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Is Juiced kale good for you?

Kale has become an incredibly popular leafy green in recent years, prized for its nutritional benefits. Juicing kale has also grown in popularity as a way to easily consume it. But is drinking kale juice as healthy as eating whole kale leaves? Here’s a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of juicing kale.

Nutrition Profile of Kale

First, let’s examine why kale is considered so nutritious in its whole form. One cup (67 grams) of raw, chopped kale contains:

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 33 2%
Protein 2.5g 5%
Carbs 6.7g 2%
Fiber 2.6g 10%
Vitamin A 206% DV 206%
Vitamin C 134% DV 134%
Vitamin K 684% DV 684%
Calcium 9% DV 9%
Iron 10% DV 10%
Potassium 9% DV 9%

As you can see, kale provides vitamins A, C, and K at very high levels. It’s also a good source of calcium, potassium, iron, and fiber. These nutrients provide the following health benefits:

Vitamin A

– Important for eye health and vision

– Supports a healthy immune system and helps fight infections

Vitamin C

– Powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage

– Helps make collagen for healthy skin and wounds

– Enhances absorption of iron from foods

Vitamin K

– Essential for proper blood clotting

– Needed to activate proteins involved in bone health

Calcium

– Required for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth

– Supports muscle contraction and nerve function

Potassium

– Important electrolyte that regulates fluid balance

– Helps control blood pressure

Iron

– Part of hemoglobin which carries oxygen throughout the body

– Needed for energy metabolism and immune function

Fiber

– Promotes digestive health and regularity

– Helps control blood sugar and cholesterol

– Feeds healthy gut bacteria

Nutrition in Juiced Kale

Now let’s look at the nutritional profile of kale when it’s juiced. An 8 ounce (240 ml) glass of kale juice made from 3 cups of raw kale contains:

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 83 4%
Protein 2.7g 5%
Carbs 16g 5%
Fiber 2g 8%
Vitamin A 618% DV 618%
Vitamin C 402% DV 402%
Vitamin K 2052% DV 2052%
Calcium 27% DV 27%
Iron 30% DV 30%
Potassium 27% DV 27%

Kale juice is very low in calories but high in micronutrients like vitamins A, C, K, and minerals. In fact, juicing concentrates these nutrients, increasing the daily percentages. However, the fiber content is reduced during juicing by about 25%.

Benefits of Juiced Kale

Drinking kale juice offers several benefits:

1. Easy to consume more kale

Juicing breaks down the fibrous cell walls, making the nutrients easier to absorb. This allows you to take in a lot more kale than you could eat whole. Getting 3-4 cups of raw kale per day would be difficult otherwise.

2. Floods body with vitamins and minerals

The juicing process removes fiber but concentrates the micronutrients. Just 8 ounces of kale juice can provide over half your daily vitamin A, C, K plus substantial amounts of potassium, iron and calcium.

3. Boosts antioxidant intake

Kale is high in antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and flavonoids. Juicing doesn’t decrease these. Consuming more kale equals more antioxidants to counteract inflammation and oxidative damage.

4. Aids digestion

For some people, juiced veggies may be easier to digest than eating lots of raw veggies whole. The fiber has been broken down.

5. Hydrating

Kale juice is mostly water, so it can help you meet your daily fluid needs and prevent dehydration.

Downsides of Juicing Kale

Despite the benefits, there are also some downsides to consider with juicing kale:

1. Lower fiber content

Juicing strips most of the insoluble fiber from kale. Fiber provides many health benefits including regulating digestion, controlling blood sugar, maintaining bowel health, and feeding probiotics. Make sure to get fiber from other sources when drinking kale juice.

2. Nutrient loss from heat exposure

Juicers generate heat and oxygen exposure during juicing, which can degrade nutrients like vitamin C and enzymes. Try to minimize this by drinking the juice right away or storing for up to 24 hours.

3. Quick spike in blood sugar

The juicing process removes the fiber that would normally slow the absorption of the natural sugars in kale. This can cause a quicker rise in blood sugar levels. Pair kale juice with protein, fat or fiber to help blunt this response.

4. Potential pesticide exposure

Juicing concentrates any pesticides or contaminants on the surface of the kale leaves. Buying organic helps minimize this risk.

5. Oxalate content

Kale contains oxalates, compounds that can contribute to kidney stones in some people prone to them. The juicing process increases the oxalate content per volume compared to whole leaves.

Who Should Drink Kale Juice?

Kale juice can be a very healthy addition to your diet for most people. Those who can benefit the most include:

  • – Anyone looking to increase intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
  • – People trying to lose weight or lower calories
  • – Those trying to reduce inflammation
  • – Anyone looking to improve skin, hair, nail, bone and heart health
  • – Older adults needing extra nutrients
  • – Those struggling to digest raw veggies
  • – Anyone with a juicer and access to fresh kale!

However, kale juice may not be right for:

  • – Those with kidney stones or prone to oxalate stones
  • – People with diabetes – pair with protein/fat to lower glycemic response
  • – Anyone taking blood thinners like warfarin – high vitamin K can interact
  • – People unable to tolerate high amounts of oxalates
  • – Children under 4 years old

How Much Kale Juice Should You Drink?

There are no official recommendations for how much kale juice to consume. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • – 8 ounces (240ml) per day is a good starting goal
  • – Can safely increase to 16 ounces (480ml) per day
  • – Always split into 2-3 smaller servings rather than one large serving
  • – Pair with protein, fat or high-fiber foods to control blood sugar response
  • – Listen to your body and decrease amount if experiencing gas, bloating or diarrhea
  • – Avoid drinking more than 32 ounces (960ml) daily

The juicing process concentrates nutrients, so you don’t need a huge amount to benefit. Start small and work your way up to allow your body time to adjust.

Tips for Juicing Kale

Here are some tips for making the healthiest, best-tasting kale juice:

  • – Use organic kale whenever possible
  • – Remove thick stems which contain more fiber
  • – Wash kale well before juicing
  • – Combine with sweeter fruits/veggies like apples, carrots or beet
  • – Add lemon, ginger or turmeric to flavor
  • – Drink immediately or store in air-tight container for up to 24 hours
  • – Keep fiber pulp to use in smoothies or recipes
  • – Pair juice with protein like nuts, seeds or yogurt

The Bottom Line

Kale juice is loaded with vitamin A, C, K, antioxidants, and important minerals like potassium, calcium and iron. It’s an easy way to increase your veggie intake and flood your body with nutrients.

However, juicing also strips away the beneficial fiber. Make sure to get fiber from other sources and pair kale juice with protein or fat to help control blood sugar. Those prone to kidney stones may also want to avoid high amounts.

Overall, drinking some kale juice as part of a healthy diet can provide important benefits for most people. Focus on getting a variety of fruits and vegetables through produce in all forms – fresh, frozen, juiced, and more.