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Eight Healthy Facts About Kale

This colorful "green" brings flavor and nutrition to recipes ranging from kale "chips" to our hearty kale soup.
By Chloe Thompson
WebMD Magazine - Feature

History of Kale

Kale has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. Popular in Europe during Roman times and the Middle Ages, it arrived in the United States in the 17th century.

Kale Chips

Kale chips are a nutritious, easy-to-make snack: Remove kale leaves from stems, tear into bite-sized pieces, drizzle with olive oil and a dash of salt, and bake 10 to 15 minutes in a 400°F oven.

Kale's Antioxidants

Kale is packed with antioxidants, which help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. Some research suggests kale helps reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Vitamins in Kale

One cup of chopped raw kale provides more than 100% of the daily value of vitamins A, C, and K.

The Kale Family

Kale belongs to the same family as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and collards.

Kale's Late Harvest

For the best flavor, kale must be harvested after the first frost. This ensures some of the starches are turned into sugars.

Colors of Kale

Types of kale are differentiated by color (green, white, purple, or bluish green) and leaf shape.

Kale and Lutein

Kale contains lutein, a type of carotenoid (an organic pigment) responsible for the plant’s color and nutrients. Lutein helps keep eyes and vision healthy.

Healthy Recipe: Hearty Kale Vegetable Soup

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups red potatoes, peeled and diced

6 cups kale (about one bunch), stemmed and coarsely chopped

1 16-oz can low-sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 14.5-oz can petite-diced fire roasted tomatoes, undrained

4–6 cups low-sodium chicken stock

salt, pepper to taste

1 tbsp vinegar (sherry or wine)

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Directions

1. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottom pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 5 to 7 minutes until lightly browned; add red bell pepper, carrots, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. 

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add potatoes, kale, beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, salt and pepper; simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. 

3. Add additional water or stock if mixture becomes too thick. Before serving, stir in vinegar and garnish with rosemary.

 

Per serving: 260 calories, 14 g protein, 43 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 304 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 18%

Reviewed on November 30, 2011

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