Everything about Kale


Green smoothies, superfood shakes, and vegetable juices are popular right now, and for good reason. More and more people are realizing that increasing your intake of wholesome greens like kale can support your overall health, reduce cravings, and boost immunity.

One of the vegetables most frequently included in these superfood blends is Kale. In addition to having a wealth of important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, cooked kale is a powerhouse food that can be found in almost every diet, including the Mediterranean diet, Paleo, the ketogenic diet, and others.

There are numerous health benefits of kale for the skin, heart, inflammation, and other areas. Kale is high in vitamins K, A, and C as well as other essential nutrients. Learn more about this potent leafy green and some easy ways to incorporate it into your diet by reading on.

Why Eat Kale?

Kale, a cruciferous vegetable that fights cancer, is quickly rising in popularity as one of the most well-liked foods available today. But kale’s health advantages can be traced all the way back to Roman times, and according to history, it was one of the most widely consumed green leafy vegetables during the Middle Ages. The Acephala group of the Brassica oleracea (oleracea var) genus includes collard greens and kale. There are two main types: one with green leaves and the other with purple leaves.

One reason it is thought to be more closely related to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms of vegetables is the peculiar fact that the central leaves do not form a head. It is in good company as it belongs to the vegetable species Brassica oleracea (oleracea var) and has a lot in common with its relatives. In actuality, kale shares a family tree with several other vegetables, including arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.

Variety of kale

Kale comes in a variety of varieties, each with a distinctive flavor, color, and appearance. Among the most popular varieties are:

  • Curly kale
  • Lacinato kale (Dinosaur kale)
  • Red Russian kale
  • Redbor kale
  • Walking stick kale
  • Premier kale
  • Siberian kale

Nutritional data

A great source of many essential nutrients is kale. It is regarded as a top vitamin K and vitamin A food.

The following nutrients are found in one cup of uncooked kale:

33.5 calories

6.7 grams carbohydrates

2.2 grams protein

0.5-gram fat

1.3 grams of dietary fiber

547 micrograms of vitamin K (684 percent DV)

10,302 IU vitamin A (206 percent DV)

80.4 milligrams of vitamin C (134 percent DV)

0.5-milligram manganese (26 percent DV)

0.2-milligram copper (10 percent DV)

0.2-milligram of vitamin B6 (9 percent DV)

90.5 milligrams calcium (9 percent DV)

299 milligrams potassium (9 percent DV)

1.1 milligrams iron (6 percent DV)

22.8 milligrams magnesium (6 percent DV)

0.1 milligram thiamine (5 percent DV)

0.1-milligram riboflavin (5 percent DV)

19.4 micrograms folate (5 percent DV)

37.5 milligrams phosphorus (4 percent DV)

In addition to the nutrients above, each serving also contains a small amount of niacin, zinc, pantothenic acid, and selenium.

Health Advantages

In addition to being very nutritious, kale has also been linked to a number of health advantages. Here are a few of the main justifications for thinking about including this leafy green on your upcoming shopping list.

1. Fights Inflammation

Kale’s capacity to reduce inflammation, made possible by its antioxidant content, is arguably its most advantageous quality. Antioxidants are crucial substances that can help prevent oxidative stress, reduce free radical damage, and, most significantly, lessen inflammation. Additionally, each serving offers a healthy amount of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (ALA). The regulation of inflammatory processes in the body is one of the many ways that omega-3 fatty acids play a role in health.

2. Contains many antioxidants

Kale is one of the best antioxidant foods, which goes hand in hand with its anti-inflammatory power. In fact, it is especially high in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, and vitamin C. Antioxidants play a critical role in both health and disease and can aid in the prevention of cell damage brought on by free radicals. According to research, antioxidants may be especially helpful in the treatment of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

3. Support For Detection Services

This cruciferous vegetable’s capacity to naturally detoxify the body is one of its top health advantages. It aids in both the removal and complete elimination of toxins. This is because kale contains isothiocyanates (ITCs), a substance that has been demonstrated to aid in cellular detoxification. These ITCs deliver a potent “one-two punch” to free radicals and toxins. Additionally, they assist in promoting the production of phase II enzymes, which aid in detoxifying the body by encouraging the excretion of toxic materials.

4. Heart Health

Kale is the ideal food for promoting heart health because of its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also includes a variety of micronutrients, such as potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin K, which are essential for heart health. The advantages of kale for the heart have been supported by numerous studies. Indeed, a study from Seoul found that consuming five ounces of kale juice every day for a period of 12 weeks increased levels of HDL (good) cholesterol by 27% and decreased levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol by 10%. It may also lower blood pressure and maintain blood sugar levels, both of which are significant risk factors for heart disease, according to other studies.

5. Encourages Optimal Development

Among kale’s many advantages is its capacity to support healthy fetal development. This is due to the fact that it is a beneficial source of folate, which is necessary for preventing birth defects and fostering healthy neural tube development. Inadequate folate intake may increase the risk of anemia and preterm birth, among other pregnancy complications. Additionally, kale contains significant amounts of vitamin K, calcium, and copper, all of which are essential for pregnant women’s skeletal development and bone health. Getting enough of these nutrients is also crucial during breastfeeding, as studies show that due to the baby’s increased calcium needs, breastfeeding can cause women to lose between 3 and 5 percent of their bone mass.

