Kale Thousand head
Heirloom Kale seeds
variety Kale Thousand head
When rating superfoods, Kale doesn’t immediately come to mind for most people. But this leafy green vegetable is a nutritional powerhouse that deserves to be on every Top Ten list.
Like its cousins, broccoli and cauliflower, kale is a descendent of the wild cabbage and was eaten by Celtic tribes as long ago as 600 B.C. There are several varieties of kale, each with a unique flavor and texture but all are packed with nutritional value and a boatload of fiber.
Curly kale has ruffled leaves with a pungent, peppery flavor. The leaves of Tuscan kale are a dark bluish green and tastes delicately sweet. Ornamental kale is a more recently cultivated species that is oftentimes referred to as salad savoy. Its leaves may either be green, white, or purple with a mild flavor.
In recent years, researchers have discovered that kale and other Brassica family vegetables such as cabbage and Brussels sprouts are rich in calcium, lutein, iron, beta-carotene, and Vitamins A, C, and K. A single serving of Kale provides 192 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A, which can act as a preventative against lung diseases. Research in Australia found that a diet high in beta-carotene foods like kale can decrease the chances of skin cancer.
But what bumps kale up the superfood chain is its abundance in phytochemicals, substances associated with the prevention of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension – four of the leading cause of death in Western countries. Phytochemicals are believed to help prevent cell damage, prevent cancer cell replication, and decrease cholesterol levels.
Kale contains over 45 different flavonoids which provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Research has also shown Kale to be effective in helping lower cholesterol levels and as a detoxifier. One of kale’s phytochemicals, sulforaphane, helps the body’s detoxification enzymes clear potentially carcinogenic substances out of your system.
Kale is a great substitute for lettuce on sandwiches and can be added to your salad. Look for kale with firm, deeply colored leaves and moist, firm stems.
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