Saturday, March 7, 2009

How should I eat my kale, raw or cooked?


How should I eat kale (and other brassicas)? Which way is best, raw or cooked? Is there any advantage or reason to eat it one way versus the other? As with all questions, there is rarely only one right answer. Life consists mostly of shades of grey, and the answer to this question is the same (only maybe it is shades of green and purple).

Several months ago, I signed up to receive all research articles published each week about Brassica vegetables in peer-reviewed journals. I have to say that I am rather surprised (pleasantly so) to see that 5-10 articles are published nearly every single week, thus I have accumulated a little stockpile of interesting articles to summarize on this blog that are relevant to eating these health-promoting greens. With 5-10 articles being published weekly, I don't think I'll run out of information to share!

In spite of my backlogged articles, I am choosing to summarize one I saw today, because it gets right to the heart of responding to the very practical question I posed at the top of this post. Raw versus cooked. That is an appropriate beginning. In subsequent posts, I'll explore what is known about the effects of different types of cooking on these vegetables, but for today, let's start at the very beginning.

Steam cooking significantly improves in vitro bile acid binding of collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage.
Nutr Res. 2008 Jun;28(6):351-7., Kahlon TS, Chiu MC, Chapman MH.

This study compared the vegetables listed above (which includes several Brassica vegetables) when raw versus when lightly steamed for their ability to bind to bile acids in a simulated human situation. Using a pharmaceutical drug to bind the bile acids after they are secreted by our gall bladder into our digestive tract is a strategy that has been used to lower serum cholesterol levels, reducing risk of heart disease.

Thus this study evaluated the effects of these various vegetables' ability to bind bile acids when prepared under different conditions (raw versus steamed) compared to the drug often used (cholestyramine). This study is of importance because bile acid binding potential has been related to lowering the risk of heart disease and that of some cancer. If we know which foods are able to lead to similar favorable outcomes as medications, a practical and easily achievable alternative strategy to the use of costly medications with potential side effects could be recommended.

Compared to the drug to cholestyramine, the bile acid binding was: for the collard greens, kale, and mustard greens, 13%; broccoli, 10%; Brussels sprouts and spinach, 8%; green bell pepper, 7%; and cabbage, 5%. Steam cooking significantly improved the bile acid binding of all the vegetables tested except the spinach and Brussels sprouts when compared with previously observed bile acid binding values by the same authors for these vegetables when raw.

Thus, while not as powerful as a drug (food rarely is when only looking at one isolated food or molecule within food versus a total diet and lifestyle), it is clear that including steam-cooked collard greens, kale, mustard greens (these three being the highest of those tested), broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage in our daily diet as health-promoting vegetables should be emphasized. These green/leafy vegetables, when consumed regularly after steam cooking, would lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, increased binding of bile acids in our digestive tract may also be associated with reduced risk of various cancers, thus recommending consumption of lightly steamed Brassica greens and other vegetables is certainly recommended for optimizing overall health.

I will continue to look for articles or information that can help answer the practical questions such as 'raw versus cooked'. At this point, my bottom line is still variety, variety, variety for both types of foods eaten and how they are prepared. Some methods may clearly be "out" (i.e., I remember a study a couple of years ago that microwaved broccoli in 2 cups of water ?? and found a dramatic reduction in nutrients, not an unexpected result with such a poor cooking technique, but of course that study got lots of press), however, my guess is that more ways will be in than out.

Enjoy your kale and other Brassica vegetables both raw and also lightly steamed. I always use a steamer basket, and I always save the small amount of water I used for steaming, putting it in the freezer to use for future vegetable stock. Hopefully, the majority of healthful nutrients that may have been leached out during the cooking process will still be unchanged and available when consumed at some point in the future.

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the wealth of information. I recently learned that Kale was very good for you so I have been eating quite a bit of it. Until now I have always eaten it raw.

Poornima said...

Thanks for the information.

