Kale: 9 effects & 3 tips for preparation

Just a few years ago, kale was a rather boring vegetable that was mainly served by grandparents. In the meantime, cabbage has become particularly popular with young and health-conscious people and is valued for its effective nutrients. We will enlighten you about the well-tried vegetables.

Green cabbage (kale) – the new trend vegetable

In Germany, kale is mainly known as home cooking . It is usually served with hearty meat dishes and potato dishes. The traditional preparation of cabbage often takes several hours and is therefore very time-consuming. The taste of kale is reminiscent of other types of cabbage, but it is a little tart. In general, it tastes spicy to sweet and is therefore well suited as an accompaniment to hearty food.

In recent years, the dark green cabbage has regained popularity. The once-boring cabbage has been marketed as a versatile superfood. Green cabbage – or in English “kale” – was suddenly a trendy vegetable with valuable nutrients and numerous health-promoting effects.

The cabbage trend made its way to Germany from the USA a few years ago. The hype surrounding cabbage has been going on there for more than ten years. Traditional home cooking, as we know it in this country, is less well known in the USA. The cabbage is usually eaten raw there and is served primarily in the form of salads. Health-conscious consumers in particular are fans of the nutrient-rich cabbage.

It’s no coincidence that kale is so popular these days. Vegetarian and vegan diets are becoming more and more popular. Consumers are looking for alternative vegetables to refresh their diet and get important nutrients. In addition, it is important to many consumers that the food is regional .

Kale is a winter vegetable . Although the cabbage probably originally came from Greece, it also withstands cooler temperatures in Central Europe. Cabbage is also planted in Germany, especially in the northern federal states. It is harvested between October and February. You can recognize kale by its curly and deep green leaves. If the cabbage is exposed to low temperatures before harvest, it develops its very own taste. The low temperatures ensure that the starch it contains is converted into sugar. This gives the cabbage a sweet taste. If the winter is rather mild, the cabbage tastes bitter.

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How healthy kale really is

In the USA, the vegetable is popular mainly because of its health-promoting effects. For example, it is said to help with cancer and diabetes and even prevent Alzheimer’s. We explain what the hype about cabbage is all about.

Nutritional value per 100 grams of fresh kale
  • Calories 45 kcal
  • carbohydrates 2.5 g
  • Protein 4.3g
  • Fat 0.9g
  • Dietary fiber 4.2 g
  • vitamins
    • Vitamin A 0.8 mg
    • Vitamin C 105 mg
    • Vitamin E 1.7 mg
  • minerals
    • iron 1.9 mg
    • Zinc 0.3 mg
    • Magnesium 31 mg
    • Calcium 212 mg
    • Potassium 451mg

Vitamin C as an antioxidant

Kale impresses with its high vitamin C content, putting even lemons in the shade. 100 grams of fresh vegetables contain 105 milligrams of vitamin C. That already covers the daily needs of an adult.

Vitamin C has many important functions in the body. It is an antioxidant that inhibits harmful oxygen radicals in the body, protecting against premature aging and serious diseases. Free radicals are caused by environmental influences such as UV radiation and can damage enzymes in the cell. Antioxidants such as vitamin C can neutralize these radicals and protect the cells.

In addition, the vitamin strengthens the immune system and promotes metabolic processes in the body. For example, it is involved in the formation of white blood cells and antibodies . The vitamin is also essential for a healthy complexion . It keeps connective tissues tight by promoting the production of collagen in the body. Collagen is a protein that is largely found in connective tissue. The protein is also important for bones, teeth, tendons and cartilage. You can learn more about vitamin C in this post.

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Calcium strengthens bones

Calcium has important functions in the body. It is best known for its effect on bones and teeth . The mineral accumulates in the bones and teeth and ensures the strength of the tissue there. Calcium also plays a role in blood clotting and in the nervous system . Since the body needs calcium for these processes, it takes the nutrient from the bones when there is a deficiency. This is how osteoporosis can develop.Kale also contains almost as much calcium as milk. While a glass of milk with around 250 milliliters contains around 300 milligrams of calcium, kale has a calcium content of up to 200 milligrams per 100 grams.

Cell protection by vitamin E

In addition, kale contains a comparatively large amount of vitamin E. Just 100 grams of fresh cabbage can contain up to 1.7 milligrams of the important vitamin. The daily requirement for an adult is between 12 and 14 milligrams.

Vitamin E has various functions in the body. Like vitamin C, it is one of the antioxidants and thus contributes to cell protection . With its antioxidant effect, the vitamin strengthens the immune system by fighting inflammation. Vitamin E is also particularly effective on the skin and is therefore often used in skin care products. It strengthens the skin barrier and can protect it from irritation and stress. In addition, it moisturizes and ensures a supple complexion. You can learn more about vitamin E in this post .

Good eyes with vitamin A

The green cabbage also has a relatively high content of vitamin A. 100 grams of fresh cabbage can contain up to 0.8 milligrams of the important vitamin. This covers the daily needs of an adult woman. Men need about 1.0 milligrams of vitamin A per day.

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Vitamin A or provitamin A (usually in the form of carotenoids) performs important functions for vision. It is essential for the formation of visual pigments , which your body needs, among other things, to distinguish between light and dark. Vitamin A is also important for cell protection and the immune system. It helps in the formation of white blood cells , stabilizes the skin and mucous membranes, making them more resistant to viruses and bacteria. You can find out more about the important vitamin here .

