Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pickled Pumpkin

A pumpkin stem.Image via Wikipedia

A original recipe  is  pickled pumpkin:
5 pounds of  pumpkin
3 red capsicum
3 cloves of garlic
2 table spoons of fresh grated ginger
0.5 pound of green apples
3 ounces of sea salt
Peel the pumpkin (later you can put the peel on the bottom of the pickle jar).
Cut the pumpkin, apples, tomatoes and capsicums into dices of 0.5 inch, mix it with the herbs and the salt, add  bottled water till the pickle pot is full.
Pickle for at least 5 days, put everything in a tupperware box in your fridge for at least one month.
Bon apetit.
Even kids will love this pickle.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Cabbage Rolls

Here a dish that you can make for a picnic or to take to school or to the office.
Take a white cabbage (or Nappa cabbage), take off the leaves and cook every leaf during 8 minutes in salted water (the leaves peel easier if you put the cabbage for 4 days in the refrigerator). Take spring onions and cook the green for 15 seconds, those will  be the "ropes" to tie your rolls.
As filling you can use everything of course, here I used cooked brown rice, cooked lentils, grated carrot, and a miso tahini sauce.
You can add pickled vegetables, seaweed, cooked broccoli, etc....

Just cut the hard corner from the cabbage leaf, cut it fine and add it to the filling. 4 rolls is about an adult persons meal.
This is Yin -2 on my Yin Yang scale, so good for everybody, sick or healthy, what ever climate you live in.
Don't forget, the better you chew, the better you digest!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pumpkin Chips

Today I made pumpkin chips: as pumpkin is a vegetable (Yin), but more on the Yang side, and we dehydrate it, and we add salt, this is a very healthy (balanced) recipe, I give it a zero on my scale from Yang to Yin, so that is the best score ever.
Ok take about 500 grams (18 ounces) of pumpkin, slice it in slices of about 2 mm thick(0.08"), put it in a bowl with 1 table spoon of sesame oil, 1 tea spoon of natural sea salt, one tea spoon of dried ginger, and 1 teaspoon of the herb that you like, and toss it a bit so everything is well covered.

Put it in the dehydrator, (if you do not have one, try your oven, but then you have to experiment with time and temperature), put your dehydrator on 5 hours on level 3.
If you have friends visiting you, double the salt, if you have children between 7 and 12 , only 1/2 teaspoon of salt, children younger than 7, no salt at all.

Seaweed Crackers

This is a delicious and healthy recipe to replace potato chips.
1 x 4 inch strip dried kombu, kelp or wakame
Water for soaking
1/2 cup flaxseeds (soaked overnight)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked overnight) + 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (soaked overnight)
1 TBS fresh grated ginger
2 TBS tamari
Cayenne pepper and Sea Salt to taste
This is Yin -1 on my scale.
Soak the seaweed, flaxseed, sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds overnight. Chop the seaweed, soaked flaxseed and 3/4 cup water in a blender, add the onions, ginger, soy sauce, seasonings, and pureed mixture on high speed until uniform in consistency. Attention, it is very sticky.
Be sure to add enough water, as it should get liquid, the more liquid, the finer the crackers Pour unto dehydrator sheets, and spread evenly into a thin layer, using a spatula.
Dehydrate at 110 degrees F (position 2) for about 10-12 hours or until dry. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.
This recipe is based on a recipe from the book:
Seaweed: Nature's Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease and Revitalizing Body & Soul, by Valerie Genneri Cooksley, RN.

Thanks to Leora to bring this to my attention.

Kale, Thai Style


1 pack of fine brown rice noodles (mie)
a few branches of kale, sliced
100 gr sliced carrot
5 cloves of garlic, crushed (optional if you want to make it more macrobiotic)
1 TBS fresh ginger
7 dried Shitake mushrooms, soaked
soy sauce
sesame oil
4 cups of water.
Without the garlic, I give this a Yin -1 on my scale .

Heat a pan and add 1 TBS of oil and the soaked rice noodles, and stirr a few minutes and add the soy sauce. Put the noodles in a bowl , put 2 TBS of oil in the pan and fry the garlic, till really brown,add the water and all the other ingredienst except the miso and the arrowroot.

