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Introduce this leafy green into your diet for amazing health benefits.

In the last few years, kale has hit the health food world with a bang. It was (and arguably still is) the superfood of the moment—and for good reason. Kale is chock full of good-for-you vitamins, antioxidants and other healthful properties. You can blend it into a smoothie, sauté it, mix it into guac (guackalemole, anyone?) or eat it raw in a salad. There are even kale eating competitions.

So it comes as no surprise that this superfood has its own holiday. In honor of National Kale Day (October 4), we rounded up some of our favorite 24Life kale recipes to complement three things we love about this leafy green veggie.

It’s a brain booster

Kale is an excellent source of vitamin E and folate, the later of which helps to break down homocysteine, an amino acid that is responsible for destroying nerve cells in the brain. Keep your brain sharp with this Italian sandwich made with marinated kale.

It has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties

Cruciferous veggies, such as kale, contain sulforaphane, a compound that can help slow down the destruction of joint cartilage, and disrupt NF-kB, which plays a role in inflammation. But kale can do more than just keep your joints healthy, it also plays a nutrient-rich role in this anti-aging smoothie.

It provides an energy boost

Dark leafy greens are full of nutrients and an excellent source of chlorophyll, making kale an excellent energy boosting food. Plus, it’s a dense green, so it fills you up quickly. Try this Tuscan kale slaw for an afternoon snack when you’re feeling low on energy.

Love throwing kale into your morning smoothie? Find out if green juices and smoothies are actually healthy, or all hype. Or, how to use kale to build the ultimate salad.

Photo credit: zona, Thinkstock