Anonymous said...

i have been making these raw drinks for a year now. They have kale, celery, apple, ginger, cinnamon....I recently found that I had high liver enzymes,,,I have not had a drink in seven years. I was on cholestral meds. But I read that it could be from pesticides and I was not buying organic. I was told at the health food store that they spray the vegies while they are just starting to grow so the stuff is in the veins of the plant and you can not rinse it off with soapy water,! OH I just don't know what to ingest and how anymore.

Anonymous said...

I also have been preparing raw vegetable smoothies for the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. I use all raw kale, collars, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, celery, romaine lettuce, beets leaves, cucumbers, and a few other things in a blender with soy milk. I really don't know whether I am maximizing the nutrition from these vegetables or not but I no longer have a gall bladder. I wonder what the implications of not having a gall bladder is on "to cook or not to cook" kale & other vegetables before ingesting them.

Diana Dyer said...

The gall bladder is the storage organ for bile that is released into the small intestine in response to fat present in foods eaten. Bile is necessary for the digestion and absorption of fats in the diet. Since vegetables contain very little fat in their structure, and a the small amount of bile is made and released directly from the liver on a continuous basis, I don't believe that not having a gall bladder per se will make any major difference on absorption of health-promoting molecules present in kale, cooked or not.

Lori said...

Can you tell me what you think of whole food juicers? What is the benefit and what does it take away when you do this? I thought juicing would be healthy but I am unsure now??? I have high cholesterol and would like to handle this without medication. Any thoughts on juicing?

Diana Dyer said...

Lori,
I use a true "whole food juicer" that blends the whole food into a smoothie or juice. You get the benefit of everything in the food with nothing left behind. I own a Vita-Mix, but even my regular blender was able to effectively make my smoothie recipes using whole foods (i.e., this is not an "ad" for any brand). My smoothie recipes are on my website at www.CancerRD.com. My HDLs are higher than my LDLs. Lots of factors contribute to that success of course, but eating lots of fruits and vegetables and whole foods will help. Good Health!
Diana

Anonymous said...

Re raw vs. steamed tastewise, I'd always considered kale on the tough and bitter side for raw.

However, I have on hand for the first time some White Russian Kale. While washing it in preparation for steaming, I took an experimental nibble of a rib--and turned the heat off under the steamer; ate the kale as a salad instead. Tender, tastes a bit like sorrel.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the interesting article. I was taught in chiropractic school that one should always consume spinach raw and kale cooked. I wish I could remember the specific biochemical reason, but I was quite convinced at the time and have adhered to that ever since.

Diana Dyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana Dyer said...

Thanks for sharing your comment. Hmmm, 'always' is such a difficult concept to put into practice. No cooked spinach, ever? I would miss the traditional Greek dish spanakopita very much, let alone my own spinach lasagna. No raw kale, ever? I would miss my husband's kale slaw plus the beautiful different colors, textures, and flavors of adding various types of kale leaves to salads, or adding a few kale leaves to a smoothie, just for starters. Even though my nutritional education was very science-based (so much so that Michael Pollan would most certainly say I was trained as a reductionist nutritionist), I also learned (and have seen in my 30+ years of practice) that food is so much more than biochemistry, also connecting us in a vibrant and enjoyable way to many aspects of our cultures. Please don't read me wrong. I just love learning about and thinking about the individual parts of foods, but I enjoy eating foods more and hope there is room at the table for some cooked spinach and some raw kale!

Bon apetít! :-)
Diana

Anonymous said...

When you say eat both raw and steamed veggies do you mean throughout the day or in the same meal. Do you think it is best to have a raw salad for lunch then a have steamed veggies for dinner?

Diana Dyer said...

.......throughout the day or in the same meal.....

I do not (over)plan my diet to this extent at all. I know of no reason to do so and instead see that type of meticulous scheduling leading to stress and/or guilt instead of increasing the pleasure of eating whole foods.

