Health Benefits of Kale

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Did you grow up hearing your parents say, “eat your greens”? I sure did! Although I knew that vegetables were healthy, I didn’t really know much more about greens or understand just how good vegetables such as Kale, beans and spinach can be for your health.

Today I’ll be sharing some of my knowledge about Kale, the health benefits of Kale and I’ll be sharing a quick and easy method for baking kale chips in the air fryer!

What Is Kale?

Kale is a leafy, green vegetable that belongs to the family of cabbage. It’s a very popular addition to many recipes and it can be prepared in a variety of ways – steamed, boiled or even grilled. Kale chips are also becoming more and more popular as a healthier alternative to snacks such as potato chips or crisps.


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What Are the Health Benefits of Kale?

Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese and other essential nutrients. It’s also the richest vegetable source of calcium which makes it a great food for vegans or vegetarians who avoid dairy products.

The health benefits of kale are attributed to its high iron content, fiber, phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Due to its low-calorie and nutrient density, kale is a very popular food among the weight loss enthusiasts transitioning into a healthier lifestyle.

Here’s what you need to know about the science behind kale and how it helps our bodies:

Kale contains more vitamin A than any other vegetables out there . Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for many important processes in the body, such as immune system function and vision. By adding kale into your diet you’ll be providing your organism with all the benefits that come with vitamins

Kale is high in fiber which makes it very beneficial to digestive health. Kale also contains compounds called indoles, which help the body rid itself of excess estrogen. This is especially important for women as estrogen causes breast cancer.

Kale contains phytochemicals, plant compounds with antioxidant properties which are responsible for kale’s anti-inflammatory effects. Eating kale regularly helps the body fight free radicals and reduce inflammation which can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease or arthritis.

At the end of the day kale has a lot of health benefits and it’s a great vegetable if you’re on a diet or already doing some form of low-calorie eating plan.

health benefits of kale

Which Is Healthier Spinach or Kale?

Whilst Kale is a great source of nutrition , it doesn’t quite match up to Spinach in the health benefits department. Spinach is loaded with Vitamin K which helps with blood clotting.

Kale is extremely high in iron, calcium, vitamin C and fiber. Despite this kale is still very nutritious and has many health benefits.

top view kale salad with copy space 1

What Are the Different Types of Kale?

Kale is a fantastic superfood, which means it has many health benefits and disease fighting nutrients. There are several different types of this leafy green vegetable and this can be used in salads, soups, stews, smoothies and more.

There are several types of kale that you can choose from include:

  • Common Curly Kale
  • Lacinato Kale (Dinosaur Kale, Tuscan Kale, Cavolo Nero)
  • Ornamental (Salad Savoy) Kale
  • Red Russian (Ragged Jack) Kale
  • Chinese Kale (Chinese Broccoli, Kailaan, or Gai Lan)
  • Siberian Kale
  • Redbor Kale

Common Curly Kale

This type of kale has curly leaves that are flat. It is easily recognizable because it looks similar to ornamental cabbage, which means it has the most decorative look. This variety of kale is also more common in food markets and can be used in many different recipes. Curly kale used to be the only available type of kale in most supermarkets. However, in recent years, other types of kale have become more popular in the culinary world. This is because they tend to have a more distinct taste and are therefore used in different recipes.

Common Curly Kale Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size 1 Cup (67 g)
  • Calories 31    
  •  Fat 0.7g

Lacinato Kale (Dinosaur Kale, Tuscan Kale, Cavolo Nero)

Lacinato kale is also known as black cabbage or dinosaur kale. This variety of kale has flat, dark blue-green leaves that are slightly curly and thick. It can grow to be about three feet tall; however, it tends to become more compact when cooked. When the temperature outside is cooler, this type of kale becomes sweeter.

Dinosaur Kale can be used raw in salads or cooked. It is best to use lacinato kale in recipes where the leaves will be wilted, such as soups or stews.

Lacinato Kale Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size 1 Cup (67 g), Raw
  •  Calories 22
  • Fat 0g,

Ornamental (Salad Savoy) Kale

This type of kale is very similar to common curly kale; however, it has a more slender shape. It also tends to be smaller than common curly kale, which means you can use more in recipes without increasing the volume of your dish. This variety of kale is often milder in taste and texture than some other types of kale.

Ornamental Kale Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size 1 Cup (67 g)
  • Calories 31
  • Fat 0.7g

Red Russian (Ragged Jack) Kale

Red Russian kale has a redish-purple color and different shaped leaves than other types of kale. It can be found growing wild in Europe and Asia, but it is a common greenhouse food in the United States. The leaves of red Russian kale are tough and durable, which means they can be used in dishes that require cooking, such as stews or soups.

