What is Kale?
Kale is a green leafy vegetable that is easy to recognize with its distinctive curly, dark green leaves at the end of long stems. It is usually found in the produce section near the spinach, chard, and other green, leafy vegetables. Kale is a member of the Brassica family which also includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and collard greens. These cruciferous vegetables are known for their superior nutritional value, containing high levels of vitamins and minerals, as well as disease-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants. Kale is a particularly rich source of vitamins A, C, K and manganese, and also contains high amounts of calcium, copper, potassium, several B vitamins, iron, magnesium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamin E and lutein. Kale is an excellent source of dietary fiber, and is very low in calories, fat and sodium.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, kale is a source of sulfur-containing compounds called sulforaphanes. These compounds fight diseases by triggering the production of detoxifying enzymes that lower the risk of cancer, protect blood vessels from damage by diabetes, and inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori, which causes inflammation and is linked to ulcers and stomach cancer.