By MADHURA NADARAJAH
The “superfood” movement began with mason jars full of chia seeds and blended beets, or perhaps a plate of stir-fried quinoa for some bearded consumers dressed in Lululemon jumpers. Now, the only remaining buzzword from this movement is kale.
The movement’s prominence in society is still evident, but has dwindled since its beginning. Superfoods were headed toward the path of the forgotten fads that streamed our Instagram feeds. In almost a blink of an eye, superfoods were being replaced with the revival of brunch. Despite the brevity of the superfood fad, one particular vegetable has remained at the top of the proverbial food chain— kale. The versatility of kale’s production and its substantial health benefits are the reasons why consuming kale has become a lifestyle and not a temporary fad. In fact, kale is a superfood that everyone should incorporate into their diet because it helps with an individual’s overall well-being.
Usually the saying goes the darker the green, the mightier the food. Kale takes the title as the mightiest among the superfood vegetables because of its dark green hues. According to fellow kale enthusiast Dr. Drew Ramsey, author of the cookbook 50 Shades of Kale, the superfood contains more than 900 percent of vitamin K, 695 percent of vitamin A, and 14 percent of calcium. This is substantially higher than other vegetables such as beets and carrots. The high vitamin levels help with the digestion of food. Additionally, vitamin K has been known for fighting off cancer-causing agents and helping people who have Alzheimer’s. The calcium level in kale helps with bone durability. This is especially great for people who suffer from a lactose allergy and cannot drink calcium-filled milk. Perhaps the most surprising quality of kale, especially to meat lovers, is that it has more iron than beef. This is important because iron helps the flow of blood in the body.
If the nutritional value does not urge you to go to the store and buy kale, perhaps its versatile use will. As explained in 50 Shades of Kale, the superfood comes in four different types: curly, lacinato, redbor and Siberian. Curly kale and lacinato kale are the most popular types; curly kale can be found in most markets and lacinato kale is known for its dinosaur-like bumps. Redbor kale and Siberian kale are slightly red in appearance. The former is used more for garnishing and the latter is harder to find, but has a sweeter taste. In fact, the redder the kale, the sweeter it is – Redbor is typically preferred by kale newbies. Do not worry, the red kale still carries the equivalent number of nutrients as the green kale.
Unfortunately, many people feel like they are sacrificing taste for health when they eat kale. “For gaining significant amounts of additional nutrients, the consumer is giving up a lot of taste compared to other green such as spinach,” said senior education major Kyle Mt. Pleasant.
In response to kale critics, people should know that kale can go into the body in a variety ways. 50 Shades of Kale provides 50 kale recipes. Additionally, each way provides the beneficial nutrients and is aesthetically pleasing enough to be featured on Instagram. For starters, kale can be eaten raw. This way is usually served as an accompaniment for entrees like grilled tilapia or as the green base for salads. Another way to cook kale is to sauté it. Kale’s natural salty taste lends it to be super savory when sautéed. This is great for omelets, especially with those recipes calling for few ingredients because of the thickness of sautéed kale. Another popular dish is kale chips which are made by baking in the oven on low heat for about half an hour. Perhaps the most famous way kale is consumed is in its liquid form. Kale juice or smoothies are a quick way to get the nutrients into the body. Moreover, blending the kale juice with other fruits is great for a kale newbie. This is because it introduces people to kale in a gradual way.
No matter what way kale is put in the body, everyone should incorporate kale into their lifestyle. It is a powerful vegetable that has a multitude of benefits that everyone can profit from. While other food fads come and go, the kale bandwagon will never run out of gas.