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Kale – Raw vs Cooked

Kale is a leafy green that belongs to the Brassica family which includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

Nutritional value  for Kale

Raw 1 cup – 67g

Cooked 1 cup -130 g




Amount %DV
Vitamin A

10302 IU


17709 IU


Vitamin C

80.4 mg


53.3 mg


Vitamin K

547 mcg


1062 mcg


Vitamin B 6

0.2 mg


0.2 mg



0.5 mg


0.5 mg



0.2 mg


0.2 mg



90.5 mg


93.6 mg



299 mg


296 mg



1.1 mg


1.2 mg


Omega 3

121 mg

134 mg

Omega 6

92.4 mg

103 mg


1.3 mg







As you see above, kale is rich in vitamin A, C and K, which are powerful antioxidants. Eating a diet rich in these vitamins will help you lower the risk of developing cancer.

Besides vitamins and minerals, kale contains sulfur-phytonutrients (phytochemicals), such as carotenoids and flavonoids with anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Research has also shown that kale contains 45 different flavonoids with a variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The green contains indole-3- carbinol, a nutrient that seems to play a role in how estrogen is metabolized in the body and may play a protective role against breast cancer.

One of kale’s phytochemicals, sulforaphane, helps the body’s detoxification enzymes clear potentially carcinogenic substances out of your system. Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

While raw kale is more beneficial for cancer than cooked kale. but raw kale can be hard on the digestive system — meaning it can cause bloating, gas and other abdominal issues.  It also contains chemicals called goitrogens that may inhibit absorption of dietary iodine, these goitrogens are almost completely destroyed during cooking, so avoid eating raw kale in excess with hypothyroidism.

Kale contains oxalates, natural occurring substances, which can interfere with the absorption of calcium and increase the risk of kidney stones and gallbladder stones.  By lightly steaming the kale, you will avoid these negative aspects.  Save the water from steaming and use it in your soups or vegetables stock etc. You can freeze it and use it latter.

The most important point in this article is to alternate lightly steamed kale with raw kale, in order to get as many benefits possible with lowering the less desirable effects. If you have hard time to eat the raw kale, then focus on light steam kale.

Bottom line is still variety for different types of foods eaten and how they are prepared.

One comment on “Kale – Raw vs Cooked

  1. Emil
    February 16, 2017

    Hi Bobby and Maria

    Thank you for setting out the nutritional values of kale. I am interested in the difference between the vitamin K yield according to whether it is raw or steamed.

    I steam organic carrots in a steamer’s rice bowl, drizzle an oz of olive oil over it and add a little salt and some finely cut chilli pepper. Delicious! When it has cooked I drain off the carrot juice that is rich in beta carotene and tasty. Then I put 4oz of dry, organic raw kale into the rice bowl and pour the carrot water with the olive oil over it and steam it. The olive oil in the juice will benefit the beta-carotene yield from the kale.

    When cooked, excluding the water left in the bowl, the kale has increased to 7oz because of the juice and oil that came from the carrots. Like that the kale is wonderful!

    Here is my question. Adjusting the values you show so cooked and uncooked kale have the same weight, both raw and cooked kale have the same vitamin K values. This may be correct but I doubt it.

    547 ÷ 67 × 100 = 816.4

    1062 ÷ 130 × 100 = 817

    4oz of kale, when steamed as I described above, weigh 75% more than raw kale. This increase in weight excludes the juice and oil left in the dish.

    Expressed differently, if we take 4 oz kale dry what is the K value? If we then steam those 4 oz what will the K value be?

    healthaliciousness.com show 100g of cooked kale as having 817μg, the same as the figure you quote but show 704.8μg vitamin K for 100g of raw kale 13.7% less.

    The question is whether this means 100g dry kale cooked or 100g cooked kale that would be equal to about 57g raw. If the latter it would mean 57g dry kale when cooked has 817μg vitamin K and 100g uncooked kale has 704.8μg.

    If this is correct, adjusted to both be the same weight, this would mean 100g of raw kale that had been steamed had 1,433μg vitamin K, ie 203% of raw vitamin K yield.

    Can cooking really double the yield? In terms of meal planning and nutrient intake the difference is considerable.

    Where did you get the values you have shown?

    Please reply to me at emil (at) freeuk.com

    Kind regards


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This entry was posted on March 6, 2013 by in diet, Health and tagged , , , , .

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March 2013
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