Cook till the carrots are almost tender add the miso, stirr well , put on a smaller fire, add arrowroot to cold water, stirr well and add it to your stew.
Let on the small fire for a minute while stirring, and put the stew on the noodles.


The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around. Although it can be found in markets throughout the year, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste and is more widely available.

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts that have gained recent widespread attention due to their health promoting, sulfur-containing phytonutrients. It is easy to grow and can grow in colder temperatures where a light frost will produce especially sweet kale leaves.

Health Benefits

Organosulfur Phytonutrients that Help Prevent Cancer. A member of the Brassica family, kale is a great food if you're looking to protect your health and enjoy a delicious food at the same time. It's the organosulfur compounds in this food that have been main subject of phytonutrient research, and these include the glucosinolates and the methyl cysteine sulfoxides.

Although there are over 100 different glucosinolates in plants, only 10-15 are present in kale and other Brassicas. Yet these 10-15 glucosinolates appear able to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers, including breast and ovarian cancers.

Exactly how kale's sulfur-containing phytonutrients prevent cancer is not yet fully understood, but several researchers point to the ability of its glucosinolates and cysteine sulfoxides to activate detoxifing enzymes in the liver that help neutralize potentially carcinogenic substances. (These detoxifying enzymes include quinone reductases and glutathione-S-transferases). For example, scientists have found that sulforaphane, a potent glucosinolate phytonutrient found in kale and other Brassica vegetables, boosts the body's detoxification enzymes, potentially by altering gene expression, thus helping to clear potentially carcinogenic substances more quickly.

Sulforaphane, which is formed when cruciferous vegetables such as kale are chopped or chewed, triggers the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing chemicals, inhibits chemically-induced breast cancers in animal studies, induces colon cancer cells to commit suicide.

Sulforaphane may also offer special protection to those with colon cancer-susceptible genes, suggests a study conducted at Rutgers University and published online in the journal Carcinogenesis.

In this study, researchers sought to learn whether sulforaphane could inhibit cancers arising from one's genetic makeup. Rutgers researchers Ernest Mario, Ah-Ng Tony Kong and colleagues used laboratory animals bred with a genetic mutation that switches off the tumor suppressor gene known as APC, the same gene that is inactivated in the majority of human colon cancers. Animals with this mutation spontaneously develop intestinal polyps, the precursors to colon cancer. The study found that animals who were fed sulforaphane had tumors that were smaller, grew more slowly and had higher apoptotic (cell suicide) indices. Additionally, those fed a higher dose of sulforaphane had less risk of developing polyps than those fed a lower dose.

The researchers found that sulforaphane suppressed certain kinase enzymes. Kinases are expressed not only in animals, but also in humans, and the ones suppressed by sulforaphane are involved in activities that promote colon cancer. According to lead researcher, Dr. Kong, "Our study corroborates the notion that sulforaphane has chemopreventive activity…Our research has substantiated the connection between diet and cancer prevention, and it is now clear that the expression of cancer-related genes can be influenced by chemopreventive compounds in the things we eat."

Human population as well as animal studies consistently show that diets high in cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, are associated with lower incidence of a variety of cancers, including lung, colon, breast and ovarian cancer. Now, research published in the International Journal of Cancer (Zhao H, Lin J) suggests that bladder cancer can join the list.

University of Texas researchers analyzed the diets of 697 newly diagnosed bladder cancer cases and 708 healthy controls matched by age, gender and ethnicity. Average daily intake of cruciferous vegetables was significantly lower in those with bladder cancer than in healthy controls.

Those eating the most cruciferous vegetables were found to have a 29% lower risk of bladder cancer compared to participants eating the least of this family of vegetables.

Crucifers' protective benefits were even more pronounced in three groups typically at higher risk for bladder cancer: men, smokers, and older individuals (aged at least 64).

Diagnosed in about 336,000 people every year worldwide, bladder cancer is three times more likely to affect men than women, according to the European School of Oncology.

Crucifers' well known cancer-fighting properties are thought to result from their high levels of active phytochemicals called glucosinolates, which our bodies metabolize into powerful anti-carcinogens called isothiocyanates.

Isothiocyanates offer the bladder, in particular, significant protection, most likely because the majority of compounds produced by isothiocyanate metabolism travel through the bladder en route to excretion in the urine, suggested the researchers.

