I like kale as much as the next gal, but people, kale is not the answer to all our nutritional problems. There is no such thing as one super food (be it good or evil). This article on kale, by Rachel Zimmerman, on Boston’s NPR website made me chuckle, since it’s a perfect example of our simplistic thinking that if something is good, more is better. It’s amazing that we still fall for this type of thinking where food (or anything) is concerned.
A balanced and diverse diet always has been, and always will be the one true healthy diet. Kale is good for you; 10 pounds of kale everyday for years is not good for you. Just like one candy bar a week will not be the death of you (unless you’re allergic to nuts in which case it could be), but eating a candy bar at every meal can cause some unwanted nutritional issues. Everything in moderation, this includes both good and bad!
If you’re looking to incorporate kale into your diet and you have never tried it, consider doing it in “baby steps.” And by that, I mean starting with “baby” kale. It’s more tender, less bitter and quite a but easier to work into your cooking. It doesn’t need any special treatment, you can just toss some of the little leaves into your salads, into pasta dishes, soups, sautés or smoothies if you want to jump onto the green juice bandwagon (try it, it’s not bad).
What are the benefits of eating kale? It’s a member of the uber-healthy Brassica family, which includes cruciferous veggies such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. It’s low in calories, a decent source of fiber, is packed with vitamins A and C as well as a range of minerals, and is a mega-source of vitamin K. Kale for vitamin K—easy to remember! Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and bone health, and is a powerful antioxidant. So, if you’re taking anticoagulants such as warfarin you ought to avoid kale because lots of vitamin K interferes with the action of the drugs. Eating kale along with calcium-containing foods will also inhibit the absorption of the calcium due to the oxalates it contains…something to keep in mind when using kale in smoothies.
So go ahead and eat some kale, but don’t overdose on any one food item—the good, the bad, or the kale.
Photo credit: Christian Science Monitor, DailyCandy (of Kale Me Crazy juices, Atlanta, GA)