Bon apetit!
Diana Dyer

Anonymous said...

I just recently started eating Kale. Both the red and green are delicious! I heard that Kale was good for you, and I have been reading more and more each day about what a wonder it is. Above all, the flavor of it keeps me coming back day after day. I usually lightly steam it with some organic garlic and olive oil, otherwise I eat it raw in salads. I used to eat a lot of Escarole, until I found Kale. Now I cant get enough! Lately i have been tempted to buy some mustard greens and collards. Do I cook and eat them the same way? Or is there a way you would recommend. Do they have the same nutritional values as kale? Thanks for the research and information you you are posting. I will be checking back to catch up on more.

Anonymous said...

How many minutes is "lightly steamed"? I steam my kale for 1 minute, is this enough to get the meximum benefits?

Diana Dyer said...

To me, lightly steamed means just enough time to have the kale leaves tender enough to eat but still bright green. The time will vary depending on the variety and age of the kale leaves when picked. For me it is usually 1-3 minutes.

Judy said...

You said you signed up to receive research articles to your email... I would like to know what website you went to, to do that. Thanks so much!

Diana Dyer said...

The research articles come from PubMed at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/

You'll have to do some poking around that website to figure out how to get weekly updates on your search topics. It has been so long since I set it up (and websites keep changing) that I am not sure of the path I took through the site to do it, but since I still get these updates, I am sure that service is still available.

Diana

Diana Dyer said...

Poking around myself, I found this page on the PubMed site for creating automatic email updates for your choice of a topic search.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/br.fcgi?book=helpmyncbi&part=MyNCBI#MyNCBI.Setting_Up_Automatic_Email_Update

Hope this is helpful!
Diana

Anonymous said...

I have a question about using a low RPM juicer like a Green Star Elite or Omega 8006 vs a Vitamix blender. I realize that blenders retain fiber. However I've read that using a low RPM masticating juicer better retains nutrients because of the lower speed/less heat - which means less enzymes lost and more nutrients retained. I also read that blended drinks need to be chewed to digest them. . . if not the nutrients bypass the normal digestion paths. Thus, I wonder if it wouldn't be better to use a low speed juicer than a blender and of course also eat the vegetables. Could you advise me of your take on this? Thanks so much for your wealth of information.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the nutrient benefits for raw vs cooked greens, I just read an article on pubmed that states that the anti cancer ingredient, sulforaphane in broccoli is better absorbed when eaten raw and not steamed. So I guess it depends on the green vegetable (kale may be different than broccoli in this regard) as to whether it should be eaten raw or cooked based on what health benefit one seeks?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18950181

Justin Smith said...

Hi there. Great site on Kale! Question for you. I eat a big plate of raw kale about three or four times a week. Are you suggesting that steaming it lightly is actually better from a health perspective or from your thoughts / readings, is eating it raw o.k. as well? Have you read about any negatives to eating raw kale quite regularly?

Great site. Hope you are well!
Cheers,
Justin Smith

Diana Dyer said...

Justin
Thanks for stopping by my kale blog. There is no real consensus based on hard data regarding how much raw versus cooked is "safe" however, you might want to read another post I did called "the dose is the poison" which is a real person case study of how much is really too much! http://www.365daysofkale.com/2010/05/dose-is-poison.html
Diana

Expat said...

Hi, I wonder about the addition of elements like salt and lemon juice to raw kale (or other Brassica vegetables). These are said to "cook" the vegetable by breaking it down, similar to the way that lime juice "cooks" the fish in ceviche. Do you think this could make a difference in how well the kale binds bile acid? Some people add lemon juice to their smoothies along with raw kale. Perhaps this extra ingredient could make a difference in how healthy it is.

Diana Dyer said...

Expat,
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I wish I knew the answer to your question and I also wish I had to time to delve into reviewing what I should know plus finding new information for what I don't know to answer your interesting question. I will keep your inquiry in mind as I read, but I hope that someday I'll have an intern to devote some dedicated time to this answer.

