Kale is a leafy, cruciferous vegetable that many consider a superfood for its high nutrient content. While kale has its benefits, you may want to eat more of it. This may lead you to wonder, how much kale should you eat per day?
You should consume no more than 2 ½ cups of kale per week. The Dietary Guidelines For Americans recommends 2 1/2 cups of dark-green vegetables per week. While it is safe to consume kale daily, it is recommended you don’t exceed the suggested serving per day or week.
This article will discuss further why this amount of kale per day is recommended. In addition, I’ll inform you about some side effects of eating too much of it. You may want to know how to absorb the most nutrients as possible from the amount of kale you eat. Let’s dig in!
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How Much Kale To Eat Per Day
The daily recommendation is to eat approximately no more than 2 1/2 cups per week. The USDA recommends 2 1/2 cups of total vegetables per day. This total amount of vegetables includes the following:
- Dark greens
- Red & orange
- Legumes (Beans & Peas)
- Starchy & other
Limiting kale intake leaves room for more of the other recommended vegetables. This improves your nutrient intake with a wider variety of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants contained in other veggies 1.
In addition, eating too much kale or anything, may have some negative consequences which leads me to the next section.
What Are the Side Effects of Eating Too Much Kale Per Day?
Kale is best in moderation, as too much kale can lead to health complications like:
- Digestive issues: Kale can cause bloating in people who have difficulty digesting FODMAPs 2 which are carbs found in some food. In addition, cruciferous vegetables can cause gastrointestinal distress if you have a C. diff infection 3.
- Fatigue: The fatigue from kale can be caused in two ways. A long-chain wax found on dark leafy greens can affect energy. In addition, it can contribute to thyroid problems and cause someone to feel tired.
- Thyroid disease: According to Oregon State University, extremely high intakes of cruciferous vegetables have been found to cause hypothyroidism in animals 4.
These side effects are rare unless you are prone to thyroid complications or eat way too much kale. It is notably challenging to consume kale to the point where it becomes harmful. Still, it is best to stick to the daily recommendations to be safe.
People on Certain Medications
In addition, people who take certain medications should maybe limit their kale intake:
- People who use beta-blockers: Beta-blockers can increase potassium and are typically prescribed to people for heart disease and high blood pressure. Therefore, since kale is high in potassium, it should be consumed in moderation.
- People with kidney disease: Too much potassium intake like from kale, can have an adverse affect on people whose kidneys are not fully functional.
- People who take blood thinners: Foods high in vitamin K, like kale, may interfere with the activity of blood thinners. This is so because vitamin k can contribute to blood clotting.
Anyone taking any of the above medications should speak to their physicians about foods to avoid or limit.
People who eat kale frequently are at a higher risk of developing an allergy to it. An allergy to kale may result in the following symptoms:
- Itchy skin
- Digestive issues
- Swelling of the mouth, lips and throat
If you find yourself in the small group of people with allergic reactions to kale or cruciferous vegetables, avoid them and consult with your physician 5.
Why You Shouldn’t Eat Raw Kale Every Day
You shouldn’t eat regular raw kale because the pesticides used to grow kale in modern farms can be toxic to your nervous system. Washing off the kale before eating may not remove all the toxic residue.
- Kale, collard and mustard greens
- Bell and hot peppers
For this reason, try purchasing organic kale from your local farmer’s market or supermarket. You might want to cook your kale, even if it claims to be organic, as cooking kale can help reduce the bitter flavor it’s known to provide.
Heating kale does drastically reduces the following nutrients:
- Vitamin C
Although studies have shown steaming kale preserves most of its nutrients and antioxidants when compared to other cooking methods 8. To consume kale the healthy way, steam it for no longer than five minutes before eating.
How To Get The Most Nutrients out of Kale
While eating your recommended amount of kale per day or week, you can improve the nutrient absorption of kale. Therefore it will come in handy knowing, how to get the most nutrients out of kale?
Get the most nutrients out of kale by combining it with foods that support nutrition absorption. Pair kale with foods rich in fatty acids which can boost the uptake of the fat-soluble vitamins present in the vegetable. Mix kale with vitamin C rich foods which helps the body absorb more of the iron.
The following vitamins 9 are fat-soluble:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
The following are foods 10 high in Omega-3 fatty acids:
- Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring
- Chia seeds
- Fortified eggs
- Fortified yogurt
The following foods 11 are high In Vitamin C:
- Red pepper
- Green pepper
- Brussel sprouts
Benefits of Eating Kale Everyday
The following are 8 benefits of eating the recommended amount of kale per day or week:
- Kale provides twice as much vitamin C as an orange.
- Kale is one of the best plant sources of Vitamin A.
- Kale provides more calcium per serving than milk.
- Kale provides more than four times the recommended dose of Vitamin K.
- Kale detoxes the body.
- Kale has nutrients that help protect the heart.
- Kale can help lower cholesterol levels.
- Kale can help protect the eyes from disorders.
Wrapping Up How Much Kale To Eat Per Day
Most people should consider adding this nutrient-dense vegetable to their plates a few times a week. Alternatively, you can add it to your smoothies or fruit juices for easy consumption.
Read Next – More Articles on Anti Aging Foods!
- Health.gov: Dietary Guidelines For Americans 2015-2020 Eight Edition
- Wikipedia: FODMAP
- CDC: What is C. diff?
- Oregon State University: Cruciferous Vegetables
- Oxford Academic: Allerbase: a comprehensive allergen knowledgebase
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Pesticides
- EWG: EWG’s 2021 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce
- ScienceDirect: Steam cooking significantly improves in vitro bile acid binding of collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage
- National Cancer Institute: fat-soluble vitamin
- National Institutes of Health: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin C