Mom was right. Green vegetables are good for you. And green, leafy vegetables – like kale – are among the very best.
In light of the recent controversy involving Atlanta-based fast food chain Chick-Fil-A and Vermont artist Bo Miller-Moore over the “Eat Mor Chikin” slogan (Miller-Moore’s t-shirts advise us to “Eat More Kale,” not more chicken), now is as good a time as ever to review why eating more green, leafy vegetables is better for us than eating fried chicken. Or fried anything, for that matter.
So here are four great reasons to put more kale on your plate. You’ll be glad that you took the “kale plunge.” You may even start feeling a little healthier, too.
1. It’s a “superfood.”
Keeping in mind that the term “superfood” has no legal definition and that it gets tossed around somewhat arbitrarily, know that if there’s any food on earth we can legitimately call “super,” kale is that food.
Why? Because it’s chock full of just about everything that’s good for you. Vitamins A, K, and C, beta-carotene, magnesium, calcium, and the list goes on. They’re all in kale, and all occur in high quantities.
Kale is also a fantastic source of fiber. Eating more fiber helps reduce cholesterol and control blood sugar levels. If you need more fiber in your diet, a serving of kale every day is a great way to get it.
2. It’s low-calorie.
When it comes down to it, kale is just a leaf – like salad greens. But even compared to other nutritious leaves, it packs an enormous nutritional punch with only a small number of calories per serving.
Consider this: For about a quarter of the calories in a serving of cow’s milk, kale gives you the same amount of calcium. How’s that for getting a lot of bang for your bite?
And when was the last time you met anyone who blamed being overweight on having eaten too much kale?
3. There are many ways to cook it.
You can do just about anything with kale.
Steam it, boil it, or put it in the oven and bake it to make kale chips! The sky is the limit with this stuff, and there’s no way to make it that doesn’t taste downright delicious.
If you’re looking to maximize kale’s nutritional benefits, eat it raw! Simply tear up the leaves and mix them with a salad. You can also blend them together with fruit.
Sure, eating raw kale may not be traditional, but it’s starting to catch on. Once you try it, you’re sure to see why.
4. You can grow it yourself.
In most parts of the United States, kale appears in the fall and winter months. In many locales, you can grow it more frequently, so get to know your growing season.
If you’re looking to turn your summer garden into more of a year-round one, kale is a great place to start. It’s a tough, hardy leaf that can handle low temperatures.
Rumor has it that kale tastes even sweeter after a frost. Why not try it and see?
Adam Green is a freelance writer and habitual kale eater. He wrote this article on behalf of Full Circle, an organic produce delivery service in Washington state.