ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Kale was once a forgotten vegetable; just used as a garnish. But now, it's no longer sitting on your plate; it's climbing the food chain and becoming the biggest trend right now in health food.
"It could be the main entrée," said registered dietitian at SLU Hospital Joy Bloor.
"The goddess of all greens," said Caryn Dugan, STL Veg Girl.
Call it the "kale craze." These days, the number of kale products seems to keep growing on grocery store shelves. You might also find it on the menu at a local smoothie shop. And chefs like Caryn Dugan are cooking with it.
"You can put it in soups, in stews, and put it over your pizza," Dugan said.
But it's not the taste getting people to go green.
"I'll be the first to tell you, if you just pick this up and eat it, it's not very attractive, but it's also not very tasty," he said.
So then why is kale so popular?
"Kale packs a lot of punch for a little bit of calories," Bloor said.
The veggie has just 33 calories per cup, as well as:
· Vitamin K, which is necessary for normal blood clotting.
· Vitamin A, which helps your vision.
· Vitamin C, which may help your immune system.
· Potassium, important for heart, kidney, muscle, and nerve health.
"It's heart healthy because of the fiber," Bloor said. "It's good for preventing cancer because of the antioxidants."
And while you may already know kale is good for you, you may not know how to use it. Chefs are making kale salads. They're also baking kale chips. And chopping it and putting it in burgers. And if you decide to go kale crazy, you might even sneak it into a dessert. Kale brownies, anyone? You might just surprise yourself.
We mentioned it's high in Vitamin K, so if you are on a blood thinner, talk to your doctor. And if you have thyroid problems, you may also want to talk to you doctor before consuming.