We all know that kale is one of those foods that we should like. This cruciferous leafy green is a nutritional powerhouse: an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C; B vitamins; and minerals (manganese, calcium, potassium, iron).
Kale also contains a high amount of antioxidants. Two, in particular, lutein and beta-carotene, are carotenoids that can help protect the body from health conditions and problems related to oxidative stress, such as cataracts, glaucoma, atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and progressive lung diseases (e.g., emphysema, bronchitis and severe asthma).
High in fiber, kale—when eaten regularly—can help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and promote heart health. It’s also rich in glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds that have cancer-fighting properties.
Word of caution. Eating more kale is not necessarily better. If you have thyroid disease, like hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s, eating excessive amounts of raw kale (whether in smoothies, salads or snacks) can inhibit thyroid function. In general, when you have thyroid problems, it is best to eat cruciferous vegetables, like kale, cooked—not raw!
Kale chips are one delicious way to enjoy this mineral-rich vegetable.
Packaged kale chips can be pricey. It’s cheaper—and easy—to make them yourself. Bake them just right, and you’ll swear that you’re eating potato chips!
Since kale is a leafy green that retains a high level of residual pesticide, use organic kale whenever possible. This simple recipe calls for melted coconut oil. If you don’t have (or want) coconut oil, you can use olive oil.
1 large bunch organic curly kale, leaves removed and torn into medium-sized pieces, stalks discarded
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Wash the torn kale pieces thoroughly. Spin leaves dry in a salad spinner and place in a large bowl. Drizzle coconut oil over kale and massage gently into the leaves until well combined. Arrange kale leaves — spreading each piece out fully — in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake kale at least 10 minutes — up to 13 to 15 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of kale chips (bigger pieces need to bake longer). Turn baking sheet every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking.
Remove kale from the oven and sprinkle with Celtic salt to taste while kale is still on the baking sheet. Cool. Munch! Store leftovers in an airtight glass container.