Chlorophyll for blood formation

Kale gets its name from its dark green leaves. The darker the cabbage leaves, the more chlorophyll they contain. Chlorophyll is a plant pigment that plants need for photosynthesis. In the human body, the secondary plant substance acts as an antioxidant and can thus render harmful substances in the body harmless. Blood formation can also benefit from the plant pigment. The chemical structure of chlorophyll is similar to that of the red blood pigment hemoglobin. So it can support the oxygen transport in the veins.

low calorie

Kale can also be consumed during diets. It is low in calories and contains little fat. 100 grams of fresh kale has only about 45 calories and less than 1 gram of fat. It is therefore very suitable for any diet. You can also eat cabbage with diets that want to achieve a quick effect. It provides important nutrients that the body needs to function optimally, but does not burden it with extra calories.

For example, kale contains a lot of vitamin E, which is otherwise mainly found in high-calorie and high-fat foods such as nuts and oils. Although these foods are part of a healthy diet and provide the body with essential fatty acids, they can mitigate the effects of a strict diet due to their calorie density. Here’s what you need to know about losing weight fast.

High in fiber

Although kale is low in calories, it is high in fiber. Dietary fibers ensure, among other things, a longer feeling of satiety . This can be especially helpful during a diet. In addition, fiber can lower blood cholesterol levels. When there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it builds up in the arteries, causing them to narrow. Such narrowing can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks.

Intestinal problems such as constipation can also be reduced with an adequate fiber intake. However, too much fiber in the daily food intake can promote flatulence.

Cancer prevention with kale

A study by the University of Oldenburg and Jacobs University in Bremen found that kale can prevent cancer. It contains numerous cancer-preventing substances, putting other vegetables such as broccoli in the shade. The reason for this effect is the mustard oils that form when the cabbage is chopped up. These can act against cancer cells and protect the cells from damage. In addition to kale, many other types of cabbage such as Chinese cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts contain the valuable mustard oil, but in much smaller doses.

side effects

Kale is very well tolerated, regional and has many benefits for your health. However, as with many other types of cabbage, flatulence can occur. Sensitive people who tend to have a bloated stomach should therefore only eat small amounts of cabbage and avoid eating raw kale.

Tips for preparing kale

So that kale can unfold its health-promoting effects and the ingredients are optimally absorbed by the body, you should pay attention to a few things when preparing the green cabbage. We have put together the most important tips for you.

Prepare kale with fats

Kale itself has very little fat. Nevertheless, the cabbage should at best be prepared with fatty foods such as oils so that the body can absorb the nutrients better. While a green smoothie made with kale is healthy, it lacks healthy fats, which are essential for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A and E.

Nevertheless, the traditional way of preparing meat dishes containing fat is not healthy either. It mainly contains saturated fatty acids, which increase the cholesterol level in the blood. We recommend adding good oils such as sesame oil, which also tastes great with kale and contains many unsaturated fatty acids.

Do not overcook the cabbage

Contrary to the traditional recipe, you should not overcook kale. A long cooking time ensures that important nutrients in the cabbage are lost. It is better to fry the cabbage briefly in a little oil or to blanch it in a little salted water for a few minutes. You can then process the cabbage or eat it straight away.

Gentle preparation is important so that heat-sensitive vitamins are at least partially preserved. Vitamin C, for example, is heat-sensitive. After 5 minutes of cooking, a third of the important vitamin can be lost. Other vitamins, on the other hand, can be better absorbed by the body after cooking. This includes, for example, vitamin A.

Massage raw kale

If the kale is prepared raw, you can massage it beforehand to make it easier to chew . This sounds strange at first, but it makes the sheet softer and easier to work with.

Drizzle the kale leaf with a little lemon juice and olive oil. Now you can easily massage this with your hands. You repeat this process with each individual sheet. Then you can process the cabbage into a salad.

buy kale

Kale is especially popular during the cold winter months. Since the vegetables are harvested during the winter months, you can keep them fresh at this time. In summer, on the other hand, you have to use the deep-frozen version. Here, too, the important vitamins and minerals of the vegetables are preserved.

When buying the fresh vegetables, the cabbage leaves should be dark green and juicy. You can test the freshness of the cabbage by rubbing the leaves together. If it makes a squeaking sound, the kale is fresh. It is better to avoid kale with yellow and greyish leaves. In this case, the cabbage is already old and has probably already lost some nutrients. If you want to do without harmful fertilizers such as nitrates, you should pay attention to organic quality . Fresh cabbage should be stored in the fridge. It stays there for about four to five days.

Fresh kale is readily available in any supermarket during the winter months. You can get kale in jars and from the freezer all year round. There are now countless products with kale as an ingredient. There are smoothies, juices and chips made from the nutrient-rich vegetables. Dietary supplements such as powders and capsules can also be obtained with the vegetables. In terms of price, these are usually between 8 and 15 euros.

Green cabbage from the jar

Of course, fresh cabbage is the best option. However, if the vegetables are not in season and you still don’t want to do without them, you have to resort to an alternative. As a rule, most types of vegetables are also available as frozen foods or in jars. While frozen vegetables retain most of their nutrients and are frozen fresh, jarred vegetables are often treated with preservatives. In addition, some nutrients are lost over time when stored in the glass and the quality of the cabbage also decreases in terms of taste. It is therefore advisable to use frozen vegetables.


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