Food Stats: Kale

Overview:
  • The word kale originated from Latin and comes from the word “caulis” meaning cabbage.

  • Kale originated in the Eastern Mediterranean and South-Western Asia and began being cultivated as a formal food item around 2000 BC.

  • In Ancient Greece, Kale was used to feeding both humans and livestock.

  • Kale is usually grown from a seed and grows very well in the wintertime.

  • Kale is a cruciferous veggie and has become popular in the past 5 years due to its nutrient density.

The Look:
  • Kale has a variety of leafiness and colors. The most common kale types are curly, dinosaur, redbor, and Russian kale.

  • Curly kale is the most common type of kale with green leaves and ruffles. This is what you would see at your local grocery store or market!

  • Dinosaur kale is wrinkly in texture but narrow in size. It is a darker green color.

  • Redbor kale is slightly red in color and ruffled similar to curly kale.

  • Russian kale is not as popular and ranges in colors from red to green.

Nutrition:
  • Vitamins A, K, B6, and C

  • Calcium

  • Potassium

  • Copper

  • Manganese

Benefits:
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant and its biochemical functions include assisting in the synthesis of collagen, carnitine, and norepinephrine.

  • Vitamin A promotes eye health, cell differentiation, bone development, and immunity!

  • Vitamin K promotes healthy blood clotting.

  • Vitamin B6 is a promoter of healthy brain development.

  • Calcium plays a large role in healthy bone formation along with nerve transmission and muscle contraction.

  • Potassium is generally associated with low blood pressure and lowering the chance of stroke.

  • Copper is an antioxidant and works by quenching or neutralizing free radicals.

  • Manganese takes part in bone, cartilage, and connective tissue synthesis.

Serving Size
  • Half a cup of raw cup of kale has around 33 calories

  • About 8 grams of carbohydrates

  • About 4.3 grams of protein

  • About 0.9 grams of fat

  • About to 3.6 grams of fiber

Use & Cooking
  • Kale is most commonly bought in its raw form at most grocery stores or markets. When picking out kale, avoid yellow-colored or wilted leaves. You want the stalk that you’re picking out to be firm and dark green as well.

  • Kale holds it’s texture well when placed under heat, but if boiled, loses a lot of its nutrient content. However, if steaming, frying, or microwaving it keeps most of its nutrients.

Storage:
  • Raw kale is good for about 5-6 days refrigerated and loosely wrapped.

  • You can purchase raw kale and freeze it to later thaw out. This is commonly used for stews and soups and keeps the longevity of the kale.


Recipes:
  • Kale can be used for a variety of meals and snacks!

  • Kale can be laid out in a pan, salted, and baked for kale chips!

  • You can add or completely substitute kale in any salad for a more crunchy change up! It keeps the caloric value down and adds lots of beneficial nutrients.

  • Popular in Italy, kale is used in ribollita soup!

  • You’ll find in the Netherlands, kale is used in a veggie and sausage dish called “stamppot.”

  • In Portugal, they utilize kale in a soup called “caldo verde.”


References

Gropper, S. A., Smith, J. L., & Groff, J. L. (2018). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (Sixth ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Speaking of Health. (2018, May 29). The many types and health benefits of kale. Retrieved July 07, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/the-many-types-and-health-benefits-of-kale


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