The Lowdown on Kale Nutrition

STACK Expert Kait Fortunato explains the benefits of kale nutrition and provides five ways to prepare the leafy green vegetable.


It's winter vegetable season, which means it's time for kale—one of the world's healthiest vegetables and a personal favorite of mine. Most people tend to be turned off by the bitter taste of this leafy green plant. But, over the years I have experimented with ways to make it something I actually look forward to eating. That said, here is the lowdown on kale nutrition.

Why eat kale?

Naturally low in calories, a serving of kale provides 10 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Kale is also full of flavonoids, which alleviate inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.

The isothiocyanates in kale rid cells of toxins from the environment and food. Kale is also a great source of calcium and iron.

How to buy and store kale

When purchasing kale, look for dark, rich leaves and firm, hard stems. It should be free from browning. Avoid wilted leaves. Stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, kale will keep from five to seven days.

Ways to prepare kale

  • Kale chips: Toss kale with olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast it at 400 F. This makes for a crunchy snack bursting with health benefits.
  • "Massaged" kale: Take some olive oil and massage it into the kale. This breaks down the fibrous structure, which takes away the bitter taste. Unlike most lettuce, kale does not get soggy when you add dressing, so it holds up well in packed lunches. Top with your favorite salad ingredients.
  • Kale smoothie: To get a head start on your kale intake, mix kale into your breakfast smoothie with fruit, yogurt and flax or peanut butter. The sweetness from the fruit will mask the bitterness.
  • Kale pesto: I love this recipe—a less traditional way to prepare kale, which also calls for walnuts.
  • Kale soup: Since kale is such a hearty vegetable, it is an ideal addition to soups and stews. It holds its structure well and adds great texture and fiber. This sausage and kale recipe is both healthy and easy.

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