What Is the Big Deal About Kale?
Well, suddenly the jury seems to be still out on this one. Kale has been lauded and praised everywhere for the duration but now there is a new take on its position in the hierarchy. It is still one of the healthiest vegetables of all, but appears to have become a villain in some circles.
Can vegetables be unhealthy? Why is everyone obsessed with kale, and should they be?
OK, time to get to the bottom of this situation.
What’s All the Hype About Kale?
Let’s start at the beginning and learn a bit more about this controversial veggie. There are actually four types of kale as follows:
- Curly kale is the kind we all recognize. Bright green ruffles are easily recognizable. The flavor is pungent and peppery.
- Dinosaur kale has narrow green leaves that look a bit like, well, dinosaur skin. They are attached to a nasty stem that needs to be removed.
- Russian kale…..no it doesn’t look like a Russian. It has flat, fringed leaves that are green, red, or purple in color. It has a sweeter flavor.
- Redbor kale also has ruffled leaves but they can be anywhere from deep red to purple.
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Good Things About Kale
- Kale is loaded with Vitamins A, K, B6, and C, calcium, potassium, copper, and manganese.
- Being low in calories, kale is very good for diabetics and people watching their weight.
- The vitamin A aids in eye and bone health, as well as an immune booster. Vitamin A is also a power house for the skin.
- Kale provides protection against UV damage, reduces the signs of aging, and encourages healthy cell growth.
- The vitamin C in kale helps to prevent colds and chronic diseases.
- Vitamin K is good for blood clotting and bone building.
- Kale contains folate which is a power house for brain development, including early childhood development, helping form the neural tube, the face, heart, and body size.
- Lutein in kale protects against macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Kale is also loaded with minerals including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc.
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Unquestionably kale is a king of inflammation relief due to its omega-3 acids. It is also the only food which contains five glucosinolates which aid in the prevention
of colon, breast, bladder, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Kale aids in unclogging arteries. After eating processed food or vegetables/fruits which contains pesticides this vegetable can reduce the resulting toxicity.
Being loaded with iron, kale aids in iron deficiency and anemia. However we should not underestimate the power of good quality iron supplements here as well.
So before we get into the newly discovered detriments of eating kale, lets sneak in a few delicious recipes for you to enjoy. Kale holds its texture well in cooking and can be stir fried, roasted, steamed, or added to a salad. Smoothies, kale chips, soups, mashed potatoes, and pesto all get a boost when kale is added.
One caution: Remove the middle rib, as it is overly tough and fibrous and has a bitter taste.
Sauté kale with a splash of olive oil, garlic, and onion for a delicious side dish that is healthy and low in calories.
Bake kale in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Delicious and much healthier than the store-bought ones which are usually deep fried.
Now that your mouth is salivating I will be the bad gal and relate the latest not so positive findings.
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Bad Things About Kale
- Kale contains up to 80% more pesticide residue by weight than any other produce, even after washing.
- If you have hypothyroidism or Hashimotos, eating kale can exacerbate this condition. If eaten in moderation and lightly steamed, and if your iodine levels are
acceptable, it is said to be well tolerated.
- As previously stated kale is rich in vitamin K. This can be a problem if you take blood thinners such as warfarin, which may interfere with the effectiveness of the medication.
- Kale contains insoluble fiber that the body cannot digest but serves as a scrubbing mechanism that cleans the insides of the intestinal walls. However too much of this can wreak havoc on your digestive system, resulting in abdominal pain, gas, and bloating.
- The high amount of oxalic acid in kale can block the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients which can result in kidney stones.
- Last but not least, if a large quantity of kale is eaten every day it can sometimes produce an allergic reaction. Symptoms of this include skin rash, swelling of
the lips, tongue, and throat, dizziness, brain fog, and digestive distress.
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And so to the summation.
So, what’s all the hype about kale, and why is everybody so obsessed with kale, these days?
Kale is a robust and nourishment filled power food and this cannot be disputed. However, the takeaway here is that if you have digestive issues, thyroid issues, kidney stones, or on blood thinners it would be best to try a wee bit at a time and build up your portion gradually. Lightly steaming, mixing into a stir fry, or adding a bit to your soup is the best way to err on the side of caution.
But the biggest rule of all is to only consume organic kale, as it (at least theoretically) does not contain pesticides.
Once again I will leave the ball in your court. It is your body, your discretion. In my opinion, as in most things, moderation is the key.
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6 thoughts on “Why Is Everyone Obsessed with Kale?”
Glad you found it helpful, Aly. Cheers.
Wow, this was one of the most thorough and informative articles I’ve ever read about kale. While most mentions of kale seem to focus on its benefits and popularity, I also found your section about the bad things about kale to be very interesting. I think it’s important to have a balanced look at the pros and cons and plan meals accordingly. Thanks!
Right on, Scott. Cheers!
This is a very informative article about kale. I knew that it was a very healthy food, but I didn’t know all the benefits until I read your article. What I didn’t know either was that there were so many pitfalls to eating kale, as well. I have a thyroid problem for which I take daily medication, so now I know that I need to proceed with caution. I am happy that I found your site. Very helpful!
Thank you, John. I’m glad you found the article informative.
A really interesting article about the pros and cons of Kale!
I’m getting more interested in healthy eating as I get older and one key point I took from your article was the idea of ‘all things in moderation’. It never really occurred to me before that you really can have too much of a good thing and therefore, despite the long list of health benefits that kale has, you can still eat too much of it, which isn’t good at all!
I never knew either that non-digestible fibre content can actually act as an internal scrubber – you really can learn something new every day!
Thanks also for the kale based recipes in your article. They sound delicious and easy to prepare too, so I’m definitely going to have a go at making some of them.
Thanks and best wishes