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The Health Benefits of Green Kale - the Leafy Vegetable

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

About Kale

Latin Name: Brassica oleracea.

Kale is called "Karam Saag" in India.

Kale is a green leafy vegetable that is related to cabbage and belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family that includes vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens and brussels sprouts.

Kale is a primitive plant and is believed to be a native of Asia minor. It was brought to Europe around 600 BC. In the USA, kale was brought by the English, in the 17 th century.

Kale is a biennial plant that can be planted in the fall to get it through winter in areas where the winter doesn't go below 10 degrees C. It can be planted in the early spring to get it till the weather gets too warm, as it a cool weather plant.
Leaves harvested closer to summer have a more bitter flavour as compared to the ones harvested in the fall, winter and spring.

When buying kale select only the bright-looking, unbruised and untorn leaves. If you are growing kale at home pick leaves from the outside only as the centre leaves keep on growing. Pick leaves only when ready to use as it is at its optimum nutrition value when freshest.

Kale Varieties

Though there are many varieties of kale, the 3 main varieties in use are :
Curly kale, dinosaur kale and ornamental kale.

Curly kale has ruffled leaves and has a more pungent, bitter taste and flavour. The stalk is fibrous and leaves green.

The dinosaur kale variety was discovered in the 19 th century in Italy. It has large blue-green leaves with an embossed like texture and a somewhat milder and sweeter taste and flavour than the curly kale.

The leaves may reach 1 foot in length and 2"-4" in width. The leaves are harvested from the lowest down upwards.

Dinosaur kale is also called Lacinato kale, Tuscan kale or Black kale.

The ornamental kale was first cultivated in the 1980s for the first time in California. It has a loosely knit head with leaves in colours of white, green or purple.

Ornamental kale is today commonly known as Salad savoy.

The Siberian kale or the Red Russian kale is derived from the Brassica napus species.


Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale

the-health-benefits-of-kale

Nutrition In Kale

Kale is rich in various polyphenolic flavonoids having about 45 of them some of them being lutein, zeaxanthin, betacarotene and the phytochemicals sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol.

It has exceptionally high levels of Vitamin A and K with 100 gms of it providing 512% RDA of Vitamin A and about 700% RDA of Vitamin K. It also provides 200% RDA of Vitamin C.

It is a good source of Vitamin B6, B1, pantothenic acid as also the minerals copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus and omega-3 fatty acids.

1 cup of kale provides just 34 calories.

Nutrient Levels In Kale

 Kale (Brassica oleracea. Acephala group), fresh, raw leaves, Nutrition value per 100 g 

 

(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

 

Principle

Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy

50 Kcal

2.50%

Carbohydrates

10.01 g

8%

Protein

3.30 g

6%

Total Fat

0.70 g

3%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Dietary Fiber

2.0 g

5%

Vitamins

 

 

Folates

29 micro gm

7%

Niacin

1.000 mg

6%

Pantothenic acid

0.091 mg

1.50%

Pyridoxine

0.271 mg

21%

Riboflavin

0.130 mg

10%

Thiamin

0.110 mg

9%

Vitamin A

15376 IU

512%

Vitamin C

120 mg

200%

Vitamin K

817 micro gm

681%

Electrolytes

 

 

Sodium

43 mg

3%

Potassium

447 mg

9.50%

Minerals

 

 

Calcium

135 mg

13.50%

Copper

0.290 mg

32%

Iron

1.70 mg

21%

Magnesium

34 mg

8.50%

Manganese

0.774 mg

34%

Phosphorus

56 mg

8%

Selenium

0.9 micro gm

1.50%

Zinc

0.44 mg

4%

Phyto-nutrients

 

 

Carotene

9226 micro gm

--

Crypto-xanthin

0 micro gm

--

Lutein-zeaxanthin

39550 micro gm

--

Health Benefits Of Kale

  • Carotenoids and flavonoids contained in it help to reduce cancer risk.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin promote vision and protect from age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and retinal detachment in the aged.
  • The fibre binds the bile acids and lowers cholesterol by promoting their excretion. However, kale has to be cooked by steaming at the very least to help the fibre bind to the bile acids. By reducing cholesterol, it also reduces the risk of heart disease.
  • The high Vitamin K levels also reduce cancer risk and also aid in normal blood clotting, making the bones sturdy and help in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer disease.
  • The isothiocyanates, derived from the phytonutrients glucosinolates, help in the detoxification of the body.
  • Some minerals in kale are used in the production of enzymes while others help with haemoglobin formation and cellular oxidation. Some others are components of the cell and body fluids and control the heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Kale has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.

