You've Been Eating Kale Wrong This Whole Time

Like quinoa, lentils, and green tea, kale is one of those nutrient-rich superfoods that seems to have endless health benefits. High potassium content? Check. Good for your eyesight? Check. Tons of vitamin K? You bet. The dark, leafy green can help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and what's truly magical about kale is its versatility. Stir it into pasta dishes, bake into crisps, or pulverize it into pesto. What's stopping you? (via Healthline)

But unlike already-tender spinach and paper-thin arugula, kale is hardy. Coarse. A little rough around the edges — like the tough guy with a heart of gold in a cliché romantic comedy.

And that texture can make the superfood a little bit difficult to stomach, according to nutritionist Deirdre Orceyre, who told The Washington Post that the vegetable, when raw, "can be hard on the digestive system." So, if you plan to eat raw kale, and you want to prepare it in the most beneficial way possible, you've got to give it a little massage.

The strange secret to good kale

You read that right: Massage your kale. It's had a long day at the office. It got stuck in traffic on the way home. Its boss is being a total jerk. In all seriousness, massaging kale is a common practice that helps tenderize the leaves. As the leaves yield and wilt, they'll become more supple, according to the Los Angeles Times.

This extra step shouldn't be much of a hassle. Simply rub a couple bunches of kale leaves together, after you've removed the stems. You can add some olive oil and even salt while massaging the kale. Or, you can dress the kale with some oil and place it in the fridge overnight, according to HuffPost. You're not looking to completely transform the kale into some soft, sad, unrecognizable green. Of course, you still want to maintain some crunch: You just don't want to be stuck gnawing at the same, oily leaf for ten minutes. The best way to test whether you've gotten your kale to the proper consistency? Taste it.

Then, the world is your oyster, or rather your kale leaf. Raw kale, which has skyrocketed in popularity the past few years, can be whipped into a slaw with lemon and vinegar. It can be tossed into salad with farro or apple slivers. It can be gently marinated, and nestled upon toast (via Food & Wine). Massaging may sound ridiculous, but it's a glorious and rewarding first step to enjoying this healthful veggie.