Tuesday, 15 February 2011

In Season: Kale

Winter is a quiet season for fresh produce, but you can still find this lovely leafy green at the farmers' markets - Kale, or its varieties, like Cavolo Nero.
Kale is quite tough when raw so you would normally cook it for yourself but birds, rabbits and other greens eating animals are pretty happy with it raw. The best way to cook Kale and to preserve all its goodness is to steam it for about 5 minutes.

I always make an effort to add it to my Chop and Dudley loves chewing it up as it is, so do the budgies and even Digby doesn't mind a little nibble on the central juicy stalk.

Kale contains plenty of fibre, which keeps the digestive tract happy and healthy, helps to eliminate the toxins and excess cholesterol. Kale contains the compounds, called glucosinolates, which provide extra help in detoxification of the body and even helps to prevent certain types of cancer (a magical vegetable we are dealing with here). It is also rich in flavonoids which help with a lot of health related issues - they are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Kale contains vitamins A, C and K in abundance. Plus it is a good source of such minerals as manganese, calcium, potassium, and magnesium (vital for a relaxed happy mood. Magnesium is considered a nature's anti-depressant). It even contains a small amount of essential fatty acids, for healthy skin, heart and brain.

There is one drawback when it comes to Kale. It is quite high in oxalates, the compounds which can bind calcium forming crystals. Normally they would be excreted from the body via kidneys but sometimes they can accumulate and create kidney stones. So if your parrot (or you) suffer from kidney related disease then it's best to avoid using Kale. Otherwise it is good to remember that everything is good in moderation if you or your parrot are healthy.

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