Kale (羽衣甘蓝)- Vegetable Powerhouse

Most American’s diet is lack in fruits and vegetables.  The most common vegetables that they eat is carrots, lettuce, potatoes, corn, tomatoes. How sad is that ? Healthy eating habits starts from a young age and if you weren’t exposed to all the other wonderful cruciferous out there, maybe it’s not your fault and maybe it is. So, while you are trying out new foods yourself, let your kids join in the fun food experiment together.

Let me introduce you to Kale, a cabbage family vegetables that provides the most nutrient dense in one single cup of leafy greens.  The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in kale are beneficial for heart disease, cancer, bone, digestive, eye and skin health.

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My few favorites Kale recipes are Kale Chips, Kale Stew and Kale Salad.  Older babies and young toddler probably will do well with the kale stew where it’s soft and easy to chew. Older toddler over 2 years old would love the crunchy textures of the kale chip (much better compared to potato chips if you ask me). As for yourself, try the kale salad, keep an open mind and you’ll be surprise how delicious they can be if you paired the salad with grilled salmon or steak.

According to USDA nutrition database, one cup of raw kale (67 g) contains :

Energy 28 calories
Protein 2 g
Fat 0.40 g
Carbohydrates 5.57 g
Fiber 1.1 g
Calcium 137 mg     (14% RDA)
Iron 2 mg          (10% RDA)
Phosphorus 42 mg        (6% RDA)
Magnesium 59 mg        (16% RDA)
Potassium 302 mg      (6% RDA)
Manganese 0.5             (25% RDA)
Copper 0.2              (10% RDA)
Vitamin A 2077 IU     (69% RDA)
Vitamin C 87 g           (147 % RDA)
Vitamin K 547 mcg    (684%RDA)

There is also some fear circulating in the internet regarding Kale and other cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, collard greens, brussels sprouts, rapeseed, turnips, watercress) that lead to hypothyroidism. So far, there’s no research to back this up, at least in human studies. Only one case reported where an 88-year old women developed a severe hypothyroidism when she consume about 1.5 kg/day of raw bok choy for several months.  That’s a lot of raw vegetables !!!  In theory, yes it could happen if you consume a lot of of them raw (for example: vegans and people that juice everyday) and also living in an area where iodine is lacking.  So, cook it before you eat it and also throw in some high iodine food such as seafood and seaweed in the mix of your diet.  Variety and moderation is always your best friend.

If you have kidney problems or is on blood thinning medication,  Kale is not the vegetables for you because it is high in potassium and Vitamin K which could provides adverse effects in combinations of the medication that you are currently taking.

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