So we’ve all heard about how raw kale is this amazing superfood, right? I mean, it’s everywhere—from smoothies to salads, it seems like the green leafy giant is here to stay. But here’s the thing: my kids love kale chips, and as a dad who’s big on healthy eating, I thought, “Great, let’s have more!” But after some research, it seems that excessive raw kale may not be the best choice.
The Good Stuff About Kale
First off, let’s not knock kale off its superfood pedestal entirely. This leafy green is a nutritional powerhouse! It’s rich in essential vitamins like A, C, and K, and it’s a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are like the superheroes that fight off the villains (free radicals) in our bodies, so that’s definitely a win.
And hey, parents, guess what? Kale is high in fiber, which we all know is great for digestion. So if you’ve got picky eaters who shy away from fiber-rich foods, kale chips or a kale smoothie might be a sneaky solution.
When Too Much of a Good Thing Becomes a Bad Thing
But before we go turning our pantries into a kale storage facility, let’s talk about why too much of a good thing might be, well, not so good.
Watch Out for Kidney Stones
Kale has oxalates. Sounds fancy, huh? Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds, and they’re not a big deal in moderation. But if your family consumes kale like it’s going out of style, you could be looking at a higher risk of kidney stones.
Keep an Eye on the Thyroid
Then there’s the thyroid issue. Kale has something called goitrogens, which could mess with your thyroid function if you’re eating heaps of raw kale. Let’s keep those thyroid levels in check, shall we?
It Can Get Gassy
Ever fed your kids something and then regretted it due to the, ahem, digestive aftermath? Yeah, too much raw kale can lead to some uncomfortable gas and bloating. You’ve been warned.
How to Be Smart About Your Kale Game
Mix It Up in the Kitchen
So how can we still enjoy kale without turning into a walking health hazard? Cooking is key. Steaming, sautéing, or roasting kale can help neutralize some of those compounds we’d rather avoid.
Moderation Makes Perfect
Also, balance is everything. I like to switch it up by rotating kale with other leafy greens like spinach or collards. Variety is the spice of life, and it’s good for you too!
A Quick Chat with the Functional Doc
If you have any health concerns, or if your kids are on any medications, a quick call to your functional healthcare provider won’t hurt. Better safe than sorry.
Wrapping It Up
Look, kale has some amazing health benefits, but it’s like that old saying—too much of a good thing can be bad. So let’s enjoy our kale, but let’s also keep things balanced for the sake of our family’s health.
- Caitlin Terpstra, R.D. “Kale: Discover Superfood Secrets.” Mayo Clinic Health System, 17 Mar. 2023, www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/the-many-types-and-health-benefits-of-kale.
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- López-Moreno, M., et al. “Antinutrients: Lectins, Goitrogens, Phytates and Oxalates, Friends or Foe?” Journal of Functional Foods, vol. 89, 2022, p. 104938, doi:10.1016/j.jff.2022.104938.