Kale is a leafy green vegetable packed with nutritional value. Kale is so rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories that it is even considered a super food. Kale can be stored for a couple of days in the refrigerator and can be cooked into dishes that require high temperatures. Adding kale to your diet considerably increases your intake of healthy vitamins and minerals.
Fat and Calories
Kale is a fat-free food that is low in overall calories. A half cup of cooked kale will add as little as 20 calories to your diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fiber and Protein
You need between 25g and 35g of fiber per day. The amount of protein you need varies, but falls between 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories, according to the CDC. Overall, kale does not contain high amounts of either fiber or protein, but when eaten as a part of your daily intake of vegetables, kale can help you reach your nutritional goals. The fiber and protein content found in kale will help to fill you up and keep you feeling full for an extended period of time. According to Harvard University Health Services, a 1/2 cup serving of cooked kale will provide you with 2 1/2 g of fiber. This 1/2 cup serving of kale also contains 1 g of protein.
Kale adds about 1 percent of your daily sodium needs to your diet, according to the CDC. Each half cup serving of kale contains about 15 mg of sodium, making it a low sodium food.
Kale contains an assortment of vitamins, but it is especially high in vitamin A. Eating a 1/2 cup serving of vitamin A will surpass your daily vitamin A needs, providing you with 180 percent of your vitamin A. Kale also contains 45 percent of your daily vitamin C, according to the CDC. In addition, kale contains B vitamins, chlorophyll and manganese, reports the United States Department of Agriculture.
Dairy milk is not the only quality source of calcium available. Kale can also provide you with calcium. A 1/2 cup serving of cooked kale will provide you with 14 percent of your daily calcium needs, according to the CDC. Getting your calcium from kale instead of milk can help decrease your overall calorie and saturated fat intake.
Men need about 8 mg of iron per day, while women need about 18 mg per day, according to the CDC. Getting enough iron is especially important for women and growing teenagers. Inadequate amounts of iron can lead to anemia, which can cause problems such as fatigue. Kale can meet 4 percent of your daily iron needs in every half-cup serving, notes the CDC.
Kale contains a rich amount of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, are found in plants that help protect the plant against bacteria, viruses and fungi. These phytochemicals may have cancer fighting properties for you and generally cannot be taken in supplement form, according to the Yale Medical Group.
- Yale Medical Group: Nutrition and Cancer - Phytochemicals, Antioxidants, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- United States Department of Agriculture: Kale
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vegetable of the Month: Cooking Greens
- Harvard University Health Services: Fiber Content of Foods in Common Portions
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Nutrition for Everyone: Basics: Protein
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Iron and Iron Deficiency