefits And Recipes
Looking for more weight loss allies in your juicing recipes? Have you thought about adding kale regularly? Kale is good for almost every single body system, but as one of the Brassica vegetables, it may also bring some powerful fat-burning properties to the table!
Kale (also known as borecole) is one of the most powerful greens available, yet it is also one of the most neglected veggies. The nutritional benefits of kale juice and kale smoothies are quite astounding. Deciding to use kale regularly in your juicing recipes, may be one of the most significant things you can do to protect your health.
Let's see if I can answer some of your questions about kale and help you to become as excited about this leafy green as I am. I will also be sharing some of my favorite kale recipes. Enjoy!
In This Article
- What is kale?
- How to store kale
- What is kale good for?
- Kale and weight loss
- 5 Ways to add more kale to your diet
- Smoothie and juice recipes
- Healthy kale chips
What Is Kale?
These days we all know how crucial it is to eat leafy green cruciferous veggies regularly. Kale is one of these must-haves you should add to your shopping list.
What the blueberry is for fruit, kale is for veggies. Blueberries now have super-fruit status in the nutrition research world. Kale is fast gaining a reputation as a super-veggie.
It is a member of the Brassica family (Brassica oleracea). This family includes well-known veggies such as broccoli, bok choy, kohlrabi, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, chinese cabbage and collard greens.
All the cruciferous veggies have become well-known for their sulfur-containing phytonutrients, which are claimed to help with cancer prevention. Watercress isn't in the Brassica family, but is also seen as a cruciferous veggie.
It may take some time to get used to the sharp, slightly bitter taste of kale, though. So, if you plan on adding it to your salads or juices, do so gradually. Increase the kale content slowly, allowing your taste buds to slowly adjust to the flavor. You can make juices with kale more palatable by adding some lemon to the recipe.
If you enjoy a strong peppery flavor and a decorative touch, curly kale is an eye-catching choice. You can choose either the dark green curly kale or a purple variety.
Dinosaur kale is a slightly sweeter choice and has a rich, dark green color. Or why not opt for ornamental kale, which has a less potent flavor. Ornamental kale can also be useful if you are targeting your purple veggies. It sports both green and purple leaves, depending on the variety.
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How To Buy Kale
Look for the richest, darkest green or purple leaves you can find. These will have the highest nutrient content. Smaller, more tender leaves will usually taste less sharp and do particularly well in salads.
You can easily spot wilted kale and should avoid these leaves. Rather wait for a stock of fresh, crisp kale. Also don't buy leaves with yellowish or brownish spots on them. Take a look at the stems as well. Make sure that they have a healthy, firm appearance.
How To Store Kale
Are you unsure about how to handle your kale once you get home? Wondering if you should wash it right away? Should it be stored in the refrigerator?
Try to use it within a day or two, as the bitter taste of kale becomes more pronounced the longer it is stored. It keeps quite well in the crisper drawer of the fridge, provided that you store it unwashed.
Important tip: As with most of your leafy greens, it is a good idea to wrap the leaves in a paper towel, before placing them in a plastic bag. The paper towel is excellent for absorbing moisture and therefore helps to keep the kale fresh for a longer period.
Kale And Folks With Ailments
If you have any ailment or are taking medication, please speak to your doctor first before increasing your intake of kale.
Kale contains oxalates or oxalic acid. If you have had any problem with your kidneys or gallbladder (such as a tendency to develop kidney stones or gallstones), you may need to limit or avoid kale in your diet. If you are on blood thinning medication, you may also need to go slow on veggies high in vitamin K, such as kale.
You can even experiment with freezing fresh kale if you can't use it immediately. This works well for smoothies, as it won't matter if the leaves become a bit wilted. You can try washing the kale and then drying it very thoroughly. There must be no moistness left on the leaves.
At this stage you shred the kale and place it in a plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible, before freezing. You can just toss a handful of frozen kale into your blender when preparing a smoothie.
If you want to freeze kale for use in salads later on, you can consider blanching young, very fresh leaves in boiling water for roughly 2 minutes. Then plunge them into ice water for the same length of time. Drain en dry thoroughly before freezing in zip lock bags. Try to remove as much air as possible from the bag. Vacuum sealing would be best for this purpose.
Remember to cut out the tough stem in the center of the leaves before using kale in a salad. These stem can be very hard and tough to eat and digest. In a juicer, they are usually fine. But in a raw green salad, rather remove them.
What Is Kale Good For?
When it comes to the nutritional benefits of kale juice, you can be sure that this green veggie will give you quite an amazing health kick! Kale is good for...
- Weight loss
- Brain functioning
- Eye health
- Cancer prevention
- Lowering cholesterol
- Heart health
- Reducing stroke risk
- Skin health and regeneration
- Strengthening nails
- Building your immune system
- Lowering inflammation
- Bone health
- Digestive health
Kale is a rich source of fiber, vitamin K, beta-carotene, tryptophan, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, calcium and copper. It also sports other important antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. The calcium in kale is absorbed well by the body. The flavonoids such as quercetin act as powerful anti-inflammatory nutrients.
By making sure that kale is part of your diet, you will also be getting alpha linoleic acid, which is a building block for omega-3 fatty acids. This is another vital element for fighting inflammation and improving heart health.