Kale Protective against Ovarian Cancer

In addition to its glucosinolates, kale is rich in a flavonoid called maempferol. Research calculating flavonoid intake in 66,940 women enrolled in the Nurses Health Study between 1984 and 2002 revealed that women whose diets provided the most kaempferol had a 40% reduction in risk of ovarian cancer, compared to women eating the least kaempferol-rich foods. In addition to kale, foods richest in kaempferol include non-herbal tea (like green tea), onions, broccoli, leeks, spinach, and blueberries.

A significant 34% reduction in ovarian cancer risk was also seen in women with the highest intake of the flavone luteolin (found in citrus).(Gates MA, Tworoger SS, Int J Cancer)

Optimize Your Cells' Detoxification / Cleansing Ability

For about 20 years, we've known that many phytonutrients work as antioxidants to disarm free radicals before they can damage DNA, cell membranes and fat-containing molecules such as cholesterol. Now, new research is revealing that phytonutrients in crucifers, such as kale, work at a much deeper level. These compounds actually signal our genes to increase production of enzymes involved in detoxification, the cleansing process through which our bodies eliminate harmful compounds.

The phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables initiate an intricate dance inside our cells in which gene response elements direct and balance the steps among dozens of detoxification enzyme partners, each performing its own protective role in perfect balance with the other dancers. The natural synergy that results optimizes our cells' ability to disarm and clear free radicals and toxins, including potential carcinogens, which may be why cruciferous vegetables appear to significantly lower our risk of cancer.

Recent studies show that those eating the most cruciferous vegetables have a much lower risk of prostate, colorectal and lung cancer-even whencompared to those who regularly eat other vegetables:

In a study of over 1,200 men conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, those eating 28 servings of vegetables a week had a 35% lower risk of prostate cancer, but those consuming just 3 or more servings of cruciferous vegetables each week had a 44% lower prostate cancer risk.

In the Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer, in which data was collected on over 100,000 people for more than 6 years, those eating the most vegetables benefited with a 25% lower risk of colorectal cancers, but those eating the most crucifers did almost twice as well with a 49% drop in their colorectal cancer risk.

A study of Chinese women in Singapore, a city in which air pollution levels are often high putting stress on the detoxification capacity of residents' lungs, found that in non-smokers, eating cruciferous vegetables lowered risk of lung cancer by 30%. In smokers, regular cruciferous vegetable consumption reduced lung cancer risk an amazing 69%!

How many weekly servings of cruciferous vegetables do you need to lower your risk of cancer? Just 3 to 5 servings-less than one serving a day! (1 serving = 1 cup)

To get the most benefit from your cruciferous vegetables like kale, be sure to choose organically grown varieties (their phytonutrient levels are higher than conventionally grown), and steam lightly (this method of cooking has been shown to not only retain the most phytonutrients but to maximize their availability).

For a brief overview of the process through which cruciferous vegetables boost our ability to detoxify or cleanse harmful compounds and examples of how specific phytonutrients in crucifers work together to protect us against cancer, see our FAQ: Optimizing Your Cells' Detoxification/Cleansing Ability by Eating Cruciferous Vegetables.

Carotenoids that Lower Cataract Risk

In addition to its unique organosulfur compounds, kale is well known for its carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids act like sunglass filters and prevent damage to the eyes from excessive exposure to ultraviolet light. Studies have shown the protective effect of these nutrients against the risk of cataracts, where increased eye cloudiness leads to blurred vision. In one study, people who had a diet history of eating lutein-rich foods like kale had a 50% lower risk for new cataracts.

Kale also emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of traditional nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, calcium, copper, vitamin B6, and potassium. This combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients makes kale a health superstar!

Kale Gets an A+ for its Pro-vitamin A

Our food ranking system qualified kale as an excellent source of vitamin A on account of its concentrated beta-carotene content. Once inside the body, beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A, so when you eat kale, it's like getting both these beneficial nutrients at once. One cup of kale contains just 36.4 calories, but provides 192.4% of the daily value for vitamin A.

Both vitamin A and beta-carotene are important vision nutrients. In a study of over 50,000 female nurses aged 45 to 67, women who consumed the highest dietary amount of vitamin A had a 39% reduced risk of developing cataracts.