Meanwhile, enjoy your kale with every possible way of preparation!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Anonymous said...

RE: Having no gallbladder

Hi there!

I came here to check out the benefits of raw kale. I'm training professionally in medicine, and I just wanted to respond to someone who earlier mentioned that they have no gall bladder and are concerned about how that would affect kale's interaction with bile.

Your liver is constantly producing bile, regardless if the GB is there or not. Initially, the bile will run freely into the small intestine, but with time the common bile duct (where bile runs from) will expand to become a new storage site for bile.

If your cholecystectomy was recent, avoiding foods that are very high in fat and increasing fiber in your diet will help a lot. Fiber absorbs the bile so that it can exit the body through defecation. If it's been a long time (1-2 years), then your common bile duct should already be behaving like a de facto gallbladder, in which case having a bit more fat in your diet is ok!

kari said...

i recently learned of massaging raw kale in dressing or a tiny bit of olive oil,etc. it totally changes the texture of the kale! i love it!

Anonymous said...

This is very useful information! I was looking for just this.

I make raw Kale chips by dehydrating them at 105 degrees F. Do you happen to know if this could provide benefits comparable to steamed kale?

art said...

To "Bon apetít! :-) Diana"
Very well said. In the last 3 years I have become a major fan of Michael Pollan. I will admit, it is now time to begin practicing his instruction vs. just remaining stimulated with the books.

Art
lavelle.art@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I've been finely chopping my fresh raw kale into tiny pieces (I remove the big stems in the middle and just use the leaves) and then eating them raw as an addition to whole wheat pasta salad for years. I try to eat raw kale, raw spinach, and raw parsley every day. Now I will have to try eating some kale steamed for a few minutes as well. Thanks for the info.

Oh, I almost forgot to ask my question... will the raw kale bind any bile? Is it still effective, but just not quite as effective as steamed kale?

chemist said...

Hi Diana,

Have you come across any articles that examine the effect of high-speed blending (e.g., that done by the Vita-Mix or Blendtec) on nutrition (e.g., sulforaphane bioavailability) or other food "performance characteristics" (e.g., ability to bind bile acids). I ask because I'm wondering if the way in which high-speed blending breaks down food might have effects comparable to cooking.

Thanks!

Diana Dyer said...

Chemist
Great question. I also use a high-speed blender making my smoothies, in which I will throw some kale leaves. I do know of some unpublished research that showed increased carotenoid absorption with progressive food break-down prior to consumption. In addition, I know a cancer research scientist with brassica expertise, so I will see what she knows. I'll share the info in a new post if I track down an answer (after my son's upcoming wedding!). Please stop by again.
Diana

chemist said...

Thanks, Diana. I should mention that there is a countervailing result for broccoli and cooking--while bile acid binding maybe higher in cooked broccoli vs. raw, sulforaphane bioavailability may be significantly lower:
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf801989e?prevSearch=%2528sulforaphane%2Bcooking%2529%2BNOT%2B%255Batype%253A%2Bad%255D%2BNOT%2B%255Batype%253A%2Bacs-toc%255D&searchHistoryKey=
In the above article, they had volunteers eat crushed (in a blender) broccoli; in the "cooked" group the broccoli was additionally cooked in a microwave prior to blending. Sulforaphane bioavailability was found to be 37% when raw, vs. 3.4% when cooked (wonder if steaming would have the same effect). I'll look forward to hearing what your brassica expert says.

chemist said...

