How To Cook & Pick Kale To Gain The Best Nutritional Benefits

Qunioa and kale salad

Kale is one of the most beneficial cruciferous vegetables around

Kale is a leafy green veggie that comes in various shapes and colours.
Kale also belongs to the cruciferous family, providing us with type two diabetes and cancer-fighting benefits.
One of the best benefits of kale is its ability to clear out toxins, such as free radicals.
It’s common for toxins to build up in our body, causing cell damage, which may lead to inflammation and disease.
It’s free radicals that can lead an individual to develop cancer. We can quickly mitigate this risk by eating more cruciferous vegetables — including kale.

Kale has an earthy flavour which may be bitter, depending on what time of the year you buy it. But as I mentioned above, kale comes in wide varieties, and knowing which can be cooked or eaten raw is beneficial.

Red Kale
Red Kale

Red Kale.

I love this type of kale and eat it raw. These look very flat and similar to an oak tree with purple stalks. Sometimes the stalks can be very hard to eat, but when cooked well are very sweet with a light pepper/lime flavour.
Try to eat this type of kale in winter because it thrives in those conditions — cook by either sauteing it with garlic or lightly poaching not to lose the nutrient value.
Some people enjoy these by chopping them finely and adding them to raw salads, in their juices or as a garnish.

Curly kale
Curly kale

Curly Kale.

You should be able to find this type of kale anywhere, and it’s bright green or dark, with ruffled-like leaves that you can quickly chop or rip from the stalk.

dinosaur kale
dinosaur kale

Dinosaur kale

Kale of this kind is dark green, robust and firm. It’s called a dinosaur because of its scale-like texture, and its leaves are much longer and flat.
When cooking, it’s easy to maintain shape.
Dinosaur Kale might be the best variety for you if you are not a big fan of bitter-tasting kale. Throw some of these in your air fryer and make some crispy kale chips as a snack.

Best ways to deal with kale

Depending on what kind of texture and flavour you enjoy, air-fried, steamed or raw will be your best bet.
Yes, you lose some nutrient value when it’s cooked (mainly vitamin C), but that’s a natural occurrence with any food; if you steam or saute your kale, ensure it’s only for a short time, and throw the juices into your food.
If you can go raw with kale, it will give you the highest nutrient content.
If you want to retain the goodness of kale, lightly steam it for a small duration, making it edible and soft enough to digest a lot easier.
I prefer to have mine raw in a smoothie, so it is broken down sufficiently by the blender and a lot easier to digest (and there is no bitter taste).
Try these different options and see which suits your lifestyle and tastes best.
When it comes to cooking, you significantly reduce kale’s bitterness, making it much more edible. I don’t mind the bitterness myself.

Why you should eat kale all the time

Since kale is packed with a beneficial compound called sulforaphane, it can potentially fight the onset of cancer on a cellular level. It’s no surprise because cruciferous vegetables generally have the potential for this.
But that’s not all kale can do for you — it also contains several flavonoids and polyphenols due to its high levels of beta-carotene.
Antioxidants help us to counterattack free radicals brought on by inflammation. It’s not uncommon to suffer from inflammation all the time — and it’s a chronic variety we must be mindful of.
Too much of it can lead us towards disease and cancer itself. Kale happens to have lots of flavonoids which help us combat inflammation.

It’s also great for losing weight

Let’s not miss this important factor when it comes to kale. It’s low in calories, high in water content and a very dense vegetable. Eating an abundance of kale, as well as other cruciferous vegetables, will help to aid in weight loss since your hunger is satisfied after eating these vegetables.
Kale also contains fibre and some protein; combined; these make a difference to your weight loss goals.
Don’t just eat kale; fill up on abundant green vegetables and make a complete meal with all macronutrients.

Potential thyroid warning

Kale is excellent, but it contains a high amount of a substance called goitrin, which can decrease the amount of iodine you consume and mess with your thyroid function.
Eating Kale raw is more likely to cause this issue.
A functioning thyroid is essential for regulating your metabolism, and dysfunction might cause lethargy and make you much more susceptible to weight gain.
The good news is you need to eat a lot of kale — or cruciferous vegetables in general, to become susceptible to this thyroid-inhibiting hormone. So, don’t fret too much unless your doctor thinks it is an issue. Use a variety of nutrients to get the right amount of vitamins without any nasty side effects.

Key takeaways

Kale and all cruciferous vegetables are super healthy, and you get the best nutritional value from eating them slightly raw or lightly steamed. Mix natural and cooked vegetables with your protein and complex carbohydrates daily. Variety and flavour are essential in anyone’s healthy diet plan.
Don’t forget to add olive oil and lemon juice for extra deliciousness!

Here is my favourite recipe to inspire your kale kitchen adventures

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