Kale and coconut oil are trendy for being ‘Super Foods’. But just how nutritional are they? Let’s start with Kale.
Kale is a highly nutritional food, it is high in vitamin A, C, K and Folate. An added bonus is that it is very low in calories (what we call a ‘free’ vegetable). So yes, it is GREAT for you. However, do remember that other greens are also great for you. Spinach additionally contains these nutrients with the addition of Iron and Calcium. Both spinach and kale contain a lot of nutrients and antioxidants and are both wonderful additions to our diet. Enjoy kale but even better, mix it up with other greens and a variety of coloured vegetables. No one food provides us with all the nutrients we need and the more variety the better.
Coconut oil, on the other hand, is still a controversial topic between health professionals, nutrition bloggers and those with invested interest in nutrition. It is very high in saturated fat, which means it can raise total blood cholesterol, both healthy High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) and unhealthy Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL). In turn high LDL can increase your risk of heart disease. Dietitians will not recommend using coconut oil as your daily cooking oil but it is fine to use in moderation. It can add some great flavor to protein balls or other baked products but best not to use in large amounts. Keep your coconut oil to your treats foods and aim to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for your cooking. Olive oil is still the oil which has the most health benefits due to its low saturated fat content, high monounsaturated fat content and antioxidant properties. If you are confused about what is best for you, seek advice from an accredited practicing dietitian.
By Peita Hynes, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Nutritionist and Sports Dietitian
ph: 33578192, Works at Family Doctors Plus on Fridays