One of the most important nutritional benefits may be the fact that all the Brassica vegetables, including kale, come packed with what is known as glucosinolates. Studies are showing these to be extremely valuable in cancer prevention
The good fiber content makes kale useful in terms of the whole digestive tract. The glucosinolates in kale can also play a crucial role in detoxification in your body.
Kale and improved heart health goes hand in hand, as this green may help you to lower your cholesterol levels naturally. In one study by Kim SY and colleagues, it was found that by giving kale juice to folks with high cholesterol, the numbers came down over a period of 12 weeks and coronary artery disease risk factors were reduced.
Kale And Weight Loss
Xenoestrogens are hormone disruptors that play a role in both weight gain and the development of cancer. You are exposed to these in your daily environment. They can disrupt the estrogen balance in your body, which can lead to weight gain and a struggle to lose weight.
Cruciferous vegetables such as kale provide your body with phytochemicals that can help to normalize the estrogen again, making it easier to lose weight. Two of the most important ones are I3C (Indole-3-Carbinol) and DIM (Diindolylmethane). These also play an important role in the detox process in your body.
So, by upping your intake of kale, you may be providing your body with an important tool to aid in weight loss. Here is an article about the fat-burning potential of kale and other cruciferous vegetables.
Sounds like there is more than enough motivation to make kale a regular on your health menu! Don't limit your greens to kale, though. It is always a good idea to rotate leafy greens and other veggies, in order to take in as wide a variety of nutrients and color groups as possible. So, try them all, one after the other...
5 Ways to add more kale to your diet
- Finely chopped fresh kale can be added to virtually any dish, from a stir-fry to an aromatic casserole or a soup. Do this almost at the end of the cooking time, to preserve as many of the nutrients in the kale as possible.
- Make a powerful green salad with baby spinach, some finely chopped fresh young kale, sliced bell pepper in a color of your choice, finely sliced purple onion rings and a handful of chopped walnuts or pecan nuts. Toss these with this delicious and healthy home-made salad dressing.
- Did you know that you can even turn kale into a snack food? Try the delicious kale chips below...
The Health Benefits Of Green Smoothies
If you find that your kids shy away from eating greens, don't force them to eat the veggies. This may just give them a life-long aversion to greens.
Your solution may be in the delicious smoothies they love. You can still have a great-tasting smoothie with roughly two thirds or so made up of fruit, but replacing the rest of the fruit with veggies, including greens. The fruits will actually help to mask the strong flavor of the greens, making them much more palatable.
Can you just imagine how nutrient content of a smoothie can be improved by adding a handful of greens such as kale to the mix? Best of all, smoothies may have a thick and smooth consistency, but you will still be getting all the roughage your body needs!
1 1/2 Cup water, low-fat milk, almond milk or yogurt
1 Large ripe banana, peeled
4 Green or purple kale leaves
2 Kiwi fruit, peeled
1 Cup pineapple chunks, frozen if preferred
1 Cup mixed berries
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
3 to 6 ice cubes
Honey (to taste) as a sweetener
Optional: If you want an extra yummy treat sometimes, you can add a scoop or two of ice cream with the ice cubes, before blending for the last time!
- Pour liquid into blender.
- Add kale, kiwi fruit and banana and blend
- Add pineapple and berries and blend well
- Add flax seed, honey and ice cubes. Blend again until smooth and frothy
- Pour into glasses
Tip: Other fruits that go well with kale, are peaches, grapes or nectarines.
Kale 101 Juice
This is a simple recipe to start with. Kale will always be one of a number of ingredients. Greens are too potent and strongly flavored to use on their own. Always mix them with other veggies and fruits.
4 Medium carrots
2 Stalks celery
1 Big or 2 small red apples
4 Kale leaves
2 inch length of cucumber
- Wash all your goodies thoroughly
- Top and tail carrots and discard the greens
- Quarter apples and discard pits
- Peel cucumber if it has been waxed
- Run ingredients through your juicer. You will get more from the kale if you roll the leaves into balls and juice them together with the carrots and apples.
3 Bonus Tips:
- If you feel like having a special treat, you can add some watermelon chunks if available. This may push the juice quantity up to 3 small servings.
- You can add some ginger for extra bite if you wish. Lemon also goes well with this combination.
- If you don't like the color of the juice, you can always add a chunk of beetroot for a more appealing look.
6 kale leaves
5 celery stalks
Optional: shredded coconut to add sweetness
- Wash all the ingredients
- Roll kale leaves into balls
- Quarter pears. Don't peel, but discard seeds
- Peel lime and discard skin. Cut into quarters
- Run everything through juicer. Add the kale with the celery for best results
- Stir in some coconut, if the juice isn't sweet enough for you
Bunch of fresh kale leaves
Kale Chips Even The Kids Will Love
2 to 3 tsp Olive oil
Some coarse salt
- Wash and dry the kale leaves carefully. They must be dry, otherwise they won't be crisp
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
- Remove the thicker ribs and tear or slice kale leaves into pieces
- In a bowl toss the kale lightly in the olive oil, flavored with salt
- Spread out on a non-stick baking sheet
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp. Keep an eye on them and turn down the oven if they turn brown too quickly
- Optional: If you like a bit of a bite, you can add some black pepper or any other spice mix you like. Some folks even choose to add a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese to the oil. You can experiment with the recipe until you get it just right for you. You can also add the flavoring afterwards if this works better for you.
> From the juicing for health desk of Rika Susan
1. Diet and bladder cancer
2. Kale juice improves coronary artery disease risk factors