Ingredient of the Month 15: Kale
L-R: Purple curly kale, cavalo nero, ragged Jack
|Jersey Cabbage, a traditional kale from the Channel Islands|
|Ragged Jack, another heritage kale from the UK|
- There are 45 different flavonoids in kale, which include kaempferol and quercetin. These are both antioxidant and antinflammatory and great for preventing/ alleviating chronic inflammation and oxidative stress (the damage that free radicals do).
- One of kale's more well-known and researched benefits is that it contains a double whammy against cancer: first up is sulphoraphane, a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Chopping the kale finely will bring this out more, but boiling will decrease the sulphoraphane levels. (It has been found, however, that steaming or stir-frying kale don't result in much of a loss.) Kale's anti-cancer weapons number 2 are isothiocyanates (ITCs) which can significantly lower the risk of cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate. One of these is indole-3-carbinol, which actually detoxes and repairs the body at DNA level, and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.
- We all know that green vegetables are a great source of fibre, but did you know that the fibre-related components in steamed kale can also lower chloresterol levels? They do this by binding together with bile acids in the digestive tract to excrete them more effectively. (Raw kale also does this, but not quite as well.)