Beta-carotene has also been the subject of extensive research in relationship to cancer prevention and prevention of oxygen-based damage to cells. Beta-carotene may help to protect against certain forms of cancer since it belongs to the family of phytonutrients known as carotenoids. In population studies, consuming foods high in carotenoids is consistently found to be associated with a lower risk for various epithelial cancers. (The epithelium includes the cells that cover the entire surface of the body and line most of the internal organs.) In one study of 176 Australian men, researchers examined the diets of of a group treated for skin cancer and a group without cancer. The researchers found that men who ate more foods rich in beta-carotene, like kale, had a statistically lower risk of developing skin cancer.

Promotes Lung Health

If you or someone you love is a smoker, or if you are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke, then making vitamin A-rich foods, such as kale, part of your healthy way of eating may save your life, suggests research conducted at Kansas State University.

While studying the relationship between vitamin A, lung inflammation, and emphysema, Richard Baybutt, associate professor of nutrition at Kansas State, made a surprising discovery: a common carcinogen in cigarette smoke, benzo(a)pyrene, induces vitamin A deficiency.

Baybutt's earlier research had shown that laboratory animals fed a vitamin A-deficient diet developed emphysema. His latest animal studies indicate that not only does the benzo(a)pyrene in cigarette smoke cause vitamin A deficiency, but that a diet rich in vitamin A can help counter this effect, thus greatly reducing emphysema.

Baybutt believes vitamin A's protective effects may help explain why some smokers do not develop emphysema. "There are a lot of people who live to be 90 years old and are smokers," he said. "Why? Probably because of their diet…The implications are that those who start smoking at an early age are more likely to become vitamin A deficient and develop complications associated with cancer and emphysema. And if they have a poor diet, forget it."

If you or someone you love smokes, or if your work necessitates exposure to second hand smoke, protect yourself by making sure that at least one of the World's Healthiest Foods that are rich in vitamin A, such as kale, is a daily part of your Healthiest Way of Eating.

A Healthy Dose of Vitamin C for Antioxidant Protection and Immune Support

Kale is an excellent source of vitamin C-just one cup of this cooked vegetable supplies 88.8% of the daily value for vitamin C. Vitamin C is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, disarming free radicals and preventing damage in the aqueous environment both inside and outside cells. Inside cells, a potential result of free radical damage to DNA is cancer. Especially in areas of the body where cellular turnover is especially rapid, such as the digestive system, preventing DNA mutations translates into preventing cancer. This is why a good intake of vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.

Free radical damage to other cellular structures and other molecules can result in painful inflammation, as the body tries to clear out the damaged parts. Vitamin C, which prevents the free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade, is thus also associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Free radicals also oxidize cholesterol. Only after being oxidized does cholesterol stick to artery walls, building up in plaques that may eventually grow large enough to impede or fully block blood flow, or rupture to cause a heart attack or stroke. Since vitamin C can neutralize free radicals, it can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol.

Vitamin C, which is also vital for the proper function of a healthy immune system, is good for preventing colds and may be helpful in preventing recurrent ear infections.

Protection against Rheumatoid Arthritis

While one study suggests that high doses of supplemental vitamin C makes osteoarthritis, a type of degenerative arthritis that occurs with aging, worse in laboratory animals, another indicates that vitamin C-rich foods, such as kale, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.

The findings, presented in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases were drawn from a study of more than 20,000 subjects who kept diet diaries and were arthritis-free when the study began, and focused on subjects who developed inflammatory polyarthritis and similar subjects who remained arthritis-free during the follow-up period.

Subjects who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C-rich foods were more than three times more likely to develop arthritis than those who consumed the highest amounts.

Manganese-Energy Production Plus Antioxidant Protection

That same cup of kale will also provide you with 27.0% of the day's needs for manganese. This trace mineral helps produce energy from protein and carbohydrates, and is involved in the synthesis of fatty acids that are important for a healthy nervous system and in the production of cholesterol that is used by the body to produce sex hormones. Manganese is also a critical component of an important antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is found exclusively inside the body's mitochondria (the oxygen-based energy factories inside most of our cells) where it provides protection against damage from the free radicals produced during energy production.