Note

To get maximum health benefits of kale cut it into 1/2" slices for the leaves and 1/4" length for the stems for faster cooking. But before cooking, sprinkle some lemon juice on them, then let it sit for 5 minutes, to increase the phytonutrient concentration.
Also letting it sit for this period enables the enzyme myrosinase in it to react with the glucosinolates to release the isothiocyanates which are then absorbed in a greater quantity.

However, cooking should be done for the least amount of time.

A Simple & Nutritious Kale Juice Recipe

Ingredients

1 bunch kale

6 celery sticks

1 large cucumber

2 green apples

1 tsp chlorella powder

Method

  • Wash all the vegetables.
  • Cut and add to juicer.
  • Remove juice.
  • Add chlorella and stir.
  • Serve immediately.

Kale Juice Health Benefits

Since kale is bitter juicing it can make the taste unpalatable so it is better to add some sweet fruits like carrots and apples to it while juicing.

Drinking kale juice gives one a big nutrient dose of, Vitamins A, C, K, the minerals iron, calcium and others, in a small volume.

These help to ward off anaemia, boost immunity, protect against eye disease, cardiovascular diseases, counteract free radical cell damage, develop strong bones and teeth, aid blood clotting, maintain healthy muscle and nerve function;

Among other benefits like being low in fat & calories, good in fibre and zero cholesterol.

How To make Kale Chips

  • Slice kale into small pieces.
  • Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt on them.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes in an oven at 350 degrees.

Uses Of Kale

Kale is mainly used for culinary purposes. It can be used in salads, soups, braised, baked, cooked and chips can be made from it too.

Kale is used much in countries like Japan, China, Taiwan, Portugal, East Africa, Vietnam, USA and all over Europe.

It is also grown for its ornamental value since it has beautifully coloured inner rosette leaves that range from white through pink, red, lavender, blue and violet.

Interestingly, the ornamental kale is edible.

Some Precautions

  • Because of the extremely high Vitamin K content, those on anticoagulants should avoid it as it is counteractive.
  • The leaves contain oxalic acid though at levels lower than spinach. Still, those with oxalate stones or a tendency to form stones should avoid kale consumption.
    Also, maintain a high water consumption to regulate proper urine output.

A recipe for kale chips by Hubber Stephanie Crosby as well as some other kale recipes.

Some Of My Other Articles On Healthy Foods

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.

How To Cook Kale For Optimum Health

Superfood Kale

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 28, 2013:

Nick kale is called karam saag in Hindi. You can check if it is available in markets where you live.

Nick on September 28, 2013:

Where can I buy kale in india

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 07, 2013:

Thanks for the read and comments, Marlene.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on August 07, 2013:

This is great information. I didn't know there were so many different kinds of kale. I grow the blue curled Scotch kale in my back yard. I am glad to learn the secret of sprinkling lemon juice on the kale to bring out additional nutritional value.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 04, 2013:

Thanks for reading, Leon. I have no idea about the local name for kale in Lagos. I've put in a query and will let you know if I receive a reply.

Leon on August 03, 2013:

great hub...Rajan...presently residing in lagos Nigeria.....ANY idea as to the local name used for Kale...we know there are many veggie leaves utilized in Nigeria...perhaps your readers can help?.. thanks for a very informative hub.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 13, 2013:

Thanks for the compliments and the linking, Stephanie.. Your comments and visit are very much appreciated.

Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on March 13, 2013:

I am glad I came across your work on kale. I am working on an article and this information is helpful. Of course you know I love your writing. And I will be linking to your article!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 16, 2013:

Au fait, yes it is. Certainly there are many ways of using it. Appreciate your stopping by.

