I’d like to talk about the whole cabbage family because it’s one of the most important vegetable families and, certainly, the most diverse. You might have also heard other names for this family like Brassica or Cruciferous. We eat leaves, flowers, seeds and stems of the cabbage family which includes: red, white and green cabbages, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, arugula, Bok Choy, broccoli and cauliflower of all colors, mustard seeds, rutabaga, turnip, kohlrabi, radishes, horseradish, wasabi and many others!
All members of the cabbage family have a pungent taste, from mild, barely noticeable in cauliflower to very well pronounced like in mustard seeds or horseradish. These vegetables support detoxification pathways in the body and are incredible cancer fighters. In fact, these vegetables have been studied and have shown very promising results for:
- cancer prevention
- inactivation of carcinogens
- inhibition of cancer formation
- suppression of cancer cell growth
- DNA repair
Let’s take a closer look at kale. Kale is a very hardy crop – it’s not afraid of cold conditions and light frost actually makes the leaves sweeter! It can survive the winter and sprout at the first sign of spring.
When it comes to nutritional composition of kale, its nutrient density is so impressive that it makes this green leafy vegetable a powerful healing food:
- High in anti-cancer and detoxifying sulfur-containing compounds
- Very high in carotenes, especially beta-carotenes which are the main precursor of vitamin A
- Loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that protect our eyes from oxidative stress from UV light
- Very high in vitamin K and C
- High mineral content, especially calcium, has more calcium than cow’s milk (!!) and calcium from kale is 25% more “absorbable” than calcium from milk
- High in magnesium, a very important mineral that participates in hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the body, including relaxing muscles, calming us down, and balancing calcium out to prevent dangerous deposits in soft tissue
What can we do with kale?
You can eat it raw in salads if your digestive system is robust enough to stomach it. I, personally, find it much more pleasant cooked. You can make kale chips – a much healthier alternative to potato chips. It’s easy to make and fun to crunch on! And here are a couple of my favorite recipes: