One of the trendiest foods on health-conscious minds these days is a leafy-green powerhouse vegetable. We’re talking kale. Now, before you start rolling your eyes and calling it rabbit food, let us defend this leafy green friend.

Just one cup of chopped, fresh kale is 33 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrates (2 of those is fiber), 3 grams of protein and 0.6 grams of fat in the form of omega-3 fatty acid. Translation: You can fill up on kale, feel full with all the fiber and protein, and also protect your heart and reduce inflammation with the omega-3’s. All at a cost of just 33 calories.

But wait, there’s more to kale than that! Kale contains 206 percent of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of vitamin A; 684 percent of the RDA for vitamin K; and 134 percent of the RDA for vitamin C – more than your average orange has! Kale is also chock full of the antioxidants quercetin and kaempferol, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients have been shown to fight the body’s oxidative damage and inflammation, which is a leading driver to aging and diseases, including cancer. These nutrients also have been shown to be heart protectors by lowering blood pressure and fighting cholesterol. Lutein and zeaxanthin in particular have been shown to decrease your risk of developing macular degeneration.

All of that to say this: give kale a try if you’re not a fan (yet)! Kale is great fresh in salads, roasted, sauteed in soups and sauces, and pulverized into oblivion in smoothies. Give it a try, and know you’ll be improving your heart health, lowering inflammation, improving your eyesight and even improving your waistline by filling up for very little calories.

Here are some great recipes to get you started:

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