The blue-green leaves of the typical type of kale you find in the grocery store resemble thick, tough stalks of leaf lettuce. This leafy vegetable packs a powerful punch in dietary fiber and essential nutrients, including iron. Steamed or wilted, kale leaves make a nutrient-rich side dish and add fiber to your soup or stew. Raw kale can be tough to chew on, however, over-cooking can deplete some of the minerals and vitamins. A simple solution is to juice or blend raw kale leaves into a refreshing drink.
You have plenty of reasons to eat -- and drink -- kale. This vegetable is a naturally pumped version of the leaf lettuce and is rich in compounds that support liver health. According to the site MindBodyGreen, just 1 cup of kale gives you 5 grams of fiber and nutrients such as iron, magnesium, B vitamins and vitamin K. In fact, per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Your body needs dietary fiber for healthy digestion and heart health. Vitamin K is vital for blood clotting, and iron and B vitamins are essential for producing red blood cells.
A good juicer should enable you to juice whole raw kale leaves, stalks and all. Just be sure to wash the leaves thoroughly first. Combine kale with other fruits and vegetables for a balanced, refreshing drink. Add pieces of fresh pineapple, a large cucumber and half a lemon for a delicious cold drink. Garnish with mint leaves for added flavor. If you don't have a juicer, you can blend all the ingredients and then remove the pulp through a fine strainer.
A breakfast smoothie gives you adequate amounts of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in one convenient drink – good for mornings when you need a healthy breakfast on the go. Use Greek yogurt for a healthy dose of protein, calcium and essential fats. Add fruit such as blueberries and strawberries and a few kale leaves. Blend together until smooth, adding water as needed. This drink is a good meal replacement that gives you all the essential nutrients, and the sweetness of the fruit means you don't need to add sugar -- and you won't be able to taste the kale.
Green smoothies are a healthy way to drink your raw vegetables and fruits. Harvard School of Public Health recommends getting five to 13 servings of fruit and vegetables every day. You are more likely to eat enough fresh produce if you drink it, instead of eating each one individually. Additionally, unlike juicing, smoothies don't remove the fibrous pulp of the fruit and vegetables. Just be sure to remove the stalks and blend the leaves only. Try blending kale with apples for a simple green smoothie that makes a good snack and drink. Or combine cucumber and melon with a handful of kale leaves. To keep your green smoothies lighter than a breakfast smoothie, use water as the base.
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