Usually this time of year everyone starts to get focused again on eating healthier, fresher and lighter. We have been hearing lots about Kale so we decided to do some digging around and find out more on why we should be eating more of this green stuff!
For a green, kale is unusually high in fiber. This helps create the bulk you need to fill you up and to keep you full for a good amount of time. Kale is also an excellent source of nutrients, especially vitamin A and calcium along With a combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Health Benefits of Kale
Though greens in general are nutritious foods, kale stands a head above the rest. Not only is it one of your best sources of beta-carotene, one of the antioxidants believed by many nutrition experts to be a major player in the battle against cancer, heart disease, and certain age-related chronic diseases, it also provides other important nutrients.
In addition to beta-carotene, kale posses other important carotenoids: lutein and zeaxathin. These carotenoids help keep UV rays from damaging the eyes and causing cataracts.
According to recent research results, kale is an incredible source of well-absorbed calcium, which is one of the many factors that may help prevent osteoporosis. It also provides decent amounts of vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B6, manganese, and potassium.
The manganese in kale helps your body’s own antioxidant defense system, superoxide dismutase, protecting you from damaging free radicals. Its folate and B6 team up to keep homocysteine levels down, which may help prevent heart disease, dementia, and osteoporosis bone fractures.  Here is a great recipe shared by Karen.  Go get some Kale!

Kale Parmesan Salad

Adapted from Plate Magazine (May/June 2010)    Serves 4

1/2 pound kale (one bunch)

3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of one large lemon

1/2 cup dried currants

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced

Wash and dry kale thoroughly. Remove the tough stem from the center of each leaf using a very sharp knife. Roll the leaves up like a cigar and cut into chiffonade. Place the kale into a large bowl. Add olive oil and work through leaves with clean hands, massaging gently to soften the leaves and distribute the oil evenly. Add the lemon juice and continue tossing with your hands. Add currants, Parmesan, pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss again, then serve.

Quick Tips

1. Tossing kale with your hands may seem like a messy task, but working through the leaves in this way really softens them up. The salad should be soft by the time you are ready to serve.

2. I have tried drizzling a little balsamic reduction syrup on this and it’s delicious! Try it if you have some on hand.

3. I use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil for this recipe. In this photo, I used shredded Parmesan but I think freshly grated Parmesan gives a better end result.