Glucosinolates are chemicals that, when broken down during chewing and digestion, form substances that researchers have noted help reduce risks for some cancers, according to cancer.gov.
One of the vegetables these glucosinolates are found in is kale. Healthways Fit lists kale among five "superfoods" for those with diabetes. It also lists kale as helpful to those with high blood pressure.
Kale is a vegetable super power, a nutritional power punch that packs a lot of nutrients into a little green leaf. Kale and other greens, such as Swiss chard, are sources for huge amounts of vitamins A and K. Add healthy fatty acids and healthy minerals and you are ready to fight crime.
Kale is a non-starchy vegetable that is a superfood on your plate. Negatives? It is sometimes tough enough to use as Kevlar on your super uniform, it is a little harder to wash due to its heavy texture and it can have a softly bitter aftertaste.
Steamed kale offers an extra benefit of lowering cholesterol. The World's Healthiest Foods claims that "raw kale still has cholesterol-lowering ability — just not as much" as kale that has been steamed.
There are several ways to prepare kale so that the health benefit you receive from ingesting it is not the only reason you venture forth:
• Braising — searing and then stewing — uses moisture, heat and a little time to break down and soften kale's texture. Braising generally makes tough foods a little easier for the system to handle. Sear kale briefly with a little olive oil or put it into a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. It's quite tasty in a sauce. Where Spanish or Swiss chard may break down into indistinguishable pieces, kale will still look exactly like kale.
• Use fresh in thin slices or finely chopped. Remove the thick stems beforehand. A little bit of kale goes a long way in fresh salads.
• Steam or lightly boil for extra cholesterol-fighting ability.
Braised Kale Chicken Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ cups sliced leeks
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 cup sliced carrots
6 cups chicken broth
1½ cups chopped chicken
1 (2-inch) fresh rosemary sprig (remove before serving)
1 can (19 ounces) white beans, drained
1½ cups roughly chopped fresh kale
¼ teaspoon salt to season
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper to season
Heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped leeks and crushed garlic. Cook until tender, approximately 4 minutes. Add carrots and rosemary and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add broth and chicken. Once it has been brought to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add kale and the beans and simmer for about 5 minutes more.
Kale Plum Salad
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound kale
¼ cup sliced almonds, seasoned
2 plums, pitted and cut into medium-sized pieces
2 ounces feta cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix liquid ingredients together in a salad bowl. Then add the remaining ingredients and toss well. Serves four.
— recipes from the kitchen of Jamar Brown