Super Foods: Quinoa and Kale

New food trends and so called “Super Foods” seem to be popping up every month. With all the hype surrounding certain food trends, it can be hard for the average consumer to get a handle on what some of these terms mean and how these foods directly affect our health and bodies. Recently two such foods have been receiving a great deal of notoriety in the press and can now easily be found on health food store shelves, five star restaurant menus, your neighbor’s garden, vegan cookbooks and even on tee shirts across the island.

Quinoa is considered by most a grain, but in actuality it’s a seed that is more a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Approximately 97% of the world’s quinoa comes from Bolivia and Peru, where it’s popularity is helping to revive the economy. Quinoa comes in both yellow and red varieties and has a nutty taste and chewy texture that is wildly versatile, delicious and as easy to prepare as oatmeal, rice or corn. But unlike rice or corn, it’s a complex carbohydrate and a protein! Quinoa also happens to be part of an elite class of proteins called complete proteins, which means it contains an adequate proportion of all nine essential amino acids that are beneficial in supporting all biological functions in the human body. This makes quinoa a great thing for those of you who are considering a vegan or vegetarian diet, or if you simply want to cut down on your red meat consumption. Plus, it’s rich in fiber, low in cholesterol, high in vitamins & minerals, low in fat and calories, gluten-free and a great source of plant-derived calcium.
Kale is the hot new vegetable that according to experts such as Joel Furman, M.D. and author of “Eat for Health,” ranks 100 on the nutrient food scale – which means it’s just about the best thing you can do for your body. Its health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K. Not to mention sulphur-containing phytonutrients, and Carotenoids and flavonoids, which are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many anti-cancer health benefits. Just one cup of kale contains 1,020% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K, and is only 36 calories! It also provide a 192% of your daily vitamin A needs, 89% of your daily vitamin C requirements and 10.5% of your daily fiber. If you need calcium but can’t handle those gosh darn dairy products, kale is also a great source of calcium without any of the saturated fats or allergies associated with cow’s dairy milk.

Both quinoa and Hana Fresh local organic Kale are available at any of our four R. Field locations, as well as delicious prepared salads featuring these two super foods. We strongly believe in the value of eating organic and local produce, not only because vegetables are most nutritious and delicious when freshly picked, but also because this locally owned and operated company has always been committed to supporting our local farmers, encouraging agricultural growth here in Hawaii, and reducing our carbon footprint! Mahalo!