Health Benefits of Kale

Want to improve your health? Eat kale. I confess that I tried it once and didn’t like it. Turns out it wasn’t cooked properly.

Because I recently recommitted to improving my overall health — both physical and mental — I decided to try kale one more time.

What is kale?
Kale is a leafy green vegetable. It belongs to the Brassica family, which includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

What’s so special about kale?

  • Contains an antioxidant that protects against macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness
  • Rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects against heart disease, cancer, and certain chronic diseases
  • Rich in folic acid, which protects against heart disease and birth defects
  • High in fiber
  • Excellent source of several vitamins, including A, C and K

Better health on my mind
I went to the grocery store yesterday, found kale in the produce section, bought a beautiful looking bunch and headed home wondering what was wrong with the way it had been cooked the first time I had some. I decided to turn to a trusted source of plant-based recipes for guidance. Meg Wollf, or to be precise, her cookbook “A Life in Balance.”

Meg Wolff’s recipe for cooking kale (it couldn’t be any simpler)
1 bunch kale, rinsed and chopped into bite-size pieces (stem and all)
1/2 cup water
pinch of sea salt

Put water, kale and a pinch of salt into a pot with a lid. Bring to a boil over high heat, turn to low, and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain.
Serves 6 (about 3/4-cup servings)

At my daughter’s suggestion, I sprinkled in some sesame seeds.

Kale caveats
Make sure you rinse the kale thoroughly before you cook it to remove any possible pesticide residue. Rinse even if you buy organic. Also, if you have untreated kidney or gallbladder problems, you may want to check with your doctor before eating kale because it contains oxalates, which may interfere with calcium absorption.

My kale verdict
Amazing how good something can taste if you just cook it properly. What was different? This time, it was chopped up into little pieces. Last time, it wasn’t chopped up at all. It made all the difference in the world.

Want to improve your health?
Go ahead and try it. I think you’re going to like kale. I did when I gave it another chance. According to Whole Foods, you’ll get maximum health benefits if after you rinse and chop it up, you sprinkle it with lemon juice and let it sit for about five minutes before you cook it. You can add kale to lots of different recipes or steam up a little in the morning and nibble on it all day long. That’s what Meg does!









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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. Now, she's a baby boomer not interested in retiring. She writes the Catching Health blog and is a regular guest on the WCSH6/WLBZ2 Morning Report. She's also a college art student at USM. You can read about that adventure on Diane's other blog She says it's good (and healthy) to be busy!