This time of year, as the temperature cools, a molecular miracle is happening on farms everywhere: the kale is getting even better. Touched by the chill, kale gets sweeter, as the sugars start to concentrate. And as the rest of the garden succumbs to the winter, kale stands strong.
Kale is a frequent topic of conversation in my life, especially as we ramp up to National Kale Day on October 1, which I cofounded. As kale has gained popularity, I’ve heard some scary comments from people who just don’t know better. Like the woman who recently told me, with a knowing smile, that we “don’t absorb any nutrients from kale.” I’ve heard everything from worries that kale is harmful to human health to the misperception that it’s a new food, so I thought it was time to set the record straight.
Here are 17 things I wish everyone knew about kale:
1. A serving of kale has more absorbable calcium than a small carton of milk. #Gotkale?
2. Kale is medicine.
Modern health depends on eating more whole foods and plants, like kale. The mission of National Kale Day October 1 is to help change how we eat for the better. With your food choices impacting everything from your personal health to environmental health, it’s arguable that the fate of the planet depends upon us all eating more kale.
3. Kale tops the scale of nutrient density.
It gives you more nutritional bang for your buck. Example? 1 cup of raw kale has just 33 calories yet contains 684% of vitamin K, 134% of vitamin C, 206% of Vitamin A plus iron, folate, omega-3s, magnesium, calcium, iron, fiber, and 2 grams of protein. BAM! That’s nutrient density.
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