7 Fun Facts About Kale

Reviewed by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, RD, MS on August 15, 2014

1. It's not a new kid on the block

Kale is popular now, but people have been growing this super food for more than 2,000 years. Popular in Europe during Roman times and the Middle Ages, it arrived in the U.S. in the 17th century.

2. How to make kale chips

Kale chips are a simple, good-for-you snack. Remove kale leaves from stems, tear into bite-sized pieces, drizzle with olive oil and a dash of salt, and bake 10 to 15 minutes in a 400 F oven.

3. Powerhouse food

Kale is packed with antioxidants and other nutrients. Some research suggests that regularly eating vegetables in the cabbage family, like kale, helps lower the risk of certain cancers. Of course, many other things also affect your cancer risk.

4. Vitamins you get

One cup of chopped raw kale provides more than 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamins A and K.

5. Kale's relatives

Kale belongs to the same family as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and collards.

6. When it's best

For the best flavor, kale must be harvested after the first frost. This ensures that some of the starches have turned into sugars.

7. Colors of kale

Types of kale are marked by color (green, white, purple, or bluish green) and leaf shape.

Kale contains lutein, a nutrient that helps create the plant’s color. Lutein helps keep eyes and vision healthy.

Recipe: Hearty Kale Vegetable Soup

Makes 6 servings


1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups red potatoes, peeled and diced

6 cups kale (about one bunch), stemmed and coarsely chopped

1 16-ounce can low-sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 14.5-ounce can petite-diced, fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained

4 to 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock

salt, pepper to taste

1 Tbsp sherry vinegar or wine vinegar

1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary


1. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 5 to 7 minutes until lightly browned. Add red bell pepper, carrots, and garlic; saute 5 minutes.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add potatoes, kale, beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, salt, and pepper; simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Add additional water or stock if mixture becomes too thick. Before serving, stir in vinegar and garnish with rosemary.

Per serving: 260 calories, 14 g protein, 43 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 304 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 18%

Show Sources

SOURCES: "Kale."

The World's Healthiest Foods: "Kale."

National Gardening Association: "Kale."

Nutrition Data: "Kale, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt."

National Cancer Institute: "Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention."

U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

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