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A single cup of raw kale (about 67 grams or 2.4 ounces) contains:
- Vitamin A: 206% of the RDA (from beta-carotene).
- Vitamin K: 684% of the RDA.
- Vitamin C: 134% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDA.
- Manganese: 26% of the RDA.
- Calcium: 9% of the RDA.
- Copper: 10% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 9% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 6% of the RDA.
- Then it contains 3% or more of the RDA for Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Iron and Phosphorus.
This is coming with a total of 33 calories, 6 grams of carbs (2 of which are fiber) and 3 grams of protein. Kale contains very little fat, but a large portion of the fat in it is the omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid. Given the incredibly low calorie content, kale is among the most nutrient dense foods in existence. Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet.
Kale, like other leafy greens, is very high in antioxidants. This includes beta-carotene, vitamin C, as well as various flavonoids and polyphenols. Antioxidants are substances that help counteract oxidative damage by free radicals in the body. Oxidative damage is believed to be among the leading drivers of aging and many diseases, including cancer.
But many substances that happen to be antioxidants also have other important functions. This includes the flavonoids quercetin and Kaempferol, which are found in relatively large amounts in kale. These substances have been studied intensely in test tubes and animal studies. They have powerful cardioprotective, blood pressure lowering, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-depressant and anti-cancer effects… to name a few.
It is a good, plant-based source of calcium, a nutrient that is very important for bone health and plays a role in all sorts of cellular functions. It is also a decent source of magnesium, an incredibly important mineral that most people don’t get enough of. Eating plenty of magnesium may be protective against type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Kale also contains quite a bit of potassium, a mineral that helps maintain electrical gradients in the body’s cells. Adequate potassium intake has been linked to reduced blood pressure and a lower risk of heart disease. One advantage that kale has over leafy greens like spinach, is that it is low in oxalate, a substance found in some plants that can prevent minerals from being absorbed.
Here is an amazing, flavorful recipe that might make you change your mind about kale courtesy of The Gouda Life.
Kale and Romano Ricotta Waffles with Cayenne Honey
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
few generous pinches cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg (small pinch)
1 cup extra smooth ricotta
2 large eggs
1 ½ – 2 cups milk
4 tbsp melted butter
1 ½ cups chopped kale
½ cup finely diced pecorino Romano
½ cup honey
¼ – ½ tsp cayenne pepper (depending on spice tolerance)
Whisk together the flour, baking powder + soda, salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk the ricotta and eggs until smooth and shiny. Add the milk and butter and stir to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until no flour remains. Fold in the kale and romano.
For my waffle maker, I spooned about 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp of batter per waffle and cooked for about 7 minutes. Read your waffle maker instructions to be sure this is the correct method for yours.
While the waffles baker, warm the honey and cayenne in a small sauce-pot over low heat. It shouldn’t boil or simmer, you just want to warm it through.
Serve waffles hot with butter, a sprinkle of scallions and a drizzle of warm cayenne honey.
How do you like to enjoy kale?
(Source: The Gouda Life