Kale is one of the most delicious leafy green vegetables, probably my favourite, and it contains a veritable treasure-trove of nutrients and action packed health properties for women. In addition to folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and a host of other nutrients, the fibre in kale is one of the perfect foods for nourishing healthy gut flora. The fibre is also important for keeping your bowels regular, and a healthy side effect of a good daily BM is better hormone balance. So kale is a special Superstar food for us ladies!
The key to this salad is all in the massage. Why massage kale? I hear you ask. Basically massaging is a process that will break down the kale to make it softer and much more easy to digest. Think of it in this way, digestion starts in your mouth and kale has a very course texture, which takes a lot of mastication on our parts before we can swallow it (without it feeling like a forkful of hay). Massaging prior to eating is like pre-digesting the kale. Give your kale some love, go ahead, massage away! Your jaws and tummy will thank you.
The kale will visibly change before your eyes while massaging. It will start to wilt, become a more vibrant green colour and softer in texture. Another wonderful quality of kale, because of it’s tough nature, it will stay in the refrigerator for a good week even after massaging. Unlike other more delicate leafy greens which tend to wilt and become soggy after chopping or physically “breaking” down, kale will keep it’s soft but chewy texture without becoming mushy or too soft.
Why I think kale is king of the greens. Antioxidants, anti-inflammatory benefits, cancer protective compounds, cholesterol lowering properties, flavonoids which ward off inflammation and oxidative stress, supports the detoxification system, and culinarily speaking kale’s extremely versatile. The ability of kale to lower cholesterol is due to it’s source(s) of fiber; when steamed the fiber can actually bind to the bile acids more efficiently (than raw form) which are then excreted from the body. Kale is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which have been studied in relation to their protective compounds in cancer development (colon, breast, bladder, prostate, and ovarian) mainly from the anti-cancer nutrients glucosinolates (say what?).
Taking you on a very quick and simplified organic chemistry lesson here, glucosinolates are a chemical compound which contain sulphur and nitrogen. Think of the bitter taste that you get when you eat foods like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. Isothiocyanates (ITC) made from glucosolantes also kick start Phase I and Phase II enzymes, which are needed for detoxification, hence the advantage of cruciferous vegetables like kale in the role of detoxification.
Nutrition breakdown of KALE:
Keeping your thyroid healthy
Cruciferous vegetables like kale, when eaten raw in very large quantities may impair thyroid function. So if you suffer from thyroid disfunction or hypothyroidism I would suggest that you keep the cruciferous veggies limited in your diet when they’re in the raw state. You can however, cook or steam them which will inhibit the thyroid compound found in kale that may interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis. People who have no issues with their thyroid should still play it safe with limiting such large quantities (I’m talking in smoothies, juices, salads, and in snacks all day, everyday), most healthy individuals are perfectly fine to it throughout the day!
So to the recipe:
Massaged Kale Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Toasted Seeds
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!