By Bob McCauley, ND
Kale is one of the first foods I harvest from my garden in the spring because I cover it in the fall and it always survives through the winter.
I grow Russian Kale – or Ragged Jack Kale – pictured left. There are a great variety of kale plants. In the summer I have so many other greens, mustard, parsley, argula, lambs quarter, etc, I don’t ever eat the kale in the salads, but rather I juice it since I have so much. I can harvest a huge basket and by the following week its all back as though I had picked nothing. A basket of kale yields about one coffee cup of pure, powerful kale juice, which is many time stronger than wheatgrass. It’s darker and more pungent. I put it through my vegetable juicer and drink it down. Now that’s a POWERHOUSE!
General Information on Kale
Kale is so attractive with its ruffled leaves and deep colors that it is often used as a decorative garnish. But that hardly takes advantage of this leafy green’s many benefits! This mild but powerful vegetable is a source of indole-3-carbinol, which may be beneficial to the colon. Studies have also shown that Kale may support vital organs and even promote cardiovascular health. Kale’s vitamin-rich propertiesmake it a good leafy-green choice for your table, providing Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. Just don’t leave it as a garnish!
Kale (Brassica Oleracea Acephala), a leafy member of the cabbage family, is an annual plant that is best grown in cool weather. Though Kale leaves can easily survive a frost, they wilt and become bitter in heat.
Kale is most commonly a rich green color, though it can also be found displaying a wide variety of colors, such as white, blue, lavender, or red. The leaves of the Kale plantgrow loosely instead of forming a head like cabbage, and they can be ruffled or straight, depending on the variety. Kale fully matures in approximately 50 to 60 days; however, it is often picked young for a mellower flavor. Kale is commonly eaten cooked, although it can also be eaten raw in salads.
Kale is a very good source of Vitamin K, as well as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper andManganese. This nutritious leafy green also contains dietary fiber, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus.
As is common in cruciferous vegetables, Kale has numerous compounds contained in its curly leaves that may be beneficial to one’s health. One such compound is indole-3-carbinol, which may promote colon health, and another is sulforaphane, which has been shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular health.
Studies have also shown that Kale may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system as well as the bladder.