January seems to be the time everyone vows that its a new year so they will become a new person, make positive changes to their diet and over hauling their health. Detox diets have become increasingly popular these days along with a whole host of other diet trends. However I think January is a time to go gentle on yourself. A time to remove all the indulgent treats you may have consumed over the festivities and go back to basics. Eat whole foods and get back in touch with local seasonal ingredients.
Kale is a very nourishing ingredient for seasonal eaters as it is one of the few green vegetables that is abundant during January in the UK. I use as substituted for cabbage or spinach, it makes a decadent side dish when blanched and sautéed with a little oil and garlic, served with a splash of tamari (a wheat free soya sauce) and a sprinkling of chopped, roasted almonds. Kale helps your body detox naturally - so you don't need to buy expensive powdered supplements.
Kale plays an important role in liver health. Kale increases the amount of glucosinolate in the body which helps add enzyme production in the liver. These natural enzymes help flush toxins out of the body. Kale and other leafy greens are one of our most powerful allies in cleansing the liver, leafy greens can be eaten raw, cooked, or juiced. Kale is also extremely high in plant chlorophylls,which help suck up environmental toxins from the blood stream. Its argued that they can neutralise heavy metals in the body as well as chemicals and pesticides.
When many people go on detox diets they often cut out dairy and worry about having low levels of minerals such as calcium. Thanks to the Dairy Council milk is renowned for its levels of calcium however gram for gram kale has more calcium than cow’s milk. Although it is important to know that Kale does losing a substantial amount of calcium when it’s cooked, so if you’re eating it for its calcium content it’s best to eat it raw in salads or added to smoothies for the most benefit of calcium.
Kale is considered to be an anti-inflammatory food, Research has also shown that kale contains 45 different flavonoids with a variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects! On top of that Kale is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fibre and carotenoids.
Air of caution for those with a sluggish or undertake thyroid.
Kale is a dietary goitrogen. Goitrogens are substances (whether in drugs, chemicals, or foods) that disrupt the production of thyroid hormones by interfering with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland. So basically Kale when raw everyday may make you more vulnerable to developing an underactive thyroid. (Eaten cooked it wont have this effect.) As with everything variety and moderation is the name of the game. Have in smoothies once or twice a week, eat cooked and add to stews to ensure you get the best out of this nutrient rich green.