This Is How Much Kale You Should Eat Per Day

During my Health Coaching Sessions clients often bring up kale. Since it’s beneficial, many people may want to eat more of it. This may lead you to wonder, how much kale should you eat per day?

The USDA recommendation for dark green vegetables, including kale, is consuming 1 1/2 cups per week based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. This equals almost 1/4 cup of kale or dark green vegetables per day (0.21 of a cup). For raw kale, the recommendation is almost 1/2 cup per day or 0.42 of a cup.

This article will discuss in more detail about the different recommendations for vegetables per day and week. The correct amount for you may vary on several factors which are addressed in this article. 

How Much Kale to Eat Per Day

The table below is the USDA recommendation for how many vegetables to eat per day and week based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Vegetable Daily & Weekly Amount of Vegetables

 

Based on 2,000 calories per day

Total Vegetables 2  1/2 cups per day
  Vegetable subgroups in weekly amounts
Dark Green Vegetables (kale) 1  1/2 cups per week
Red and Orange Vegetables 5  1/2 cups per week
Beans, Peas & Lentils 1  1/2 cups per week
Starchy Vegetables 5 cups per week
Other Vegetables 4 cups per week

The number of vegetables you need to eat per day or week depends on your age, sex, height, weight, and level of physical activity. For women, the amount may depend on whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet:

  • Consume 1 1/2 cup of kale or dark green vegetables per week.
  • Consume 0.21 of a cup of cooked kale per day.
  • Consume 0.42 of a cup of raw kale per day.

The number of cups above are for dark greens. The USDA recommends consuming different types of dark greens and not just kale.

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 vegetables 1.

This is exactly what I do with my daily nutrition. I often mix healthy green vegetables like kale, spinach, collards and broccoli. It takes advantage of the different nutrients offered by all. In addition, it breaks my boredom if only eating one kind of food.

Find the exact amount for you by getting your My Plan down further. For general recommendations by age, see the table below. 

The following are the USDA general guidelines for how many cups of total vegetables per day based on age 2.

USDA daily and weekly recommendations for kale and vegetables
USDA daily general recommendations for kale andor total vegetables per day

What counts as a cup of vegetables?

In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy salad greens can be considered as 1 cup from the vegetable group. Therefore, 2 cups of raw kale equal one cup.

The table below lists specific amounts counting as 1 cup of vegetables towards your recommended intake.

USDA table of vegetables and kale
USDA recommendation for what counts as one cup of vegetables or kale

MyPlate Plan

The number of cups may vary for you depending on your age, sex, weight, height and activity level. Find out your exact recommendation for kale and other vegetables below by clicking on the start button on the Get Your MyPlate Plan below.


After totaling calories, click on the calories for your specific plan and find the number of cups for vegetables.

How To Get The Most Nutrients

While eating your recommended amount per day or week, you can improve the nutrient absorption. Therefore it will come in handy knowing, how to get the most nutrients.

Get the most nutrients out of kale by combining it with foods that support nutrition absorption. Pair it 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.

Benefits

The following are 8 benefits of eating the recommended amount of kale per day or week:

  1. It provides twice as much vitamin C as an orange.
  2. It’s one of the best plant sources of Vitamin A.
  3. It provides more calcium per serving than milk.
  4. Kale provides more than four times the recommended dose of Vitamin K.
  5. It detoxes the body.
  6. It has nutrients that help protect the heart.
  7. Kale can help lower cholesterol levels.
  8. It can help protect the eyes from disorders.
how much kale to eat per day or week

Side Effects 

Health Complications

Kale is best in moderation, as too much can lead to complications like:

  • Digestive issues: Kale can cause bloating in people who have difficulty digesting FODMAPs 3 which are carbs found in some food. In addition, cruciferous vegetables can cause gastrointestinal distress if you have a C. diff infection 4.
  • Fatigue: The fatigue 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 5.

These side effects are rare unless you are prone to thyroid complications or eat way too much. 

People on Certain Medications

In addition, people who take certain medications should maybe limit their intake:

  • People who use beta-blockers
  • People with kidney disease
  • People who take blood thinners

Anyone taking any of the above medications should speak to their physicians about foods to avoid or limit.

Allergy

An allergy to kale may result in the following symptoms:

  • Hives
  • Itchy skin
  • Digestive issues
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of the mouth, lips and throat

If you find yourself in the small group of people with allergic reactions to cruciferous vegetables, avoid them and consult with your physician 6.

salad with kale
A salad with kale

Addition resources 7

Read More Vegetable Related Articles

Kale vs Spinach: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison

Organic Kale vs Regular Kale: What’s the Difference?

21 Best Anti-Aging Vegetables for a Healthier You

The 6 Best Vegetables to Go With Blueberries

5 Best Alternatives for Spinach When Cooking

Should Salad be Served in a Bowl or a Plate?

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. Health.gov: Dietary Guidelines For Americans 2020-2025[]
  2. USDA MyPlate: Vegetables[]
  3. Wikipedia: FODMAP[]
  4. CDC: What is C. diff?[]
  5. Oregon State University: Cruciferous Vegetables[]
  6. Oxford Academic: Allerbase: a comprehensive allergen knowledgebase[]
  7. CDC: Only 1 in 10 Adults Get Enough Fruits or Vegetables[]

Similar Posts