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Kale Is Among The Most Nutrient-Dense Foods on The Planet. Of all the super healthy greens, kale is king.

It is definitely one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant foods in existence. Kale is loaded with all sorts of beneficial compounds, some of which have powerful medicinal properties.

Here are 10 health benefits of kale that are supported by science.

Kale Nutrition

Kale is a super food with staying power.

The dark, leafy green has been on dinner plates since Roman times and has long been common across much of Europe. The vegetable hails from the cabbage family, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, and collards.

Kale is more popular than ever, and it's packed with vitamins and minerals.

Kale can be curly, flat, or even have a bluish tint mixed in with the green. The flavors differ, so try them all.

10 Health Benefits of Kale


Of all the super healthy greens, kale is king.

It is definitely one of the healthiest    and most nutritious plant foods in existence.

Kale is loaded with all sorts of beneficial compounds, some of which have powerful medicinal properties.

Here are 10 health benefits of kale that are supported by science.

1. Kale Is Among The Most Nutrient-Dense Foods on The Planet

Kale is a popular vegetable and a member of the cabbage family.

It is a cruciferous vegetable like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussels sprouts.

There are many different types of kale. The leaves can be green or purple, and have either a smooth or curly shape.

The most common type of kale is called curly kale or Scots kale, which has green and curly leaves and a hard, fibrous stem.

A single cup of raw kale (about 67 grams or 2.4 ounces) contains (1):

1. Vitamin A: 206% of the DV (from beta-carotene)
2. Vitamin K: 684% of the DV
3. Vitamin C: 134% of the DV
4. Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
5. Manganese: 26% of the DV
6. Calcium: 9% of the DV
7. Copper: 10% of the DV
8. Potassium: 9% of the DV
9. Magnesium: 6% of the DV
10. It also contains 3% or more of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron and phosphorus

This is coming with a total of 33 calories, 6 grams of carbs (2 of which are fiber) and 3 grams of protein.

Kale contains very little fat, but a large portion of the fat in it is an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic-acid.

Given its incredibly low calorie content, kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet.

Growing Kale

Cold-hardy and resilient, kale is an easy member of the cabbage family to grow. You can set out plants quite early in spring as long as you protect the young plants from severe cold winds with a cover.  

They will grow steadily for months until the weather gets too warm. You’ll get a second chance to plant kale in the fall, when cool weather brings out a wonderfully sweet, nutty flavor that is unique to these cold-natured plants.

Fall is the best time for growing kale in areas where winter doesn’t dip below the teens, or in a cold frame farther north, because the leaves are sweeter when they mature in cooler weather.

In the kitchen, kale can be steamed, stir-fried, or substituted for spinach in omelets, casseroles, or even quesadillas. It’s a wonderful addition to smoothies, too.

Soil, Planting, and Care

Set out plants in spring 3 to 5 weeks before the last frost; in late summer, you can begin planting kale 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost for fall and winter harvests, and continue planting throughout the fall in zones 8, 9, and 10.

Kale grows best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade as well. Plants that receive fewer than 6 hours of sun daily will not be as stocky or leafy as those that get ample sun, but they will still be plenty edible! Like collards, kale likes fertile soil to grow fast and produce tender leaves.

Enrich the soil with compost and fertilizer before setting out the seedlings. Apply fertilizer and lime according to test recommendations. If you forgo the soil test, work nitrogen-rich amendments such as blood meal, cottonseed meal, or composted manure into the ground before planting.

Kale being watered in the garden. Kale needs lots of water to make tender leaves.

Kale will produce the most tender leaves if the plants get plenty of moisture from the beginning.

The soil pH should be 6.5 to 6.8 to discourage clubroot disease, although the plants will grow fine in a pH of 6.2 to 6.8 if clubroot is not a problem in your garden.

To be sure about your soil pH, test the soil with a do-it-yourself kit, or by using your regional Cooperative Extension office.

Kale is easy to plant, and grows beautifully in both raised beds and containers. To create the ideal growing environment for the plant roots, fill raised beds with Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil and containers with Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix.

Set plants at the depth at which they are growing in the container. Space them 18 to 24 inches apart. The leaves will grow bigger if given a lot of space, but smaller leaves tend to be the most tender.

After planting, water plants well and apply a liquid fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro® LiquaFeed® Tomato, Fruits & Vegetables Plant Food for excellent results.

At this point you may need to be patient, because spring-planted kale may stay small until slightly warmer soil temperatures trigger vigorous growth. Kale planted in late summer or early fall may sulk through spells of hot weather.

Then, when conditions improve, the plants will take off, quickly multiplying in size.

Kale likes a nice, even supply of water, about 1 to 1.5 inches per week. You can measure how much water rain has provided by using a rain gauge in the garden.

Mulch with compost, finely ground leaves, weed-free hay, straw, pine needles, or finely ground bark to keep the soil cool and moist and to keep down weeds.

Mulching will also help keep the leaves free of splashing soil for a clean harvest.

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