How To Maximize Kale Health Benefits

Among superfoods, kale is a rock-n-roll superstar! Easy to grow in a wide range of climates, kale health benefits are notorious. Luckily, there are a great many varieties of kale to choose from so you could never get bored of eating kale. There’s Dinosaur Kale (Lacinato Kale, i.e. Black Kale), bright green Curly Kale, purple-colored Rebor Kale, Red Russian Kale, and many other kale varieties to choose from.

How To Maximize Kale Health Benefits

Buy Organic Kale

Organic kale and conventionally grown kale may look the same on the outside but when scientists analyze and compare the nutrient content of both, organic kale wins hands down! In fact, several studies have shown that organic kale has almost twice as many nutrients than conventionally grown kale. Additionally, organic kale also has far more trace nutrients than does conventionally grown kale. These differences in nutritional quality between organic kale and conventionally grown kale are due to differences in the quality of the soil and in the type of fertilizers used.

How To Cook Kale So You Get More Nutrients From It

You’ll reap more kale health benefits if you do not over cook kale. In fact, it should only be cooked a minute or two on low-medium heat. Saute kale in a little olive oil or coconut oil just to the point that it turns bright green in color. Then, immediately remove the kale from the hot pan or it will become over cooked and you will lose some of the nutrients kale provides. If the bright green color disappears and it turns darker green or brownish, you have over cooked the kale. The only exception to this color change would be for red or purple kale. In these cases, cook the kale just to the point that it turns tender and then immediately remove it from the skillet.

freshly harvested kale cabbage in a wooden crate on a white back

Kale Makes a Wonderful Salad Too

You can chop up any variety of kale and toss it with an acid based salad dressing such as a apple cider vinegar and olive oil to make a salad. The vinegar will tenderize the kale leaves a bit and turn them bright green just like when you saute it in a skillet because essentially you are “cooking” it with the acidic dressing. This is why kale salad is best if you let it sit for at least an hour before you eat it. The nutrients available for absorption in your gut will be a little higher if you let the acid in your dressing do its magic! If you add some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, pepitas, and vine-ripened cherry tomatoes sliced in half, you’ll have a delicious and nutrient packed salad perfect for eating on the patio during the summer season.

Blending Raw Kale To Make Its Nutrients More Bioavailable

Unlike animals, all plants have cell walls surrounding each cell. These cell walls are made partially of cellulose and the human body can not digest cellulose. Moreover, the body has a hard time breaking down these cell walls to get at the nutrients inside the cells. When you blend raw kale into smoothies, you break down the rigid cellulose cell walls of the plant structure of the kale. While this doesn’t increase the nutrients in the kale, it has the effect of making the kale’s nutrients more “bioavailable” to you. This means that your gastrointestinal system can more easily absorb the minerals. In this way, more nutrients are made available to you in every mouthful you swallow!