Health food heroes #1 – kale and acai

We're taking a look at two of the common natural ingredients found in health recipes across the country, and why they seem to be ticking all the right boxes. Today our two candidates are kale, and acai berry, found in smoothies, juices and sandwiches alike.

So whether you're a healthy eating enthusiast or you're just dipping your toes into the world of good food choices, read on and you may just learn something new about these food heroes which will make you pop them into your produce bag

1. Kale 

What is it?

Another name for the Australian Tuscan Cabbage, this leafy green has proven so popular that it's on the brink of causing a worldwide shortage, according to ABC News. It comes in two varieties: smooth, and the more common curly kale with its crinkly leaves. 

It is part of the cabbage family, usually available all year round (as long as we don't eat it all!)

What makes it a food hero?

Kale is relatively low in calories and high in fibre, in addition to being jam packed with vitamins A, C and K. But that's not all, kale also contains folate, a naturally occurring folic acid, and lutein which promotes good eye health according to Discover Kale. 

What can I do with kale?

What can you not do with kale? You may be familiar with kale as the ingredient which had been turning your fruit smoothies and juices green, but kale can be eaten in salad or cooked, as well as being turned into a delicious potato chip alternative.

2. Acai berry 

What is it?

The acai berry (said ah-sigh-ee) is the small, grape-like fruit of the acai palm, native to the rainforests of South America. It is usually a dark red-purple colour and has a refreshing, slightly bitter-sweet taste which some claim is akin to chocolate.

What makes it a food hero?

Katherine Zeratsky, writer for Mayo Clinic describes the berry as being fully of antioxidants and fibre. It is also consumed to support heart health. Ms Zeratsky notes that while not all of the broad health claims made about the acai berry have been confirmed, the fruit still contains nutrients which are good for your health. 

What can I do with acai berries? 

There are a few ways you can eat acai berries, either whole, or like with kale, in smoothies or juices. It also makes a nice addition to porridge and breakfast cereals, and can even feature as an ingredient in ice cream and jelly. You can also find acai berries in some beauty products, although we don't of course recommend eating those.