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KALE C A E S A R SALAD + the health benefits of Kale

Everyone loves a good Caesar Salad! But unfortunately, when it is laden with fried croutons, greasy bacon and drenched in a creamy dressing - it is not always the best for you... But don't fear guys! I have a recipe which may just fulfil your Caesar cravings AND provide you with a health KICK!

BENEFITS

The following is a list of the many benefits a serve of kale can provide to you!

REDUCE DIABETES RISK AND SEVERITY - A cup of cooked kale provides 2.6 grams of fiber, which we know can reduce blood sugar, lipid and insulin levels! Additionally, kale contains the antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes and decreases peripheral neuropathy and/or autonomic neuropathy in diabetics!

HEART HEALTH - The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 found in kale all support a healthy heart, especially by reducing high blood pressure!

REDUCE CANCER RISK - Our digestive tracts does not absorb chlorophyll very well. Though, kale and other green vegetables that contain chlorophyll can help to inhibit the absorption of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines, (from grilling animal-derived foods at a high temperatures and strongly linked to increased cancer risk)! This is because, the chlorophyll in kale has the ability to bind to these carcinogens and prevent their absorption, thereby limiting the risk of cancer. Therefore, when consuming chargrilled animal foods, ensure you pair them with green vegetables!

BONE HEALTH – Kale has high levels of Vitamin K, which is important for bone health, as it acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption and may reduce urinary excretion of calcium!

GOOD SKIN AND HAIR - Kale is high in beta-carotene, the carotenoid that is converted by the body into vitamin A! Vitamin A is essential for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair and for the production of sebum (the oil that helps keep skin and hair moisturized). Additionally, immunity, eyesight and reproduction also rely on vitamin A.

Kale also provides a hefty dose of vitamin C, which is needed to build and maintain collagen, the key protein that provides structure for skin, hair and bones. Additionally, vitamin C also aids iron absorption, which can help prevent hair loss associated with iron-deficiency!

USES

Here are some of my favourite uses for kale:

♥ KALE CHIPS

♥ Massaged with oil, salt and vinegar to make a salad

♥ Added to a stir-fry

♥ Add to a basil pesto for extra OOMPH!

♥ Add to quiche!

♥ Add to smoothie!

WATCH OUT!

Some of the not so happy side effects that can occur if you overdo it are:

EXCESS FIBRE - Most of the fibre in kale is insoluble fibre – the type found in wholegrains, bran and nuts and seeds – and too much of it can be difficult for your digestive system to cope with! This can cause the kale to get stuck in the gut, increase fermentation and in turn cause bloating and gas.

RAFFINOSE - Raffinose is a carbohydrate which is made up of several sugar molecules hooked together. Humans lack the right enzymes to digest raffinose in our stomach or small intestine and so after passing through these organs it arrives in the large intestine still intact, and is then fermented by the bacteria there, which once again cause gas and bloat!

THYROID GLAND FUNCTION - Kale contains small amounts of substances that can affect the function of our thyroid gland! These substances become inactive with cooking (so its important to cook kale!), but they are still active in raw kale. Therefore don’t overdo raw kale! Stick to modest amounts, such as a handful in a smoothie or juice! But if you have existing thyroid problems it’s safest to stick to cooked kale! Anyways kale tastes WAY better cooked ;)

INGREDIENTS. for 4 - 6 people

♥1 400g tin lentils, drained, rinsed

♥¼ of a cos lettuce, leaves chopped

♥10 kale leaves, rinsed de-stemmed and chopped

♥2 pears, sliced

♥1/2 cup cranberries, dried

♥1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

♥4 slices sourdough bread

♥6 tbsp olive oil

♥Parmesan cheese, shaved

♥Salt and pepper

DRESSING

♥4 tbsp tahini

♥6 tbsp water

♥juice from 1 lemon

♥2-3 tsp extra virgin olive oil

♥1 tsp dijon mustard

♥1 garlic clove, minced

♥Salt and pepper

TO DO.

  1. Place kale in a bowl and massage with 3 tbsp of olive oil and salt and pepper, ensuring you begin to soften the tough leaves.

  2. Put all ingredients for the dressing in a blender and blend well.

  3. Heat a fry pan over medium high heat and add remaining olive oil, when heated fry bread until fragrant and crispy. Put all ingredients for the salad in a large bowl and make sure everything is well mixed. Drizzle the tahini dressing over the salad and finish with the croutons and shaved parmesan cheese.

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