I should add that the paper I cited had a poorly-written methods section: they didn't say how long they microwaved it. [As a general comment, I'd say I'm often disappointed with the quality of research that's been published in nutrition journals.] According to this link, a small amount of cooking (say, brief steaming) might actually increase sulforaphane bioavailability, while overcooking reduces it: http://emediahealth.com/2011/04/25/glucosinolates-and-sulforaphane-in-broccoli-and-cruciferous-vegetables-may-help-prevent-and-treat-cardiovascular-disease-diabetes-bacterial-infections-and-some-cancers/
They explain that broccoli doesn't actually contain sulforaphane. Rather, it contains glucoraphanin (a precursor to sulforaphane) and myrosinase (an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of glucoraphanin to sulforaphane). When you chew raw broccoli, that releases both the myrosinase and glucoraphanin, allowing the conversion to sulforaphane to occur. However, when broccoli is overcooked, the myrosinase is inactivated. At least that's what I read; this is out of my area of expertise.

chemist said...

OK, last comment for today :). I tried to find the source article for the finding you reported, that cooking increases bile acid binding in broccoli. If it's the one by Kahlon et al. (http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/dspace/bitstream/10113/17425/1/IND44064641.pdf), then they steamed the broccoli for 10 mins. Incidentally, as a scientist, might I suggest that it's always best if you can provide a citation (and possibly also a link) to any articles whose results you cite in your blog? That both gives the authors of the article credit, and permits your readers to see the primary source. Thanks again.....

chemist said...

oops....sorry! I don't know how I missed seeing that you had in fact referenced the article about the effect of cooking on bile acid binding! I guess I got so caught up in looking up articles that I didn't see what was plainly in front of my face...my apologies :-(.

harsh times said...

I have recently moved to the UK from Canada, and am too busy lesson planning/marking to focus too much time on cooking. However, my main staple has been Broccoli, Kale, Garlic and Chili pepper steamed together in lemon water with salmon fillet (chopped up in pieces). A delicious way to enjoy it, and I've never felt healthier! Just thought i'd share.

Diana Dyer said...

Sounds delicious - my type of meal - wish I could just hop next door for dinner!
Diana

Anonymous said...

I would love to share my favorite dish of kale.
It's typically Dutch and to see it for yourself just do a Google search for : 'Boerenkool met worst'
Kale has to be in the freezer for at least one night. It tastes better ;)
When you're to make the dish, you chop the leaves of the Kale in small pieces. Then you cook it in water with a little salt for about 2,5/3 hours! You also boil a lot of potatoes without skin.
When it's all done you put it together and mash it.
It's a really famous Dutch dish which we (I'm Dutch) eat in the winter season.

Mandy

dining4real said...

Just began 1st of 6 treatments for recurrence, and platelets dropping again. Raw versus cooked Kale which is the winner, still able to eat fresh vegetables, haven't been juicing my kale, but eating it in soups. Appetite is very good. Will cooked Kale and Broccoli provide me the same amounts of Vitamin K, was vegan until treatment began, starting to eat fish again. Love your blog and energy

Diana Dyer said...

I would hazard a good guess that raw and cooked kale will contain the same amount of vitamin K, since it is a fat-soluble vitamin and not likely to be leached out with cooking like water-soluble vitamins are.

In addition, fat-soluble vitamins are more 'hardy' and stand up to cooking better than water-soluble molecules plus it is very likely that the same pattern holds that is similar to the fat-soluble carotenoid lycopene that is high in tomatoes. 'Access' to lycopene actually increases with cooking since it is an intra-cellular molecule and is not fully released to be absorbed after eating until those cell walls are all broken which happens with chewing and also with cooking.

Good question. Sorry I don't have more time to 'dig into' to see if actual data are available.

Charmaine UK said...

Hi Diana,
I just had a quick browse through your blog and I must say thanks for the info on it- your research and the feedback. I was just about to make a salad and when I got to the Kale I was wondering what is the best way to have it. So there you go. I jumped on the net and got your site.

Thanks Again.

mikiinthedesert said...

Hello! I came across your information at the right time. I wanted to put out there if you have experienced nausea when eating raw kale. I have always eaten kale raw mainly in salads with fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Over the last few months, I have noticed that I experience nausea after eating raw kale. I actually tried to saute it with black beans and tomato in hopes that the cooking process might remedy the prior results, but not dice. Within 30 min I had an upset stomach. I clean my veggies and buy organic whenever possible. Any ideas? It could be just changes in bodies as we get older. Thank you for the information!

kgoodies said...

