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Hail to Kale

Superfood and Ideal Quick Bite

There is a warm breeze passing on the veranda. The rocking chairs face the perfect view of an early summer morning in Cape May. Delicious varieties of freshly squeezed juice are ready to enjoy, with ingredients grown just a mile away at Beach Plum Farm. Sipping on the juice, taking in the calming view of the ocean, and reflecting on the most perfect vacation gives a sense of pure Euphoria. Is it the sun that gives this feeling? The sense of a new morning and the promise of a perfect day at the beach? Or is it the deliciously nutritious drink that could evoke a sentiment that is simply happy?

The answer to those questions is all of the above. There is no doubt that the view, the warmth of the sun, and the easy rocking chairs can give anyone that calm, perfect vacation feel. But the rocking chairs may have a little help from ingredients like kale used in the fresh Beach Plum Farm juice. Kale has arguably become one of the trendiest vegetables in recent years. With more and more Americans looking to improve their quality of life and health, food is now treated like a new pair of designer shoes. While the next pair of pretty pumps will soon become yesterday’s news, the Superfood kale has been proven to promote brain health, prevent cancer, and aid in the absorption of calcium in the body. Sceptics may ask “How can one plant really do all of those things?” “Who ever heard of kale before 2011? Is it some sort of new cross-pollination genetics thing?” “What is so special about kale?”

According to the New York Times, the ancient Greeks used kale as a cure for drunkenness. Evidence of its first uses are nearly 2,000 years old in Ancient Greece and Rome. It originated in the Mediterranean and spread throughout the world, from Europe to Ireland and Scotland, in Asia and eventually in North America as early as the 17th century. According to Beach Plum Farm manager Ali Moussalli, “Kale is in the Brassica family, with broccoli, collards, brussel sprouts, among many others. It’s certainly very nutritious. It grows best in cool weather, particularly in the fall…it really tastes best after a frost in October and November. There are many varieties – we’ll be growing the regular curly kale as well as Red Russian and Tuscan types. They are all good, and can be used in many ways – salads, roasted like chips, soups, smoothies.” Moussalli notes that there will be kale grown in the summer time at Beach Plum Farm as well. Natalie Sudell is a local health and fitness expert who will be leading a fitness boot camp on the beach this summer. Sudell says that kale chips are the ideal quick bite. “Spread kale leaves across a baking sheet, add a little bit of olive oil, sea salt and mix. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes flipping half way and you have a perfectly healthy feel good snack.” Clearly, kale and its uses have been going on for centuries.

As to the nutritional benefits of kale, Drew Ramsey, M.D. wrote an article in the Huffington Post last July outlining all of its benefits. Rich in a polynutrient called sulfurophane, kale is an antioxidant. It contains kaempherol which is said to activate genes that prolong life span. Carotenoids are present in kale which are said to increase optimism and glucosinolates in the headless- leafy green are cancer-fighters. The plant- based omega-3 ALA fat that kale contains helps to lower the risk of depression and diabetes and aids in overall brain health. It is rich in vitamins C, A, and K, the latter a powerful antioxidant that protects important fats. Kale is not recommended for those with thyroid issues, particularly hypothyroidism which prevents those with the condition from eating any cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage, etc.)

It’s got iron, it’s got fiber, and it’s got millions of health conscious Americans coming up with new and delicious ways to enjoy this special Superfood. Sit back in the rocking chair, relax looking out on the glass-like ocean, and let the nutrient-rich juice bring on that perfect sense of happy.

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