6. Slows the growth of cancer cells

Kale has been extensively studied for its capacity to prevent the growth of cancer cells in vitro, along with other cruciferous vegetables. The National Cancer Institute claims that the presence of glucosinolates, a large class of sulfur-containing compounds, in cruciferous vegetables, is the key to their ability to fight cancer.

In the digestive tract, these potent chemicals are known to degrade and produce biologically active compounds like indoles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates. Indoles and isothiocyanates have been shown to protect against bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach cancer in animal models and in vitro studies, though more research is required in humans.

7. Improves Eye Health

Due to the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin, two substances that give this leafy green its distinctive color and have been shown to aid in the prevention of macular degeneration and cataracts, kale can also improve your eyesight.

In the eye, lutein, and zeaxanthin both function as antioxidants that block harmful high-energy blue light rays. The American Optometric Association (AOA) claims that in addition to protecting and maintaining healthy cells, they may also aid in preventing retinal damage and maintaining vision.

Serving recommendations

  • Kale can be consumed raw, cooked, sautéed, steamed, braised, boiled, or added to soups and casseroles.
  • When the leaves are raw, briefly crumpling them in your hands can help them be easier to digest. Add to smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
  • prepare as a side dish, soften fresh garlic and onions in olive oil. Add the kale and cook it until it reaches the desired tenderness. As an alternative, steam for 5 minutes, drain and then stir in a little tahini and soy sauce.
  • Remove the ribs from the kale, toss in some olive oil, or lightly spray it, and then sprinkle it with a mixture of cumin, curry powder, chili powder, roasted red pepper flakes, or garlic powder. This makes kale chips. To achieve the desired crispness, bake at 275°F for 15–30 minutes.

Dietary tips

Kale is a crisp and hearty vegetable, with a hint of earthiness. The flavors and nutritional content can vary between types. Younger leaves and summer leaves tend to be less bitter and fibrous.

Curly kale: This is the most commonly available type. It is usually bright green, dark green, or purple, with tight, ruffled leaves that are easy to tear. To remove the leaves from the fibrous stalk, run your hand down the stalk in the direction of growth.

Lacinato or dinosaur kale: This dark blue-green variety is firmer and more robust than curly kale. It is known as dinosaur kale because of its scaly texture. The leaves tend to be longer and flatter and maintain their texture after cooking. Less bitter than curly kale, dinosaur kale is ideal for making kale chips.

Red Russian kale: This is a flat-leaf variety that looks a little like oak leaves. The stalks are slightly purple, and the leaves have a reddish tinge. People may find the stalks too fibrous to eat, but the leaves are sweet and delicate, with a hint of pepper and lemon, almost like sorrel. People can add them raw to salads, sandwiches, and juices, or as a garnish. Kale grows well in the colder winter months, making a good addition when other fruits and vegetables are less readily available. It is best to cook winter kale, as colder weather can turn the sugars in kale into starch, increasing the bitterness and fiber content.

Risks and Negative Impacts

There are some risks and side effects to taking into account in addition to the impressive kale nutrition facts and potential advantages of this cruciferous vegetable. Despite being rare, some people may have an allergy to cruciferous vegetables like kale. Talk to your doctor right away and stop eating this leafy green if you experience any unfavorable side effects.

Remember that kale contains a lot of vitamin K as well. It’s critical for people taking blood thinners to maintain a consistent vitamin K intake. While it’s still okay to occasionally indulge in leafy greens like kale vs. spinach, it’s best to consult your doctor before making any significant dietary changes. Kale is ranked third on the Environmental Working Group’s 2019 list of fruits and vegetables most at risk of pesticide contamination, which evaluates a variety of products each year. Before using kale, people should thoroughly wash it.

For some people, it’s best to limit their kale intake because of the following:

Beta-blockers are a class of medication that doctors frequently recommend for heart disease. The blood’s potassium levels may rise as a result. Beta-blocker users should consume foods high in potassium, like kale, in moderation.

Kidney disease: People with impaired kidney function may experience negative effects from consuming too much potassium. It could be fatal to consume more potassium if the kidneys are unable to remove too much of it from the blood.

Blood thinners: Vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting, is abundant in kale. This might inhibit the effects of blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin). Any person taking one of these medications should discuss foods to stay away from with their doctor.

Final Reflections

  • As a member of the crucifer family, kale is related to other vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy.
  • What uses does kale have? In addition to being high in fiber, vitamin K, vitamin A, and antioxidants, kale may also help with detoxification, heart health, cancer cell growth, healthy fetal development, vision, and inflammation reduction.
  • Kale can be consumed in a variety of ways, and there are many delectable kale recipes to choose from. This delicious leafy green, which can be eaten raw or cooked, works particularly well in smoothies, shakes, salads, and side dishes.
  • To minimize exposure to pesticides, be sure to choose organic varieties whenever possible and thoroughly wash the produce.