Wow!!!!! I was thrilled to stumble across your site while trying to do my own research on this amazing veggie.Last fall my sister n law who moved here from japan 2yrs ago picked chopped and froze what i thought was way to much kale from an organic farm here in MN. I have never been a big fan of kale until this winter while just into the ninth month of pregnancy with my ninth child a checkup with my OBGYN showed my hemoglobin to be quite low and as i wanted to avoid those tiny little iron pills that cause me other issues.....she sugested eating kale.Each morning for the past 2wks I blend about 2 cups frozen kale 1 grannysmith apple 1/2 frozen bananna 1 Tbl spoon honey and a cup of watered down OJ in my vitamix and pour into 2 17oz.glass bottles one for that morning and the next.My hemogoblin went up my energy is back and i now have the energy i feel i need to get over the hurdles of labour and delivery....Thanks to raw kale smoothies oh and it taste great my kids even like it and that says a whole lot.

Anonymous said...

How about Kale chips? coating (lightly) in olive oil and baking for 20 minutes. What does this do to the vitamin/nutrition content. Anybody know?

Anonymous said...

diana you say save the water after you steam for stock and you can absorb the nutrients that the water absorbed through the steaming process.. why not just absorb it all when you eat it fresh?

no point of steaming, unless you like the taste better cooked or cant eat it raw..

Diana Dyer said...

We eat food for so much more than its biochemistry, which is one reason I continue to recommend eating a variety of foods prepared in a variety of ways to provide a variety of taste, aroma, texture, and visual appeal.

Even we do eat food for its known nutritional or health effects, it pays to remember that is there is much we do not know yet, the point being that nutrition is still a young science.

In fact, as just one example, I can still remember when new research showed that eating cooked tomatoes (compared to raw tomatoes), and tomatoes eaten with a bit of oil or fat, permitted significant increased absorption of a health-promoting phytochemical, i.e., a carotenoid called lycopene, being studied for prostate cancer prevention and improved survival as just one of the many likely benefits of both eating tomatoes and consuming lycopene.

Only eating raw tomatoes would decrease this benefit, not eliminate it or other potential benefits, but decrease it for this purpose when exclusively eaten in this form.

I hope everyone understands that I am recommending a wide variety of foods, prepared in a wide variety of ways, combined with a wide variety of other foods (think synergy, i+1=3), on any one day. I haven't yet seen any one food or one food preparation that is a 100%, guaranteed, 'magic bullet' for prevention or treatment of any one ailment.

PS - I have not yet seen any research comparing the nutrient content of kale chips to raw or steamed or stir-fried kale. However, kale chips are a treat in our home, not a staple, and surely they are offer more nutrition than most snack foods, even if eaten daily. :)

Anonymous said...

The answer is not merely "variety, variety, variety," as you say. The answer is also "organic." Every non-organic fruit and vegetable holds poisons. I suggest these should be avoided. I look forward to your comment.

Diana Dyer said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you for reading my blog and speaking up to make a comment. I agree with you. Reading all of my posts on any of my blogs (my website and my book) would tell you I eat organic foods when at all possible, grow most of my own food or buy everything else from local organic farmers, became an organic farmer selling only organically grown garlic 3 years ago (as an 'old-new' farmer), speak all over the country (even though I am trying trying trying to retire from that) advocating for organic and sustainable and locally grown foods and I could keep going.

A few years ago, the Environmental Working Group showed that even kale was now in their 'dirty dozen', which i posted about. http://www.365daysofkale.com/2009/03/whats-in-kale-pesticides.html

Sometimes I feel like I am a two-time broken record. Sorry I only was spinning one disc here.