Red Russian Kale Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size 1 Cup (67 g)
  • Calories 31
  • Fat 0g

Chinese Kale (Chinese Broccoli, Kailaan, or Gai Lan)

Chinese kale is known as Chinese broccoli, kailaan or gai lan. This type of kale has long smooth stalks and tough leaves. It can be found in some grocery stores and farmers markets. The leaves are dark green with white stems on the ends. Although it is not very common in the United States, this type of kale can be used in many different dishes. It can be steamed or boiled and eaten with butter or soy sauce, but it has a mild taste that will work in most recipes.

Chinese Kale Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size 1 Cup (67 g)
  • Calories 31
  • Fat 0g

Siberian Kale

This type of kale is also known as Russian kale or winter kale. It has dark blue leaves with a frilly edge and the stem in the middle is purple, red or white. The leaves are tough, which means they can be used for recipes that require cooking such as soups. Siberian kale has a hearty taste, but it can become very tough if overcooked, so it is best to use it in recipes where the leaves will not be broken down much, such as soup or stew.

Siberian Kale Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size 1 Cup (67 g)
  • Calories 27
  • Fat 0.5g

Redbor Kale

Redbor kale is also sometimes referred to as “purple Russian kale”. It has dark red leaves and stems with frilly edges. It has a mild taste, although it can become tough if overcooked. The best way to prepare this type of kale is by steaming or sautéing; however, you can also use it raw in salads. It has a slightly sweet taste and is more tender than other types of kale, so it can also be used in recipes that require cooking, such as soups or stews.

Redbor Kale Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size 1 Cup (67 g)
  • Calories 31
  • Fat 0g

When Is Kale in Season?

Kale is in season from the end of September through April in the United States. It is grown year round in other countries including Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. So you can buy kale at any time during these months depending on where you are located.

How Do You Pick Out the Best Bunch of Kale?

There are several ways to pick out the best bunch of kale.

  • Look for bunches that have firm, crisp looking leaves with no wrinkles or spots on them.
  • Make sure there are no gaps between the leaves and that the stem is green and firm.
  • The best time to buy kale is in the morning, because it tends to stay fresher for longer periods of time.
  • Do not wash your kale before storing it in the refrigerator, because the water will cause the leaves to be soggy and wilt quickly. You can store loose bunches of kale in plastic bags or containers with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. The leaves should stay fresh for about 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
curly kale perfect for making kale chips

What Is Dinosaur Kale?

Dinosaur kale is a type of kale with dark blue and green leaves and thick stems. It is also sometimes referred to as “lacinato” or “Italian” kale. The leaves are very sturdy, which means they can be used for any recipe that calls for cooking, such as soups or stews.

Where Dinosaur Kale Got Its Name From?

Dinosaur kale was given its name because the dark blue and green leaves resemble dinosaur skin.

How to Make Kale Chips in the Air Fryer

So Kale Chips are super easy to cook and can be ready in minutes. Today I’ll be sharing a quick method for baking kale chips in the airfryer. If you have an Air Fryer Lid to fit your Instant Pot Duo, you can make kale chips right in your Instant Pot. If not, use a regular air fryer like this one!

Cooking Kale Chips in the Air Fryer

If you want to know how to cook kale chips in the air fryer then you’re in luck. It’s super easy.

Place two cups of kale into a large bowl.

Tear the kale into small bite size pieces.

Toss in 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil.

Season with salt and pepper.

Place the kale in a single layer at the bottom of the air fryer.

Cook at 190 degrees fir 5 minutes until crispy.

What to Serve With Kale Chips

Wondering what to serve with kale chips? Here are some suggestions!

Serving kale chips with a dip:

  • Guacamole dip
  • Black bean dip
  • Hummus dip

You can also serve your kale chips with fruit:

Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes and date pieces all make great simple side dishes to kale chips.

Serving kale chips with other vegetables is also a great option:

Tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots are all popular choices.

For something a little more filling, pair kale chips with edamame or black beans.

Seasonings for Kale Chips

You can use simple sea salt for your kale chips or you may want to be adventurous and try other condiments and seasonings to enhance the flavor of your kale chips:

  • Mexican seasoning
  • Coconut curry seasoning
  • Ranch seasoning
  • Dorito seasoning
  • Cinnamon seasoning
  • Taco seasoning
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Italian seasoning
  • Onion powder

A few words on salt : If you had to pick only one condiment to go with kale chips, it should be sea salt. Sea salt and kale complement each other fantastically well in taste and nutrition! A great source of iodine and electrolytes, sea salt makes a snack both delicious and nourishing. You can sprinkle sea salt on kale chips as you eat them or after they’ve been baked!

Check out these fantastic Healthy And Easy Kale Recipes featured here at the Instant Pot Table!

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About Angela Milnes

Angela Milnes is a Qualified Early Years Teacher who has specialised in teaching. She has a wealth of experience teaching young children and adults. Angela has also taught cooking classes and loves to share both family recipes and easy instant pot recipes here on The Instant Pot Table. Follow her on Pinterest!

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