Can you eat kale raw?

In this brief blog, we will answer the question,”Can you eat kale raw?” We will look at the nutritional profile of raw kale. We will discuss some potential health benefits of eating kale. We will finally briefly look at the potential risks of eating raw kale.

Can you eat kale raw?

Yes, you can eat kale raw or cooked. You can have your kale raw in salads, green juices and smoothies. And what’s more you get to reap the nutritional benefits it comes with such as Vitamin C, Calcium, Lutein which assists with good vision among other essential nutrients.

What is the nutritional profile of raw Kale?

Kale is very nutrition dense and has even been labeled as a superfood by some people. A 21g serving of raw kale can typically provide the below nutrients:

  • Calories 7.4
  • Total fat 0.3 g 
  • Sodium 11 mg
  • Total carbs 0.9 g
  • Dietary fiber 0.9 g 3% of Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI)
  • Sugar 0.2 g 1% of the RDI
  • Protein 0.6 g 
  • Vitamin D 0 mcg
  • Calcium 53 mg 4% of the RDI
  • Iron 0.3 mg 2% of the RDI
  • Potassium 73mg 2% of the RDI

What are some health benefits of consuming kale?

It contains potent antioxidants such as Quercetin and Kaempferol

Kale is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants such as Vitamin C, beta-carotene as well as a variety of polyphenols and  flavonoids. Antioxidants are very important compounds which help neutralize any free radicals in the body thus preventing oxidative damage.

Oxidative damage usually results in diseases such as cancer and also accelerates aging. The flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol which are also found in high amounts in kale have other functions.

Studies have found them to have beneficial effects such as anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammatory and also lower the blood pressure as well as being good for the heart.

It is a good source of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a very essential water soluble antioxidant that is useful in functions in the body cells such as the synthesis of a structural protein known as collagen.

Kale is an excellent source of Vitamin C as compared to other veggies as it packs 4.5 times more Vit C as spinach.

Kale is one of the best sources of Vit C, for context a cup of raw kale has more Vit C than a whole orange!!

It is a good source of Vitamin K

Aside from Vitamin C, Kale is also an excellent source of Vit K. Vitamin K is a very important nutrient that is useful in blood clotting. It usually does this by stimulating some types of protein and enabling them to bind calcium.

Anticoagulants such as Warfarin actually work by blocking this functionality of Vitamin K. Kale packs up a high amount of Vit K with a cup delivering almost seven times of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI). Kale contains Vitamin K in the form K1 which differs from Vit K2 that’s found in some animal products and soy foods.

It contains cancer fighting compounds

Kale contains beneficial compounds that scientists have studied to have protective effects against cancer. Sulforaphane is a good example and it has been studied and shown to assist fight the formation of cancer at the molecular level.

It as well contains indole-3-carbinol, which is another compound that has been studied and shown to assist in the prevention of cancer.

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Research has also shown that cruciferous veggies (vegetables of the family Brassicaceae) which include kale can significantly reduce the risk of several cancers.

What are some potential risks of eating raw kale?

Raw kale may contain high amounts of goitrin

Raw kale can be detrimental by harming your thyroid function despite it being nutritious. Kale as well as other cruciferous veggies comes high in goitrogens.

Goitrogens are compounds that disrupt the production of thyroid hormones. Raw kales have a type of goitrogen known as goitrins.

The problem with goitrogens is that they can lower the uptake of iodine which is very important in the making of thyroid hormones.

This presents a problem as thyroid hormones are useful in the regulation of body metabolism. Thyroid dysfunction can cause weight gain, irregular heart rates, reduced energy levels, sensitivity to cold among other issues.

Conclusion

In this brief blog, we have answered the question,”Can you eat kale raw?” We have looked at the nutritional profile of raw kale. We have discussed some potential health benefits of eating kale. We have finally briefly looked at the potential risks of eating raw kale.

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/can-you-eat-raw-kale#goitrin

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