A Very Good Source of Fiber

Kale's health benefits continue with its fiber; a cup of kale provides 10.4% of the daily value for fiber, which has been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels thus helping to prevent atherosclerosis. Fiber can also help out by keeping blood sugar levels under control, so kale is an excellent vegetable for people with diabetes. Kale's fiber binds to cancer-causing chemicals, keeping them away from the cells lining the colon, providing yet another line of protection from colon cancer.

Calcium-For A Lot Less Calories and Minus the Fat in Cow's Milk

Kale is also very good source of calcium. Calcium is one of the nutrients needed to make healthy bones, and dairy products are a heavily promoted source of this nutrient. But unlike dairy products, kale is not a highly allergenic food, nor does it contain any saturated fat-plus, a cup of kale supplies 93.6 mg of calcium (9.4% of the daily value for this mineral) for only 36.4 calories. In contrast, a cup of 2% cow's milk provides 296.7 mg of calcium, but the cost is high: 121.2 calories and 14.6% of the day's suggested limit on saturated fat.

Vitamin E-rich Leafy Greens Slow Loss of Mental Function

Mental performance normally declines with age, but the results of Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP) suggest that eating just 3 servings of green leafy, yellow and cruciferous vegetables each day could slow this decline by 40%, suggests a study in the journal Neurology (.Morris MC, Evans DA, et al.) Compared to people who consumed less than one serving of vegetables a day, people who ate at least 2.8 servings of vegetables a day saw their rate of cognitive decline slow by roughly 40%. This decrease is equivalent to about five years of younger age, said lead author Martha Clare Morris, ScD, with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

The prospective cohort study, funded by the National Institute of Aging, used dietary data from 3,718 participants (62% female, 60% African American, average age 74). Mental function was assessed with four different tests: the East Boston Tests of immediate memory and delayed recall, the Mini-Mental State Examination, and the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, taken at the start of the study and then again after 3 and 6 years.

After adjusting the results for potential confounders such as age, sex, race, education, and cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers found that consuming an average of 2.8 vegetable servings each day was associated with a 40% decrease in cognitive decline, compared to those who ate an average of less than one (0.9) serving a day. Of the different types of vegetables, green leafy vegetables had the strongest association, said Dr. Morris.

Surprisingly, no relationship was found between fruit consumption and cognitive decline.

Morris hypothesizes that this may be due to the fact that vegetables, but not fruits, contain high amounts of vitamin E, which helps lower the risk of cognitive decline. Also, vegetables, but not fruits, are typically consumed with a little fat, such as olive oil or salad dressing, which increases the body's ability to absorb vitamin E.

The Rush University researchers plan further research to understand why fruit appears to have little effect and to explore the effects of citrus fruit, specifically, on cognitive decline.

Practical Tip: If you remember to enjoy at least 3 servings of leafy greens each day, you are much more likely to remember other things as well!

Cardiovascular Benefits

Consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, is known to reduce the risk of a number of cancers, especially lung, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancer. Now, research reveals that crucifers provide significant cardiovascular benefits as well.

Researchers from the University of Hawaii have shown that, at the tiny concentration of just 100 micromoles per liter, a phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables, indole-3-carbinol, lowers liver cells' secretion of the cholesterol transporter, apolipoproteinB-100 by 56%! Apolipoprotein B-100 (apoB) is the main carrier of LDL cholesterol to tissues, and high levels have been linked to plaque formation in the blood vessels.

When liver cells were treated with I-3-C, not only was apoB-100 secretion cut by more than half, but significant decreases also occurred in the synthesis of lipids (fats), including triglycerides and cholesterol esters. (Maiyoh GK, Kuh JE, et al., J Nutr.)


Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts that have gained recent widespread attention due to their health-promoting, sulfur-containing phytonutrients. There are several varieties of kale known commonly as curly kale, ornamental kale and dinosaur kale, all of which differ in taste, texture and appearance. The scientific name for kale is Brassica oleracea.

Curly kale has ruffled leaves and a fibrous stalk and is usually deep green in color. It has a lively pungent flavor with delicious bitter peppery qualities.

Ornamental kale is a more recently cultivated species that is oftentimes referred to as salad savoy. Its leaves may either be green, white or purple and its stalks coalesce to form a loosely knit head. Ornamental kale has a more mellow flavor and tender texture.

