Massage kale?… Yes I did just tell you to do that, but before you start thinking about how ridiculous that sounds, hear me out. There’s method to this madness.
Firstly let’s talk kale. This popular leafy green has been touted a superfood. But to be honest I’m not into following food trends or the latest superfoods fad. If I was, I’m pretty sure kale has come and gone anyway. What I love to eat is fresh, seasonal, delicious whole foods that just so happen to be good for you. As far as superfoods go, I wholeheartedly believe that the best superfoods are a variety of plant-based foods that nourish our body with all the micro-nutrients we need. So whilst our dear old kale certainly packs a nutritional punch, and is high on my list of foods to include regularly in your diet, aim to eat a huge variety of wholefoods for optimal health.
Kaling Me Softly…
Kale can be an acquired taste; some love it, some hate. Before you turn your nose up, let me give you some reasons to learn to love it (massaging it makes it taste better!).
Kale is a bitter green leafy cruciferous vegetable, part of the Brassica family. It has been labelled a super food as it’s packed with antioxidants which help to lower oxidative stress, anti-inflammatory benefits, cancer protective compounds, cholesterol lowering properties, and nutrients that support the body’s detoxification system.
A quick run down of the nutrient profile of raw kale:
- Significant source of vitamin K
- Rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese
- Good source of thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin E and several minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus
- Source of carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin
The source of fiber in kale gives it it’s cholesterol lowering ability . In the colon, fiber binds to cholesterol carrying bile acids, which can then be excreted from the body. Kale’s anti-inflammatory benefits come from its source of omega-3’s and phytochemical, quercetin, which help to lower oxidative stress that can contribute to diseases .
Kale is a great food to support our bodies own ability to detox, which occurs primarily in the liver. Both glucosinolates and sulfur compounds in kale help to upregulate both Phase I and Phase II detoxification steps . Sulfur compounds have a number of important functions in the body including to produce glutathione, our master antioxidant, also used to rid the body of toxins and chemicals .
Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli and cabbage have been studied in relation to their protective compounds in cancer development (colon, breast, bladder, prostate, and ovarian). Without getting too science-y, cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, which break-down into compounds that have been found to inhibit carcinogenesis (the formation of cancerous cells).
How To Massage Kale: Why It Improves The Taste
I know it seems odd, but massaging your kale for a few minutes significantly improves its taste. After washing and de-stemming (pull the leafy parts off the thick stem, and discard the stem), put your kale into a bowl. Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime, or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Grab bunches of kale and rub them together, working the juices through the leaves for a good 3+mins.
You will see the leaves start to darken, wilt and soften. You are actually breaking down the tough cellulose structure in the leaves that normally only occurs through slow long cooking of kale. Now to have a taste of the kale. If it still tastes quite bitter, keeping massaging. This little hack will actually reduce the bitterness and bring out a sweeter flavour of the kale – perfect for fresh raw summer salads!
Supergreens Detox Salad
- 1 big handful kale, de-stemmed, chopped & ‘massaged’ with juice of 1/2 lime & 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (*see note above)
- 1 small cucumber, peeled into ribbons
- 6 stalks broccolini, chopped in half
- Small handful fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tsp flaxseeds
- 4 brazil nuts, chopped
- 1/2 grapefruit, peeled & sliced into wedges
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 tbls Cobram Estate Premiere Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tbls organic/raw/Manuka honey
- Pinch sea salt
- To prepare the dressing, whisk all ingredients in a small bowl or shake in a salad dressing shaker. Set aside.
- To prepare the salad, wash all veggies well and prepare as above. For the broccolini, chop in half, before lightly steaming for about 3 mins. Once steamed, rinse off under cold water (this stops them continuing to cook so you don’t over cook them – you want them to still have a little crunch).
- Add all salad ingredients to a salad bowl or spread over a large plate for serving.
- Pour dressing over the salad and let it marinade for about 5 minutes before serving so the salad can soak up all the flavours.
Merry Christmas! Wishing you and your family and friends health and happiness now and for the New Year.