What Is Kale Good For?

Hail to Kale!
Botanical name: Borecole oleracea

Kale Nutrition Facts

Kale is an easy-to-grow, green leafy vegetable1 that can thrive even during the cold winter. There are a variety of ways that you can include kale in your favorite dishes; For instance, salads can be more delicious if you add small kale leaves, and larger kale varieties are good when they're steamed, sautéed or stir-fried.2

One of the most well-known varieties is dinosaur kale, also called Tuscan kale or Lacinato kale.3 It has long,4 crinkly5 and dark blue- or black-green leaves,6 and is a good way to take your soups, pasta dishes and salads up a notch.7

According to The Spruce, kale plants can be harvested while they're young, so you can enjoy them right away, or they can be allowed to mature.8 After harvesting, they can last in your refrigerator for up to a week.9 If you don't have enough resources to grow your own kale, you can buy it at your local farmers market, provided that it's organically grown and GMO-free.

Health Benefits of Kale

The vitamins offered by just 100 grams of this vegetable are quite impressive: 389.6 micrograms of vitamin K, 241 micrograms of vitamin A and 93.4 milligrams of vitamin C.10 In fact, kale is called a superfood,11 thanks to its numerous beneficial compounds.

A 2012 study reported that a kale variety possessed high amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin C.12 This green vegetable is also a good source of the phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol,13 which may help promote in DNA cell repair,14 stimulate apoptosis or cell death15 and inhibit cancer development.16

Sulforaphane, another compound found in kale,17 was proven by studies to deliver a protective effect against certain cancers,18,19,20 and may help enhance the health of your liver21 and gastrointestinal tract.22 Lastly, kale contains lutein and zeaxanthin,23 both of which may help protect your eyes from macular degeneration.24,25,26 Kale has even been compared to beef,27 as both foods contain some quantities of nutrients like iron, protein and calcium.28,29

According to a 2018 study, kale is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids,30 which may help fight inflammation, build cell membranes31 and reduce your risk of heart disease,32 stroke33 or cardiac arrest.34 These fats have also been noted for their ability to alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis35 and lower your risk for lupus.36

If you want to learn more about the different vitamins and nutrients you can get from kale, check out the table below:37

Kale Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams), raw
  Amt. Per
% Daily
Calories 35 kcal  
Calories from Fat    
Total Fat 1.49 g  
Saturated Fat 0.178 g  
Trans Fat 0 g  
Cholesterol 0 mg  
Sodium 53 mg  
Total Carbohydrates 4.42 g  
Dietary Fiber 4.1 g  
Sugar 0.99 g  
Protein 2.92 g  
Vitamin A 241 µg Vitamin C 93.4 mg
Calcium 254 mg Iron 1.60 mg

Studies Done on Kale

Authors of a study published in International Urology and Nephrology discovered that out of all the foods involved in their research, kale had the highest protective effect against bladder cancer,38 considered the sixth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S.39

Another study highlighted the impressive number of flavonoids found in kale. Overall, there were 32 phenolic compounds found in the vegetable, including kaempferol and quercetin, as well as three hydroxycinnamic acids.40 These acids are known to help scavenge harmful free radicals in your body41 and deliver anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial capabilities.42

However, note that the effectiveness of several antioxidants and vitamins in kale can be lessened when the vegetable is cooked.43 As such, you may want to consider consuming kale raw or cooking it minimally.

Kale Healthy Recipes:
Refreshing Asian Marinated Kale and Kraut Salad Recipe

Kale Healthy Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes


1 head curly kale, stemmed and ripped into 2- to 3-inch pieces

2 to 4 tablespoons sauerkraut or tsukemono (Japanese pickles)

2 hard-boiled organic, pastured eggs, sliced or diced

Sesame seeds for garnishing


1 garlic clove, minced


2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons oil of high-quality extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

1/2 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon each of fine sea salt and black pepper

Monk fruit, to taste

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder


  1. Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl big enough for the kale
  2. Add in the kale. Since the leaves vary in size, start with a few pieces and gradually add more once you see how much marinade is left. Toss to coat and squeeze the kale using your hands to break down the fibrous texture and work in the dressing.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temp for two to three hours, or refrigerate overnight.
  4. When you are ready to eat the salad, mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons of sauerkraut per serving then add the egg.
  5. Drizzle your salad with a little extra olive oil, and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Crushed chili flakes will be great too!

(Recipe adapted from My Longevity Kitchen44)

Kale Fun Facts

Kale was first cultivated from wild varieties by the Greeks and Romans45 and later spread throughout Europe. From there, this vegetable reached the Americas in the 1600s.46  


Kale is a Brassica vegetable47 that’s made a name for itself as one of the healthiest foods you can grow in your garden48 or purchased from your local farmers market. It’s becoming better known in the U.S., not just for the flavor it brings to soups, salads and other dishes,49 but because of the many health benefits it provides.

Because kale is loaded with vitamins and nutrients,50 it may aid in reducing your risk for several cancers,51,52,53,54,55 heart disease,56 autoimmune diseases57,58and even macular degeneration.59,60,61 With all these benefits, you may want to add more of it to your breakfast, lunch or dinner.