Can you get sick from eating kale? (+5 tips)

In this article, we are going to answer the question, “can you get sick from eating kale?”  

Can you get sick from eating kale?

Yes, you can get sick from eating kale. Although in most cases, eating kale in moderation may not lead to any illness, recent studies have proved that kale is high in metallic content, mainly thallium and cesium. Besides these metals, kale and other leafy greens have also shown to be contaminated with metals such as nickel, lead, cadmium, arsenic and aluminum. 

What is kale? 

Kale is a vegetable that belongs to the same family as that of cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli. It is rich in nutrients such as vitamins A, K, B-6, C as well as fiber. It also contains powerful antioxidants and minerals like calcium, magnesium and copper. However, it also has a high composition of poisonous metals like thallium and cesium. Also, when eaten raw and in large portions, kale can actually be harmful for our health.

Harmful effects of eating kale:

  1. When eaten raw and in large portions, kale can lead to goiter, which is a medical condition in which there is swelling of the thyroid gland. As kale is also high in a compound called thiocyanate, which doesn’t let iodine be utilized by the thyroid gland, a condition called hypothyroidism may occur. 
  1. Kale can contain high quantities of poisonous metals such as thallium and cesium, Consuming kale regularly has been associated with symptoms such as increased heart rate, fatigue, nausea, digestion issues and neurological problems.
  1. As kale is high in indigestible fiber and sugar, it can lead to digestion issues, causing bloating, constipation and stomach ache.
  1. Chronic consumption of kale in large quantities can severely impair the metabolism of the body, leading to fluctuations in blood sugar and body weight. This is because kale contains a compound called progoitrin which interferes with the functioning of the thyroid hormone. 
  1. In some rare cases, kale has also been known to cause an allergic reaction in the body. The symptoms of allergic reactions to kale include swollen lips and tongue, itchy skin, hives, digestion issues, and dizziness. 
  1. Because kale is also rich in oxalic acid, which is an antinutrient, eating kale can lead to poor digestion of food because antinutrients prevent the absorption of some nutrients by the body. This can result in the formation of kidney stones in the body. 

Benefits of eating kale:

  1. Kale eaten in moderation daily can be quite beneficial for our health. It is loaded with vitamins A, K, C and B-6. It is also rich in antioxidants and minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium. While vitamin A is good for eye health and vision, vitamin C and potassium are known to reduce cholesterol levels and maintain the overall heart health by keeping the blood pressure low. 
  1. Consuming kale can be a way to lose weight. This is because it is nutrient-dense but less in calories, making it a great substitute for your meal. Since it is high in fiber, it also gives a feeling of fullness for a long time.
  1. As kale is high in sulfur, which is important for the metabolism of glucose, consuming kale can help reduce blood sugar levels, thereby preventing weight gain and diabetes.
  1. Kale is rich in calcium, thereby a very good option to supplement our diet with, instead of having calcium supplements. 
  1. Kale can also help prevent cancer because it contains chlorophyll. Chlorophyll binds to heterocyclic amines that cause cancer, and prevents the body from absorbing these harmful carcinogens. Therefore, it is always a good idea to pair a kale salad with grilled meat to prevent the absorption of carcinogens which are often released during grilling meat.

 How to eat kale safely?

  1. Moderation is the key. LImit your intake of kale to 1 or 2 servings per day.
  1. Don’t consume raw kale. If needed, wash it thoroughly before eating. Always try and choose organic kale. This is because kale is usually sprayed with a lot of pesticides. 
  1. Don’t consume too much of kale if you have an underactive thyroid or goitre. Eating kale can only worsen the condition of your thyroid glands.
  1. Avoid eating kale if you have a history of kidney stones. 
  1. Do not eat too much of kale if you are using certain medications like vitamin K. 
  1. Up your intake of water if you’re increasing your consumption of kale. This helps in easier digestion of kale, which is rich in fiber.

In this article, we have answered “can you get sick from eating kale” as well as provided 6 tips to eat kale safely.

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/kale-allergy#:~:text=For%20most%20people%2C%20kale%20is,they%20eat%20that%20food%20often.
  1. https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/eating-raw-kale-actually-really-bad-you
  1. https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/why-kale-isn-t-really-all-great
  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270435#benefits

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.