Kale is the rage and is beginning to appear in farmer's markets, but its main season and sweeter leaves are in mid-winter to early spring, a U.S. expert says.
"Kale is a cruciferous, green leafy vegetable with several varieties: curly kale, ornamental kale and dinosaur kale, and all differ in taste, texture and appearance, but its popularity keeps it plentiful in produce sections, in the center aisles as kale chips and prepared foods section as a salad," Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of supermarketguru.com, said in a statement.
"Kale is high in fiber; antioxidants; carotenoids such as lutein, good for eye health; 45 flavonoids; phytonutrients such as quercetin, which combats inflammation; and sulforaphane, which fights cancer."
It also acts as an anti-inflammatory and has twice the vitamin K as other cruciferous vegetables. Kale also contains tryptophan, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and protein, Lempert said.
"In fact fresh kale has more vitamin C than an orange," Lempert said.
In addition, kale contains alpha-linoleic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that combats inflammation and a 1 cup serving of kale contains more than 200 percent of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene.
"Look for firm, evenly colored, unwilted leaves -- yellow edges indicate age -- and moist hardy stems," Lempert said. "Avoid leaves with brown spots or small holes."
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