Kale - Uses, types, properties and benefits

Kale or Kale is a food that has gained popularity in recent years. Not only for its nutritional properties and benefits but for its easy use in the kitchen. If you’ve never tried Kale, maybe it’s time for you to give it a try.

This plant is considered one of the healthiest foods; its flavor is neutral, so that it can be prepared and combined with various foods.

By reading this article, you will be able to know what Kale is and how to prepare the different types of Kale at home.

Kale: What is it?

Kale ( Brassica oleracea) or Kale is a green vegetable of the cruciferous family. This plant is a relative of broccoli and reaches between 30 and 40 cm in height, whose green leaves have curly characteristics.

Of its properties and nutritional benefits, its high content of potassium, vitamin K and vegetable fiber stands out. Just as some studies suggest that eating Kale is good for improving cardiovascular and kidney health. (1,2)

It is recommended to eat Kale raw in smoothies or salads to maintain its properties.

The nutrients in kale leaves help improve skin, hair, and bone health. Like other foods with vegetable fiber, it helps to improve the digestion process.

Kale types

At least three types of kale leaves can be distinguished:

Kale crisp is the most common type of Kale. Its color is dark green or slightly purple. Its leaves are rough and easy to cut.

  1. Lacinate or kale dinosaurio

It is a type of Kale with a slightly bluish color. This variety is firmer and more robust than the crepe, so it is ideal for preparing snacks. Its leaves are long, and it maintains its texture after being cooked; its flavor is slightly more bitter.

A slightly reddish color is what distinguishes this type of Kale. Its leaves are the most fibrous and have a little sweet and delicate flavor compared to the other types. They are ideal for preparing smoothies, salads, and sandwiches.

Nutritional properties in 100 g of Kale:

Kale is a food rich in vitamin C . 100 g of Kale contains more than three times the amount of vitamin C as spinach. In addition to a higher concentration of antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. It is also lower in antinutrients such as oxalate, which allows calcium and iron to be fully absorbed.

Kale has better nutritional properties than spinach. Studies (2) confirm that its vitamin C content is five times higher. Eating this food ranges from improving blood glucose levels to improving bone health.

The nutritional properties in 100 g of Kale are:

  • Nine calories
  • 0.8 g of protein
  • 1.4 g carbohydrates
  • 0.9 g of vegetable fiber
  • 1060 mcg the vitamin K
  • 1.11 mg of vitamin E
  • 45 mg of vitamin C.
  • 80 mcg of vitamin A
  • 8 mg magnesium
  • 0.4 mg manganese
  • 296 mcg potassium
  • 0.1 g Omega-3 fatty acids

Benefits of Eating Kale

The benefits of eating Kale are:

  1. Improve cardiovascular health

Kale leaves are a high potassium food. Increasing the dose of potassium through food is related to improving sodium levels. Consequently, it improves cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The recommended dose of potassium is 4.7 g per day. Eating 100 g of raw Kale covers 15% of the daily needs. (3)

  1. Prevention of type 2 diabetes

Kale is a food that can not be missing in a diet for type 2 diabetics. Its high fiber content can reduce the glycemic index of foods and, therefore, improve insulin response. Studies recommend including cruciferous vegetables at least twice a day to prevent type 2 diabetes. (2)

  1. It can improve bone health

An insufficient amount of vitamin K in the diet is associated with an increased likelihood of bone fractures. (4) Including kale leaves in your diet is a simple and inexpensive way to improve bone health.

  1. May reduce certain types of cancer.

Like other green foods, Kale contains high chlorophyll content. Chlorophyll is a compound with antioxidant properties and is capable of binding to carcinogens. Studies (5) recommend including these foods to reduce the chances of certain types of cancer.

  1. Improve hair and skin health

Kale is a food high in retinol ( vitamin A ). 100 g of raw leaves provide about 869 mcg of retinol, a value of 70% of an adult per day. (2) This micronutrient is essential for hair growth and skin cell regeneration.

How do you prepare Kale and maintain its properties?

The best way to prepare and not lose its properties are:

  1. In salads

When preparing kale leaves in salads, it is recommended to massage the leaves and rub them between them with your hands. This allows to break the cellulose walls of the sheets and gives them a smoother texture. It is also a way to improve the absorption of its nutritional properties.

  1. As an accompaniment

Steam the Kale for about 5 minutes, then pat dry, and add Teriyaki sauce; It is an exquisite way to prepare Kale without losing its nutritional properties.

  1. In the form of Snacks

To prepare kale-based snacks, sauté the leaves in olive oil for 3 minutes, and add turmeric, garlic powder, or hot paprika. Then take it to 180 degrees in the oven for 15 minutes, and voila: a healthy crunchy snack.

  1. Batidos detox

Kale has a neutral taste, so it can be combined with fruits and other green vegetables to prepare detox shakes. You need a processor, ice, and some natural sweetener like stevia.

Who can’t eat Kale? – Side effects and contraindications

Kale is contraindicated for those taking beta-blocker blood pressure medications. The potassium-rich foods can interact strongly with these drugs.

We remember that all minerals are toxic in excessive amounts. A dose greater than 4 g of potassium makes it difficult for the kidney to work and can cause hypercalcemia, even in healthy people. (6)

Finally, one of the possible side effects of eating excessive amounts can be vitamin K hypervitaminosis. This can cause liver disorders and interact with anticoagulant medications such as warfarin.


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