In the color spectrum, green is at the center of the rainbow, representing balance, healing, emotional stability, love, peace and rejuvenation. Green foods are power packed with nutrients, energizing, detoxifying, rebuilding and immune strengthening. As greens grow, they provide oxygen for people and the planet. Green foods are rich in chlorophyll, a potent collector of solar energy.
One supergreen is kale (Brassica oleracea), a member of the Brassicaceae (Cruciferous) Family, making it a relative of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Native to Asia Minor, it is considered the closest relative to wild cabbage. The species name, oleracea means "a garden herb used in cooking."
Kale and collards are very similar, but kale often has curly leaves, and where collards thrive in a warmer climates, kale survives in a cooler one. Flowering kale is edible, but not as tender as other varieties (There are no poisonous members of the Brassicaceae Family!).
Kale benefits the stomach and helps relieve lung congestion. It has been used to treat constipation, obesity, dental problems, pyorrhea, arthritis, gout, skin disorders, ulcers and to rejuvenate the liver. All members of this family contain antioxidant indoles, which protect against colon, breast and lung cancer. Kale also has antiseptic properties.
Kale is considered warming, sweet with a slightly bitter-pungent flavor, similar to cabbage. Kale is rich in calcium, iron, potassium, sulfur, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and folic acid. One cup of kale has more calcium than one cup of milk. Many greens are high in oxalic acid, a chemical that can bind with calcium, forming calcium oxalate, which if consumed excessively can inhibit calcium absorption. However, kale is low in oxalic acid.
Select tender, dark green, or even bluish-green leaves, avoiding those that are
yellowed. You can cut off the bottoms and large middle ribs, as they are quite fibrous. Kale can be added to vegetable juices, chopped fine and added to salads as well as steamed, stir fried or made into soup. Some may find that kale is cleansing. The addition of a bit of ginger, cumin or caraway can ease it's digestability.
Kale is easy to grow, tolerates cold weather and is quick to harvest. They are best when young and tender. According to traditional folklore, eating greens promotes prosperity. Now will you eat your greens?
(Ready in a minute!)
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped fine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Celtic salt
1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
Toss everything. Then "massage" the seasonings into the kale. (Serves 2-4)
For a complete meal, add an avocado, tomato or a few nuts or olives. You've got lunch!
Brigitte Mars, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, is a nutritional consultant who has been working with Natural Medicine for over 40 years. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University, Omega, Boulder College of Massage, and Bauman Holistic College of Nutrition and has a private practice. Brigitte is the author of twelve books, including The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Beauty by Nature, Addiction Free Naturally, Healing Herbal Teas, and Rawsome!. Click here for more healthy living articles, raw food recipes, videos, workshops, books, and more at brigittemars.com.
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