Kale Nutrition Facts - The Powerhouse Green Superfood

Kale Nutrition Facts – The Powerhouse Green Superfood




Kale is one of the most nutritious and versatile leafy green vegetables. Often referred to as a “superfood”, kale is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and powerful plant compounds that provide numerous health benefits. Here is a comprehensive overview of kale nutrition facts and why you should include it in your diet.

Kale Nutrition Facts

Below is the nutrition information for 1 cup (67g) of raw, chopped kale (1):


Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 33 2%
Protein 2.5g 5%
Carbs 6g 2%
Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 1g
Fat 0.5g 1%


Vitamin Amount % DV
Vitamin A 206% 10302 IU
Vitamin C 134% 80mg
Vitamin K 684% 531mcg
Vitamin B6 9% 0.2mg
Folate 5% 19mcg


Mineral Amount % DV
Manganese 26% 0.5mg
Calcium 9% 90mg
Potassium 9% 296mg
Magnesium 6% 23mg

As you can see, kale provides high amounts of vitamins A, C and K. It is also a good source of manganese, calcium, potassium and magnesium.

However, the true benefit lies in its unique combination and concentration of antioxidants.

Kale Antioxidants and Phytonutrients

Kale contains at least 45 different antioxidant compounds that contribute to its powerful antioxidant capacity (2).

These include:

  • Carotenoids: Beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin
  • Flavonoids: Quercetin, kaempferol
  • Polyphenols: Coumaric acid, ferulic acid
  • Glucosinolates: Glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin

The main antioxidants in kale are (3):

  • Quercetin: A flavonoid that may help lower blood pressure and reduce arthritis symptoms.
  • Kaempferol: A flavonoid with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Carotenoids that protect the eyes from UV damage.
  • Beta-carotene: An antioxidant form of vitamin A, important for immune function and healthy skin.
  • Glucoraphanin: A glucosinolate that may have anticancer effects. Converts to sulforaphane.
  • Glucobrassicin: A glucosinolate with anticancer and antidiabetic properties. Converts to indole-3-carbinol.

This synergistic combination of antioxidants is responsible for many of kale’s health benefits.

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Health Benefits of Kale

Regularly eating kale can provide you with impressive health benefits, from reduced inflammation to protection against chronic diseases.

1. Rich in Powerful Antioxidants

Kale has an extremely high antioxidant capacity, due to itscontent of flavonoids, polyphenols and glucosinolates (4).

Antioxidants help counter oxidative stress causedby an excess of free radicals and chronic inflammation. Eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods like kale can help prevent oxidative damage to cells.

2. May Lower Cholesterol and Heart Disease Risk

Kale contains bile acid sequestrants, compounds that bind to bile acids in your gut to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. Steam cooking significantly increases these compounds in kale (5).

Eating steamed kale regularly may help lower LDL cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.

3. Contains Compounds That May Lower Cancer Risk

Kale is a source of several compounds linked to a reduced risk of cancer, including sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol and carotenoids (6).

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions of these substances may help prevent the formation and spread of cancer cells.

4. Excellent Source of Vitamins C and K

Just one cup of raw kale contains 134% of the RDI for vitamin C and 684% of the RDI for vitamin K.

Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system and fight infection, while vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and bone health (7).

5. High in Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Nutrients That Protect Eye Health

Kale is extremely high in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants accumulate in the retina of the eye and protect it from damage caused by sunlight (8).

Getting plenty of lutein and zeaxanthin from your diet may reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

6. Provides Minerals Like Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium

Kale is lower in carbohydrates than many vegetables, but quite high in fiber. It also provides more minerals per calorie than most other vegetables (9).

It’s a great plant-based source of calcium, potassium and magnesium, all important nutrients that most people don’t get enough of.

7. May Lower Blood Pressure

A high potassium intake from foods like kale is linked to lower blood pressure levels in people with hypertension (10).

The antioxidants in kale, including quercetin, may also have a beneficial effect on blood pressure (11).

8. Anti-Inflammatory Properties May Lower Disease Risk

Chronic inflammation contributes to the development of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in kale have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, potentially reducing your risk of these diseases (12).

9. Weight Loss Friendly, Low in Calories But High in Fiber

Kale has only 33 calories per cup, yet provides 6% of your daily fiber needs. High fiber helps manage hunger and may aid weight loss (13).

It takes up a lot of room in your stomach without contributing a lot of calories, reducing your overall calorie intake.

10. Versatile and Easy to Add to Your Diet

Kale is versatile and an easy way to add nutrients to your diet. You can eat it raw in salads, steam, sauté, braise, bake or blend into smoothies.

Here are some easy and delicious ways to include more kale in your meals:

  • Salads: Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
  • Smoothies: Add raw leaves to smoothies or juice kale with fruits and veggies.
  • Sandwiches: Use raw kale leaves as a healthy wrap instead of bread.
  • Snacks: Bake kale chips with olive oil and seasonings for a crunchy snack.
  • Side dish: Sauté with olive oil, garlic and lemon juice, or braise with broth and onions.
  • Casseroles: Mix steamed kale into lasagnas, pasta bakes and stir-fries.
  • Pizza: Top homemade pizzas with sautéed kale for extra nutrients and crunch.

With its stellar nutrient profile and long list of health benefits, there are so many great reasons to eat more kale. Add it to your diet today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is kale better raw or cooked?

Raw kale contains more vitamin C and other heat-sensitive nutrients. However, cooking breaks down the fibrous cell walls, increasing absorption of carotenoids like beta-carotene. Light steaming is the best method.

How should you store kale?

Store raw kale in an airtight container or plastic bag in the fridge for 5-7 days. Do not wash until ready to use. Cooked kale can be refrigerated for 3-5 days.

Can you eat too much kale?

Eating too much raw kale can cause bloating and GI upset in some people. High doses may interfere with thyroid function, especially for those with hypothyroidism. 1-2 cups per day is a healthy amount for most.

Does kale have carbs?

One cup of raw kale provides 6 grams of carbs, almost entirely from fiber. It has only 1 gram of sugar


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