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A nutritional powerhouse, kale contains high amounts of several vitamins and minerals. Of note is its hefty vitamin K content. Vitamin K is responsible for blood-clotting, which means that it may interact with medications meant to thin the blood. If you're on such a medication, be sure to speak with your doctor about how much kale you can safely consume.
Kale's Vitamin K Content
Like most green leafy vegetables, kale is a rich source of vitamin K. One cup of chopped raw kale contains 472 micrograms of the vitamin. This is far more than 100 percent of the adequate intake for adults, which is 90 micrograms for women and 120 micrograms for men. Cooked kale is an even richer source; 1 cup offers over 1,062 micrograms. That's more than 10 times the adequate intake for women.
- Like most green leafy vegetables, kale is a rich source of vitamin K. One cup of chopped raw kale contains 472 micrograms of the vitamin.
- Cooked kale is an even richer source; 1 cup offers over 1,062 micrograms.
Problems With Too Much K
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For healthy people, getting too much vitamin K isn't a problem. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that excess is stored in the body, but no known toxicity risks occur from taking in too much. If you have a condition that requires you to take blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, however, excessive intake of vitamin K or fluctuations in the amount you consume each day through diet and supplements can inhibit the effectiveness of your medication and lead to complications.
What to Do
Be sure to talk to your doctor about your specific situation. The Linus Pauling Institute recommends that people taking anti-coagulants stick to the adequate intake for vitamin K and keep their intake levels steady 3. This means you'll have to limit your intake of kale, especially if you eat other vitamin K-rich foods throughout the day. Other foods high in vitamin K include other leafy greens such as spinach and collard greens, as well as brussels sprouts, broccoli and asparagus. If kale is your only source, you can have about 1/4 cup of the raw vegetable in a day.
- Be sure to talk to your doctor about your specific situation.
- This means you'll have to limit your intake of kale, especially if you eat other vitamin K-rich foods throughout the day.
Other Benefits of Kale
Vitamin E and Bruises
Including some kale in your diet is a good thing. Kale is a rich source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which support your eyesight. It's also rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene, which can potentially boost immunity and prevent diseases such as cancer. If you're a vegetarian who avoids dairy, you should know that kale is one of the richest vegetarian sources of calcium, which you need for strong bones.
- Including some kale in your diet is a good thing.
- Kale is a rich source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which support your eyesight.
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- USDA National Nutrient Database: Kale, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Kale, Cooked, Boiled, Drained, Without Salt
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin K
- AARP: Hail Kale! Why You Should (or Shouldn’t) Eat It
- Healthaliciousness.com: Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin K
- Kale, raw. USDA FoodData Central. Updated April 1, 2019
- Tapsell LC, Batterham MJ, Thorne RL, O'Shea JE, Grafenauer SJ, Probst YC. Weight loss effects from vegetable intake: a 12-month randomised controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014;68(7):778–785. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2014.39
- Blekkenhorst LC, Sim M, Bondonno CP, et al. Cardiovascular Health Benefits of Specific Vegetable Types: A Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2018;10(5). doi:10.3390/nu10050595
- Lin T, Zirpoli GR, McCann SE, Moysich KB, Ambrosone CB, Tang L. Trends in cruciferous vegetable consumption and associations with breast cancer risk: A case-control study. Curr Dev Nutr. 2017;1(8):e000448. Published 2017 Jul 18. doi:10.3945/cdn.117.000448
- Vitamin K. National Institutes of Health. February 2020.
- Fusaro M, Mereu MC, Aghi A, Iervasi G, Gallieni M. Vitamin K and bone. Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2017;14(2):200–206. doi:10.11138/ccmbm/2017.14.1.200
- Vitamin C. Fact Sheet for Professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated February 27, 2020
- Antioxidants: In Depth. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Updated November 2013
- Kale. Natural Medicines Database. The Therapeutic Research Center. Updated 4/13/2020
- Fabbri ADT, Crosby GA. A review of the impact of preparation and cooking on the nutritional quality of vegetables and legumes. International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science. 2016;(3):2-11. doi:10.1016/j.ijgfs.2015.11.001
- Labensky, SR, Hause, AM. On Cooking: A textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. 3rd ed. Upper Sadle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003: 618.
Jody Braverman is a professional writer and editor based in Atlanta, GA. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland, and she is a certified personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and yoga teacher. She has written for various online and print publications, including Livestrong.com, SFGate, Healthfully, and Chron.com. Visit the writer at www.JodyBraverman.com.