Red Russian kale originated in Siberia and made its way to North America via traders in the late 1800s. With its blue-green leaves and reddish-purple veins, red kale is so jam-packed with beneficial nutrients it is often dubbed a “super food.” Eating red kale regularly may have wide-ranging benefits such as promoting eye and heart health and preventing cancer. Enjoy it steamed or sauteed, or use it raw in smoothies and salads.
Red kale is a low-calorie, low-carb, low-fat food that also supplies protein. An 85-gram serving, or about 3 ounces, has 45 calories. Of the 9 grams of carbohydrates in a serving, 2 grams are from dietary fiber, which improves digestive health and keeps you feeling full longer. A serving of kale has less than a gram of fat, 3 grams of protein, 35 milligrams of sodium and no sugar.
A serving of red kale gives you 260 percent of the daily value for vitamin A and 170 percent of the DV for vitamin C, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Along with the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which are also found in generous amounts in kale, vitamin A supports healthy eyesight, especially as you age. The lutein in kale has potential benefits for heart health, too, by preventing plaque formation in the arteries, according to one test-tube study. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights cell damage from free radicals, which can build up and lead to chronic illness. A serving of kale also gives you small amounts of calcium and iron.