Ok, so my little word-play on calisthenics might be a little bit of a stretch, but I like it. Calisthenics comes from the greek word kalos (beautiful) and sthenos (strength), so even though our subject of the day is actually kale–I thought it appropriate to emphasize it’s nutritional strength.
One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.
Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.
Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.
I have always been skeptical of kale’s taste, but I saw a kale pesto recipe in my “True Food” cookbook (by Dr. Andrew Weil) that looked delicious, doable, and healthy. I am not going to put the recipe here, but I found that there are also a lot of kale pesto recipes online. The one I used included kale, olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese — it was a success!
In February, my family has either been on the brink, in the midst of, or recovering from a cold so what better way to get tons of vitamins into your body than smoothies?! If you didn’t read it above, kale has 200% of the daily requirements of vitamin C! Not to mention the other good stuff I put in there…
Here is the recipe:
2 handfuls of spinach
1 handful of kale
2 stalks of celery
1 container (11 oz) of coconut water
1 cup of frozen mango
half a cup of frozen cherries
Blend first 4 ingredients until well blended. Then add remaining ingredients and blend until it is a smoothie consistency.
Here is my honest opinion: it is drinkable. I was definitely skeptical about this one for sure, but it was better than I thought. I didn’t have to force myself to drink it, however, had I not cared about adding all the greens in for the nutritional benefits, I wouldn’t have done it. But seriously, what easier way to get all that nutrition in your system when it’s needed?? Now, let’s see if I can continue to ward off this cold…
One more tip for you: buy pre-washed, packaged kale if it’s more likely to get you to eat it. For the first recipe, I did all the cleaning and cutting. However, when I saw it packaged at the store this week, I knew kale would likely be a regular occupant in my fridge from this point forward.