Kale is a type of cabbage related to collard greens, brussels sprouts, and broccoli. It may just be my new favorite vegetable, which isn’t surprising since I love broccoli and brussel sprouts so much. And it’s a good thing too- this powerhouse vegetable is packed with nutrients and has unique properties that are especially beneficial for women.
A 1 cup serving of cooked kale is an excellent source of the fat soluble vitamins K & E, is rich in vitamin C and manganese, and also contains a fair amount of fiber and calcium. All of the nutrients in Kale serve many functions, but I’m going to try and limit the benefits to the ones that are helpful for women’s health.
Vitamin K promotes bone formation and repair, which may help prevent osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, the thinning of bone tissue, is a common problem among older women. Exercise and a healthy diet that includes calcium and the vitamins K and D are essential to building bone density while young and keeping it as you age.
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant vital for eye and skin health. As an antioxidant, vitamin A fights against damage in the body and skin caused by the sun, pollution, and regular aging. Regular intake of this vitamin helps prevent wrinkles, fine lines, and even acne. You can eat your way to beautiful skin :) This vitamin also supports healthy bones and is important for fetal growth during pregnancy. FYI: vitamin A in its pure form (in supplements) is toxic with a prolonged intake of large doses!
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that promotes graceful aging in conjunction with vitamin E. It is critical to the formation of collagen, a protein found in connective tissue including the skin. Without vitamin C, collagen formation will stop and the skin will not be able to repair itself. Vitamin C also enhances the absorption of iron to help prevent or reverse the anemia that affects so many females today.
Manganese is a trace mineral that helps the body utilize vitamin C, E, and iron. It is important in bone formation and reproductive health, especially during lactation.
As a cruciferous vegetable, Kale helps prevent cancer when eaten regularly. More specifically, Kale lowers the risk of breast, ovary, colon, bladder, and prostate cancer due to its abundance of nutrients and the phytochemical glucosinolate, which the body converts to a special cancer preventative compound.
Eaten raw, kale is bitter and tough, but a little time in the kitchen brings out its a natural sweetness (same goes for men LoL). I was first introduced to kale many years ago in a delicious stew my dad made from a magazine recipe. I recreated the stew for a project in 6th grade and my teacher loved it so much, she asked to share it with all the other teachers at lunch. ^^
Here is my version of the recipe, a rich, hearty, and slightly spicy stew that will warm you up during these chilly winter months. You’ll need a big ol’ pot for this- I got to use that beautiful green dutch oven again :D
Measurements are approximate.
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2-3 bulbs garlic, diced
4-5 links jalapeno sausage, sliced (don’t buy low fat sausage because the fat helps absorption of the skin-loving fat soluble vitamins <3)
2-3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 can cooked beans, drained (I used white beans, lima or black are also good)
1 bunch curly kale, washed, destemmed, and chopped
2-4 cups broth or water
other vegetables as you see fit (carrots and celery would be tasty)
salt, pepper, and cayenne powder to taste to taste.
1. After heating up the pot and olive oil, brown sausage on both sides. Add onion and cook until translucent, then add garlic and cook until fragrant.
2. Add all other ingredients except kale, making sure broth covers all ingredients. Bring to a boil then simmer until potatoes are cooked.
3. Add kale and continue to simmer just until it loses it’s bright color, or until it is no longer bitter.