C E Clark from North Texas on February 15, 2013:

I guess kale is a member of the cabbage family and it certainly bears the resemblance. There aren't many leafy vegetables I don't like. I can imagine this would be an excellent addition to soup or salad. Very informative hub on all the benefits!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 06, 2013:

Patri, you can use any green leafy vegetable for juicing, like spinach, collard green, swiss chard etc. Thanks for stopping by.

Patri on February 06, 2013:

Since I cannot get kale in Peru what is a comparable green that I can use in my juice diet

Stephanie from Canada on February 01, 2013:

You are very welcome Rajan. Thank you for sharing with everyone.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 01, 2013:

Thanks for visiting this hub and appreciate adding the link to my hub in your peppers hub. Thank you, Stephanie.

Stephanie from Canada on January 31, 2013:

I have never eaten Kale before actually but you definitely do make a good argument for the benefits of it. I have added links to the bottom of my peppers hub and included your Kale Health Benefit hub to share this great information with others!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 28, 2013:

@ BlissfulWriter - thanks for stopping by.

@ L.L. - I do hope so! Thanks for visiting and appreciate the votes and share.

@ Kawi - Thanks for the votes and read. Appreciate the continued support.

Kawika Chann from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place on January 27, 2013:

rajan, as always, brilliant work. Thanks for the recipes and awesome information about such a highly nutricious green. Voted up/awesome and following. Peace. Kawi.

L.L. Woodard from Oklahoma City on January 27, 2013:

I enjoy all the other cruciferous veggies, but have never tried kale. I'm going to add it to my eating repertoire and use the suggestions you've so kindly provided about choosing, preparing and cooking it.

Great hub; voted up and Shared.

BlissfulWriter on January 26, 2013:

Kale is wonderful. It is in both the leafy green vegetable category as well as the cruciferious vegetable family -- both of which are very healthy.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 28, 2012:

iguidenetwork, glad you like the info. I hope you try out the kale chips. It is really simple.

Thanks for the visit and votes.

iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on December 28, 2012:

Good information rajanjolly... and for the simple kale chips recipe. Sounds new to me, I will try to make those. Voted up and useful

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 17, 2012:

Hi Turtlewoman,

glad you like the information and thanks for linking this hub to mine. I'll go check out this hub of yours and will link to it as well.

Thanks for stopping by.

Kim Lam from California on December 17, 2012:

Excellent and very thorough hub, Rajan. I'm linking this to my massaged kale salad. Thanks.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 26, 2012:

Thanks for reading and for providing the local names for cornflour and Kale. Also good to know Kale is quite popular in Kenya.

Thanks for reading, voting and sharing.

Danson Wachira from Nairobi, Kenya on October 26, 2012:

Hi Rajan,

You are gifted in providing all these health information. Here in Kenya, Kale is a very popular delicacy, it goes very well with a meal of corn floor called "Ugali in Kiswahili language". I would not imagine taking "Ugali" with any other accompaniment other than "Sukuma" (Kiswahili name for Kale" and probably beef stew. Voted up, useful and will share this.

kishi85 on August 17, 2012:

Nice hub...

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 06, 2012:

TT, am glad you appreciate this superfood now. Thanks for being here.

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on August 06, 2012:

Rajan, some very useful and interesting information on kale. I'll never look at it the same again. And when I see it in the grocery store, I'll give it a second thought. :)

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 31, 2012:

Hi sparkle Chi. I'm glad you liked the hub as well as the kale juice recipe.

Thanks for stopping by.

Cate from Chandler, AZ on July 30, 2012:

An amazing hub on Kale! Thank you for sharing such detailed information about the nutrition it contains! I love the fact that you shared a juicing recipe for it!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 30, 2012:

Yes indeed, Michael. Kale is an exceptionally nutrient rich plant.

Thanks for sparing time to read, leave your comments and share it. Much appreciated.

Micheal from United Kingdom on July 30, 2012:

Another great and detailed hub on the health benefits of Kale.

It is amazing how much goodness is in this simple plant.

Truly it is packed with vitamins and minerals. Sharing

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 25, 2012:

Hi Sue. I'm glad you like the recipe for making kale chips. Now you can make them whenever you wish to and they will be healthier and cheaper as well.

