Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Friday, October 25, 2013

What's All The Hype About Kale?

Friday, October 25, 2013 | 1:01 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , No comments

Guest post by Northeastern graduate student Meghann Jurkowski

The mighty kale has been a hot topic on the rise. Everyone seems to be drinking green smoothies or doing juicing cleanses with kale as a main ingredient. It's also been popping up in dishes at restaurants across the country and promoted heavily in all kinds of grocery stores. October 2nd was even National Kale Day! You may be looking around and wondering to yourself, what's all the hype about kale? The truth is, this nutrient packed super leafy green is something to be raving about. There are so many different kinds of kale, so many ways to prepare and eat it, it tastes great and the nutritional benefits are outstanding!

What are the health benefits associated with kale?

Nutrient Density
Kale is extremely nutrient dense so when you eat this green you are getting more nutrient bang for your calorie buck. This means that the ratio of nutrient density to calorie intake is high. One cup of kale contains 33 calories. With these 33 calories you are taking in 9% of your daily value of calcium, 134% vitamin C, 206% vitamin A, and a whopping 684% of vitamin E. Kale is also a good source of iron, manganese, copper, phosphorus and potassium. Kale has more iron per calorie than beef does!

Antioxidants
Kale is an excellent source of antioxidants, especially from vitamins A, C and K. The antioxidants carotenoids and flavonoids have been shown to have anti-cancer health benefits while lutein and zeaxanthin have been associated with eye health.

Bone Health
Kale has more calcium per calorie than milk and is loaded with vitamin K. These nutrients support the building of bones and aid in the prevention of bone loss and osteoporosis.

Lowers Blood Cholesterol
The fiber content of kale helps in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Kale also reduces the risk of heart disease. These heart health promoting properties are at their maximum potential when kale is cooked.

Other Health Benefits
Kale contains 10% of the RDA for omega-3 fatty acids (the good fats our bodies need!) which act as an anti-inflammatory. Kale also has properties that support our bodies in its detoxification process.

How do we use kale to reap all its nutritional benefits?

Kale can be eaten raw, baked, steamed sautéed....its applications are endless!
  • Smoothies
  • Juices
  • Soups
  • Stir-Frys
  • Salads
  • Kale chips
  • Pizza topper
And there are many different kinds of kale to choose from...

The most common is curly kale


Lacinato Kale (also known as Dinosaur Kale)


Premier Kale



Redbor Kale


Siberian Kale


Red Russian Kale


Kamome Red Kale


Now that you know what all this kale hype is all about, go out there and start enjoying it with this recipe for delicious kale chips!

Kale Chips
Kale//1 bunch
Olive Oil//1 tbsp.
Seasoned Salt//1 tsp.

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. line a non-insulated sheet with parchment paper.
  2. With a knife of kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces.
  3. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
  4. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt (10 to 15 minutes).


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Meghann Jurkowski is a graduate student of nutritionist Christine Clark in the MS in Applied Nutrition program through the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University.

Nutritionist Christine Clark works with Dining Services to provide you with tips and techniques to stay healthy during your time at Northeastern. If you have any further questions about this topic or are looking for more information about any other nutrition or diet topic, such as food allergies or sports nutrition, please contact her at christine.clark2@compass-usa.com or call UHCS at 617-373-2772 for an appointment.

References:
  1. Delicious, Nutritious Kale: Photo Guide to Different Varieties. http://ecolocalizer.com/2012/03/25/delicious-nutritious-kale-photo-guide-to-different-varieties/.
  2. The Truth About Kale. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-kale.

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