Power foods, and green smoothies are all the rage these days. Perhaps that’s the reason for kale’s sudden surge in popularity. Never has there been a food more deserving of the hype. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, providing protein, and an unmatched level of vitamins and minerals. A serving of kale contains a full day’s supply of some vitamins, and substantial amounts of other vitamins and minerals as well. Blend it in your smoothie, or saute it in your stir fry, either way you’ll be doing your body a favor.
Kale has an incredible amount of vitamin K. One cup of raw kale, contains 684% of your daily value of vitamin K. When you cook kale, that daily value increases to an almost unbelievable 1328%. If you suffer from a vitamin K deficiency, have issues with blood clots, a bone injury, or low bone-density, cook up some kale and the vitamin K will help alleviate your ailments.
Another vitamin kale provides more than enough of, is vitamin A. A one cup serving of kale, provides 206% of your recommended daily value of vitamin A. When cooked, that daily value increases to 354%. Kale is one of the few vegetables that becomes more nutritious when cooked. The only downside nutritionally to cooking kale, is a decrease in vitamin C, and a miniscule spike in sugar,Vitamin C is much easy to supplement with other items.
You probably wouldn’t guess kale has protein in it, but it does have a small amount. A cup of kale has 2.2 grams of protein when raw, and 2.5 grams cooked. It’s not much, but plant proteins are a great supplement, because they help complete the proteins found in other sources, such as meat. Kale provides trace amounts of every mineral on the daily value chart, with over a quarter of your daily value in Manganese, and a significant amount of calcium as well. Mineral values don’t seem to be significantly impacted by cooking.
It’s honestly easier to name the vitamins that aren’t in kale, than name those that are. In fact, the only two vitamins kale doesn’t offer, are vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Those can be found elsewhere however, and even included into a meal quite deliciously.
Any way you eat kale, it’s going to benefit your health. While there are many raw advocates out there, and raw food is great, don’t be afraid to cook that kale up. It’s a much more palatable experience, and it doesn’t degrade the nutrition substantially whatsoever, and in some cases improves it. If you choose to eat it raw, be prepared for a chewy, experience! Also, if you decide to blend it in a smoothie, unless you have a high quality blender, it’s likely to remain a bit grainy. All hail kale; Truly a kingpin in the nutrition world.
Emily Manke is a health and lifestyle blogger in Portland, OR. Her interests include biking, hiking, cooking, gardening. She is a bit of a health-nut, and loves learning about all things health-related. She sometimes contributes to the blog for this Dentist in Tigard, OR.