Thanks for the read, votes and continued support. You have a great day as well.

Sueswan on July 25, 2012:

Hi Rajan,

Thank you for sharing the nutritional benefits of kale, and how to prepare it.

Recently, I bought organic Kale chips. They were delicious but expensive. Now, I can make my own.

Voted up and awesome.

Have a good day. :)

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 19, 2012:

Thank you for the read and votes Anjili.

Anjili from planet earth, a humanoid on July 19, 2012:

Thanks for the well researched hub on kales. I always have them as part of my meals. Growing quite a lot in my kitchen garden. My consumption of kales will be from a more informed source that is backed by your stated evidence. Voted up and interesting.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 19, 2012:

@ Perspycacious - appreciate your visit and comments. Thanks you very much.

@ dinkan - I appreciate you stopping by and am glad you like the write up. Thannks for votes and sharing.

@ vespawoolf - this info is surprising too. the onl;y reason I can guess is that the climate maybe is not conducive to its growth. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on July 19, 2012:

I'm surprised that kale isn't available in this part of Peru. It's too bad after reading about all the nutritional benefits! I know it's used a lot in juicing. Thanks for a thoroughly researched hub.

dinkan53 from India on July 19, 2012:

Kale seems to be a nutritional powerhouse. I really enjoyed reading your article here. It was very informative and quite interesting about kale chips. Rated up and useful. SHARED!

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on July 19, 2012:

I can only echo MsDora's comment. Kale is definitely on or next planting schedule. Chips made from Amaranthis plants has been one of our recent experiments and we added sesame seeds. A wonderful book on herbs is "The Little Herb Encyclopedia" and comes in paperback or spiral versions. Let me know, if you want to order one, as we have it at a good discount from our health store here.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 19, 2012:

@ tglowy - Thanks for stopping by.

@ DDE - I'm glad that the information is useful. Thanks for the visit.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 19, 2012:

Brilliant Hub with detailed information on the benefits of Kale, I was enlightened about a vegetable I often eat, thanks

Tiffany on July 18, 2012:

Very informative hub. I love kale!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 18, 2012:

I believe it is good to have as much info as one can obtain on any topic. Great that you are already using it in salads. The smaller the pieces the healthier it is.

Thanks for the visit and votes, Aurelio.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on July 18, 2012:

We have known about the benefits of kale and so try to include it in our salads. But it's good to have more detailed information about it. Voting this Up and Useful.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 18, 2012:

Ms Dora, this is a big compliment. I appreciate your visit and comments.

Thank you.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 18, 2012:

Hi eHealer, glad to see you. Many greens have high Vitamin K levels that it is better to reduce or not consume them if one is taking anticoagulants like warfarin and coumadin. I'm happy you like the hub and the videos.

Thanks for stopping by. Much appreciated.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 18, 2012:

Hi Deborah. All greens are nutritional powerhouses. So, the more the healthier unlike those artificial vitamins and minerals.

Thanks for coming by and the sharing.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 18, 2012:

Hi Bill. I'm glad you appreciate this series and with the healthy vegetable growing right in your garden, health is just at an arm's length. Just grab it.

Thanks for visiting.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 18, 2012:

One of the best hubs I've seen on the nutrient value of any food item. The recipes make it real special. Thanks for sharing.

Deborah from Las Vegas on July 18, 2012:

Rajan, I got to admit, I had no idea that kale was so nutritious. All my nursing school days, we stressed "green leafy veggies, but I really didn't look at the content and minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. Thanks Rajan, beautifully illustrated with informative videos. You've done it again. Voted useful and interesting. BTW, I am so glad you put the warning about vitamin K and medications. There is a problem if people on certain blood thinners eat too much green leafy veggies. Thanks!

Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on July 18, 2012:

great hub on Kale.. we eat spinach and greens all the time.. I believe we have tried kale.. I will for sure now.. I will put this on Facebook and the cooking page.

Blessings

Debbie

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 18, 2012:

This is a great series and I hope you are getting a lot of reads on this. We actually have kale growing in our garden as I write this.