I hope you'll keep visiting this blog and add your name in your next comment. :)

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

I. Rye said...

I'm trying to incorporate kale in my diet but aside of smoothies could not produce anything palatable so far

Diana Dyer said...

I. Rye, Well, you have come to a great site with lots of options for delicious recipes. Have fun exploring and eating kale!
Diana

Mei said...

Hi! I came across your blog, researching Kale, to see if its benefits for kids with eczema. Glad to have found your blog :) and great to see all the work you put in to gather more knowledge to fight cancer!

Kelly said...

Diana, just wanted to ask what your thoughts on raw spinach are. In the comments I'm seeing a couple of mentions of raw spinach but I've recently heard that spinach should be at least slightly cooked in order to prevent the lowering of iron count in your blood. The oxycontin in spinach supposedly acts as an inhibitor for the iron thats found in spinach.
Personal experience, I regularly donate blood and during my last donation, I was in the middle of adding green smoothies into my diet. I regularly used raw spinach in these drinks. My hemoglobin was the lowest I've ever seen in my donation history. The nurses recommend that I at least cook my spinach.

I cut raw spinach out completely and my iron count was back up within a couple days.

Bini Dewan said...

can i give my 5 yrs daughter a raw kale?? because she love raw kale ,, is there is any side effect .

Diana Dyer said...

I'm glad to hear your 5-year-old daughter loves raw kale. You have likely been a great role model for her when trying new foods. Encourage her to enjoy it in moderation. No one should be eating 'bags' of kale or anything else on a daily basis, no matter if cooked or raw. There are too many other delicious, beautiful, and healthy foods to try plus enjoy and benefit from nutritionally.
Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Anonymous said...

Because I cannot accept the taste of kale, cooked or raw, I have been using it in smoothies with fruit and other veggies or spices. Now I'm learning it is unhealthy to ear raw kale in quantity, at least. So, is there a consequence for consuming raw kale, and the leaves without slightly steamed? Or, can I slightly steam kale, and then add to the smoothie? Is there a medical issue we should know about, or danger to having consumed the raw kale?

Diana Dyer said...

If you type "raw kale" into the search function at the top of this blog, you'll pull up several blog posts that may have information of interest to you. One that calls out a real case example of what can happen when eating 'too much' raw bok choi (a kale relative) is here: http://www.365daysofkale.com/2010/05/dose-is-poison.html

Hope that helps you.
Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Anonymous said...

Diana, I've very much enjoy your blog..

I'll start lightly steaming my kale..

Question: should I juice my kale or use in a smoothie?
I normally juice but after reading you blog I feel the smoothie may be the more effective way as it may retain more nutrients..

Thank you

Diana Dyer said...

Welcome to my blog.

Once I 'discovered' smoothies way back in the early 90's, my juicer has mostly sat unused. Yes, I switched to smoothies because I want every one of kale's many health-promoting components working to keep my body healthy and happy instead of a healthy compost pile. :)
Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Anonymous said...

Just found this blog...after I decided to attempt pressure steaming the greens I add to my smoothies. So...I added raw kale to yesterday's smoothie, but today I tried pressure steaming a batch of collard greens, turnip greens, and green cabbage. The steamer basket is not in the water, but the water did turn green. I was a little concerned about adding hot greens to my otherwise cold smoothie, but with the addition of ice, it was still cool.

I didn't know how long to pressure steam, so I did 4 minutes...but that doesn't include the time to reach pressure. So...might have to cut that back next time. The reason I did this form of cooking was twofold: 1st, hoping to release nutrients; 2nd, hoping to kill any bacterial contamination. Yeah, I wash the leaves first...who wants to eat dirt? But is that enough to "clean" raw leaves?

Anonymous said...

I will soon be planting kale seeds. Is all kale good for using raw in a smoothie?

Lynnita

Diana Dyer said...

I use any kind in a smoothie but I know some people prefer using the Dinosaur or lacinato kale. Have fun!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD

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