#EdibleFacts: Kale

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It’s January, which means we’ve started yet another new year! For most of us that means making a fresh start with some sort of commitment to better ourselves. And while that task can often seem overwhelming, at Edible Arrangements® we believe that small adjustments, even just incorporating one new ingredient into your routine, can make a big difference. For many, kale is that one new ingredient that helps power their healthy lifestyle. To help, we’d like to share some kale facts and explore the power of kale!

The Power of Kale

Kale, it seems to be everywhere nowadays—doesn’t it? At first, it seemed to be a trend adopted only by celebrities, yoga instructors, and athletes. But over the past few years, kale has somehow integrated itself into almost every grocery store, smoothie shop, and restaurant menu.

The reason why this dark leafy green has risen in popularity is due to the multiple health benefits it provides. For example, did you know kale helps with all of the following things?

  • keep your brain healthy!
  • boosts your immune system!
  • aids in preventing certain cancers!
  • keeps hair and skin looking healthy!

This cruciferous vegetable provides these benefits because it contains high amounts vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron. Tina Paymaster, a certified health and lifestyle coach, describes the impact of these vitamins:

“Vitamin K is important for heart health, blot clotting, bone health, cancer prevention and diabetes prevention. Additionally, Vitamin A helps support skin health and vision. Plus, Vitamin C is important for immune health and joint health, helps to keep the body hydrated and also increases your metabolism.”

5 Interesting Kale Facts

Many of us know about the health benefits, but there are so many other interesting kale facts! For example, the average person in the United States consumes 2-3 cups of kale every year.

  • Kale is inexpensive and easy to grow.

According to the National Kale Day movement, kale would make a great addition to your home garden.

“Kale is easy to grow and generally inexpensive. It’s one of the simplest crops for local farmers to grow, thriving in small plots of land and personal gardens.”

  • Kale comes in multiple varieties.

Many of us think kale is just kale. However, kale actually covers a wide range of varieties, which offer different tastes and even colors.

“[There are] many tastes and colors of the dozens of varieties of kale: lacinato, redbor, Gulag Stars, True Siberian, Red Russian, White Russian, Dwarf Blue Vates, Red Nagoya, Chinese Kale, Sea Kale and the six-foot tall Walking Stick Kale. Try to seek out a kale you have not yet tried.”

  • Kale is the old man on the block.

Although we typically think of the current trend as a kale fad, that is not the case at all. In fact, kale has been providing civilizations around the world with its amazing nutrients for thousands of years. WebMD shares the history of kale.

“Kale is popular now, but people have been growing this super food for more than 2,000 years. Popular in Europe during Roman times and the Middle Ages, it arrived in the U.S. in the 17th century.”

  • Kale derives from a Scottish word.

In previous parts of history, kale was previously referred to as peasant’s cabbage. However, because kale grows very well in cold, wet climates, such as Scotland, the plant now derives its name from Scottish heritage.

“The modern word “kale” came from a Scottish name for the plant, kail. The Scots started using the word “kailyard” to describe a small garden in the 14th century, and the term later came to be associated with a specific style of fiction about rural domestic life.”

  • Kale helps lose weight.

In addition to the health benefits and generous nutrients provided by the plant, kale also contains properties that help with weight loss. For example, Healthline explains how the plant helps manage weight based on its physical properties.

“Kale has several properties that make it a weight loss friendly food. It is very low in calories but still provides significant bulk that should help you feel full. Because of the low calorie and high water content, kale has a low energy density. Eating plenty of foods with a low energy density has been shown to aid weight loss in numerous studies. (Although there is no study directly testing the effects of kale on weight loss, it makes sense that it could be a useful addition to a weight loss diet.)”

Leverage the Benefits of Kale

Now even though you know there are a lot of great benefits associated with eating kale, the reality is that it’s one of the more bitter greens around. As a result, many people simply do not find the taste appealing. However, eating a large, raw kale salad isn’t the only way to incorporate this super green into your diet! Plus, we can incorporate kale into our diet without eating kale salad everyday.

So, if you’re new to the kale game, or hesitant to take the plunge, try one of these subtle options to take advantage of the great benefits while still enjoying something you find tasty:

  • Kale Chips

Kale chips remain one of the all time favorites in the kale community. Why? They are easy to make and tasty! Simply, roast them in the oven to make kale chips. It’s a great alternative to the traditional potato chip. They’ll provide you with a little salt, a little crunch, and none of the guilt. Why do kale chips make a great snack and offer a better alternative to typical chips? Kale chips are customizable and offer the same chip varieties. Don’t take our word for it, learn how make kale chips your own!

“Just as we’re equally partial to potato chip flavors like salt and vinegar or baked harvest cheddar compared to the original, we’re always on the lookout for a way to amp up our olive oil, salt and pepper combo when it comes to the kale variety of crisp.”

Finally, find a great Spicy Sweet Kale Chip recipe that we think is absolutely scrumptious!

  • Incorporate into homestyle meals

Yes, kale offers some amazing flexibility that helps enhance every type of disk. From transforming your BLT sandwich to including with any type of pasta, kale goes well beyond the standard salad. As a result, creative home cooks simple throw some kale into their home cooking and hearty meals! To do so, simple, finely chop a little kale into dishes, which adds some color, texture and enhances the nutritious value of your dish. For example, learn how kale works with an all-time classic dish.

“Yes, adding kale can justify mac and cheese being “healthier”, can’t it? Please say yes because that’s what my conscience was telling me when I wanted to combine two of my top 25 foods all in one pot. Perhaps I’m making up lost time as a kid when all I wanted to eat was mac and cheese, but instead I was fed a healthy diet of fresh fish, greens and rice.”

Interested, read the Creamy Kale Mac & Cheese recipe.

  • Pasta and Pesto

Pasta offers another easy and tasty way to introduce kale into your diet. Many of us garnish our dishes with some oregano or other simple spices. Instead, garnish with chopped kale or simply cook some kale and mix with pasta. Additionally, kale works as a great basil replacement in pesto dishes. These simple changes offer a healthier and for some, more delicious meal!

“Making pesto with kale instead of basil isn’t just healthier, it’s unexpectedly delicious. And it’s a simple way to get kids (or anyone) to enjoy kale. Make this 30-minute dish any weeknight when you’re tight for time, but don’t want to compromise on flavor.”

Want to add this dish to your weekly meals, here is the Rigatoni with Lemony Kale-and-Pecorino Pesto recipe.

Last, but certainly not least, kale smoothies remain one of the easiest ways to incorporate this magical ingredient into your diet. For example, simple add a handful of chopped kale into a your fruit smoothie. Along those lines, try mixing pineapple, apples, and strawberries with some kale for a simple DIY recipe. The sweetness from the fruit helps balance out the bitterness of the kale, resulting in a delicious & healthy drink!

Alternatively, for those like us that are constantly looking to eat right, but are always strapped for time, simply stop by your local Edible Arrangements® store for a fresh treat! Edible offers an outstanding selection of smoothie options, including kale through our Edible To Go® menu options.

So, for all you new to the world of kale—will you give it a try with one of these recipes? Go out, be adventurous! Share your kale facts and your discoveries with us because we’d love to hear how you’re kicking off your #FreshStart!

Sources: Body Mind Green, Healthy Line, Cancer Tutor