Dinosaur kale is the common name for the kale variety known as Lacinato. It features dark blue-green leaves that have an embossed texture. It has a slightly sweeter and more delicate taste than curly kale.


Like broccoli, cauliflower and collards, kale is a descendent of the wild cabbage, a plant thought to have originated in Asia Minor and to have been brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. Curly kale played an important role in early European foodways, having been a significant crop during ancient Roman times and a popular vegetable eaten by peasants in the Middle Ages. English settlers brought kale to the United States in the 17th century.

Both ornamental and dinosaur kale are much more recent varieties. Dinosaur kale was discovered in Italy in the late 19th century. Ornamental kale, originally a decorative garden plant, was first cultivated commercially as in the 1980s in California. Ornamental kale is now better known by the name salad savoy.

How to Select and Store

Look for kale with firm, deeply colored leaves and moist hardy stems. Kale should be displayed in a cool environment since warm temperatures will cause it to wilt and will negatively affect its flavor. The leaves should look fresh, be unwilted, and be free from signs of browning, yellowing and small holes. Choose kale with smaller-sized leaves since these will be more tender and have a more mild flavor than those with larger leaves. Kale is available throughout the year, although it is more widely available, and at its peak, from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring.

Kale should be wrapped in a damp paper towel, placed in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator crisper. It should not be washed before storing since this may cause it to become limp. Kale can be kept in the refrigerator for several days, although it is best when eaten within one or two days after purchase since the longer it is stored, the more bitter its flavor becomes.

How to Enjoy

Other Tips for Preparing Kale:

Before eating or cooking, wash the kale leaves thoroughly under cool running water to remove any sand or dirt that may remain in the leaves. Both the leaves and the stem of kale can be eaten. After removing any roots that remain, you can just cut it into the desired shape and size.

If your recipe calls for the leaves only, they can be easily removed. Just take each leaf in hand, fold it in half lengthwise, hold the folded leaves near the base where they meet the stalk, and with the other hand, gently pull on the stem. You can also use a knife to separate the leaves from the stems.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas:

Healthy sauteed kale with fresh garlic and sprinkle with lemon juice and olive oil before serving.

Braise chopped kale and apples. Before serving, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and chopped walnuts.

Combine chopped kale, pine nuts and feta cheese with whole grain pasta drizzled with olive oil.

The taste and texture of steamed kale makes it a wonderful topping for homemade pizzas.

Individual Concerns

Kale and Oxalates

Kale is among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating kale. Laboratory studies have shown that oxalates may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body. Yet, in every peer-reviewed research study we've seen, the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption is relatively small and definitely does not outweigh the ability of oxalate-containing foods to contribute calcium to the meal plan. If your digestive tract is healthy, and you do a good job of chewing and relaxing while you enjoy your meals, you will get significant benefits - including absorption of calcium - from calcium-rich foods plant foods that also contain oxalic acid. Ordinarily, a healthcare practitioner would not discourage a person focused on ensuring that they are meeting their calcium requirements from eating these nutrient-rich foods because of their oxalate content. For more on this subject, please see "Can you tell me what oxalates are and in which foods they can be found?"

Kale and Goitrogens

Kale contains goitrogens, naturally-occurring substances in certain foods that can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Individuals with already existing and untreated thyroid problems may want to avoid kale for this reason. Cooking may help to inactivate the goitrogenic compounds found in food. However, it is not clear from the research exactly what percent of goitrogenic compounds get inactivated by cooking, or exactly how much risk is involved with the consumption of kale by individuals with pre-existing and untreated thyroid problems. For more on this subject, please see "What are goitrogens and in which foods are they found?"

Kale and Pesticide Residues

Virtually all municipal drinking water in the United States contains pesticide residues, and with the exception of organic foods, so do the majority of foods in the U.S. food supply. Even though pesticides are present in food at very small trace levels, their negative impact on health is well documented. The liver's ability to process other toxins, the cells' ability to produce energy, and the nerves' ability to send messages can all be compromised by pesticide exposure. According to the Environmental Working Group's 2009 report "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides," kale is among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of kale unless it is grown organically.

Nutritional Profile

Kale is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, copper, calcium, vitamin B6 and potassium.