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Health food of the month - Curly Kale

April 2011

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Sweet Potatoes



Diet & Supplements Index

It doesn’t look up to much! Curly kale really looks like a sad cross between broccoli and parsley; it also has quite springy leaves which make it difficult to handle and cook.

But that is just the downside. The positives are enormous! Generally curly kale is absolutely packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals – so many good ingredients that curly kale is actually one of the most nutritious green vegetables available.

There are a range of different types of curly kale and each has a slightly different level of great nutrition packed within its leaves.

Curly kaleWhichever type of curly kale you buy, though, you can be sure it will be doing you good. Generally it contains six times more calcium and seven times as much vitamin A as cooked broccoli. It is also high in vitamin C and can provide more calcium for each 100g than milk or yogurt. Kale is also a good source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair cells and has been reported to help block the growth of certain cancer cells.

Even better, kale is quick and easy to cook and tastes great! It can be eaten raw in salads, steamed briefly as a stand alone vegetable accompaniment, or added to a range of various dishes. In Holland it is very popular in a winter dish called stamppot ; in Portugal it is combined with pureed potatoes and a sliced spicy sausage to make a really tasty soup called caldo verde. It is even the traditional accompaniment to Brazil’s national dish of feijoada.

Surprisingly in Germany kale has developed an almost cult following, and around some towns such as Bremen and Hannover there are social clubs that run Grunkohlfahrt, or kale tours where participants visit country inns and eat large quantities of boiled kale.

In Japan kale is a popular dietary supplement known as aojiru (kale juice).

Obviously it seems Britain could be a little behind in its worship of the great vegetable kale! Today though this lovely green vegetable is available practically everywhere, so there is no excuse for any of us to ignore its wonders!


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