Kale has been around since Roman times but its recent popularity is nothing short of amazing, with worldwide sales skyrocketing in the last three years. Why the obsession? We now know that kale is packed with antioxidants and important minerals – it really is a superfood.
What is kale?
A member of the cabbage family, along with broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, kale is a dark green vegetable that comes in a range of varieties – curly, flat, or even with a blue-ish tinge. One cup of kale has just 140kJ but it’s packed with a range of important nutrients including nearly 2.2g of protein, 1.3g of fibre, vitamins A, C and K, folate, alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid), and the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin which protect your eyes. Oh, it’s also got minerals including phosphorus, potassium, calcium and zinc.
Is it possible to have too much?
There have been some reports that people with thyroid conditions should stay clear of too much kale. Eaten in very high quantities, it can lead to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). But for most of us, the nutritional benefits mean it’s a great food to include in your daily diet.
So what do I do with it?
Kale is available in most supermarkets and greengrocers. Look for dark, crisp leaves and discard the tough stalks before you cook it. There are endless recipes to choose from – sauté it, add it to salads, or whizz it into a smoothie. It’s also highly popular as kale chips – toss the leaves with oil and salt then bake in a single layer at 175°C for about ten minutes, turning halfway through.