Kale is often referred to as a superfood due to its many nutritional benefits. Juicing kale can help concentrate and increase the bioavailability of these nutrients. Drinking kale juice regularly can provide a mega-dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support health and vitality.
Nutritional Content of Kale
Kale is low in calories but packed with nutrients. Some of the main benefits of kale include:
- High in antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol which help fight inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Excellent source of vitamin K which supports bone and heart health.
- Rich in vitamin C which boosts immunity and aids collagen production.
- Good source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium, calcium and copper.
- Contains special compounds like sulforaphane and indoles that may inhibit cancer growth.
Here is a table comparing the nutrients in 1 cup of raw kale vs 1 cup of kale juice:
|Nutrient||Raw Kale||Kale Juice|
|Vitamin A||10302 IU||13461 IU|
|Vitamin C||134 mg||80 mg|
|Vitamin K||1000 mcg||807 mcg|
|Calcium||266 mg||249 mg|
As you can see, juicing concentrates some of the vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium and protein. However, some nutrients like vitamin C degrade when exposed to heat and air during the juicing process.
Benefits of Juicing Kale
Here are some of the top benefits you can get from drinking kale juice:
1. Boosts Immunity
Kale is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidants. According to one study, drinking vegetable juice like kale juice can increase blood levels of immune-strengthening nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene. This helps strengthen the immune system and fight infections.
2. Supports Heart Health
The high amounts of vitamin K in kale helps prevent calcium deposits in arteries while the antioxidants promote healthy circulation. Studies show that drinking kale juice can decrease cholesterol and blood pressure which protects heart health.
3. Aids in Detoxification
The nutrients and phytochemicals in kale juice supports the liver’s natural detox processes. The vitamin C, amino acids and sulfur-containing compounds help the liver neutralize toxins, drugs and metabolic wastes.
4. Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Compounds like quercetin, kaempferol and indoles in kale have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Drinking kale juice regularly can help reduce inflammation throughout the body which may ease joint pains or inflammatory conditions.
5. Promotes Bone Health
Kale provides high levels of vitamin K and calcium which are important nutrients for bone density and strength. According to studies, consuming vitamin K1 from green leafy vegetables like kale improves bone health markers.
6. Supports Eye Health
The lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin A in kale helps filter damaging high-energy blue wavelengths and acts as antioxidants in the eye. Research suggests that increased intake of lutein-rich vegetables like kale can prevent age-related macular degeneration.
7. May Inhibit Cancer Growth
Kale is rich in special compounds called glucosinolates that breakdown into cancer-fighting substances during digestion. These compounds can deactivate carcinogens, inhibit tumor growth and induce cancer cell death.
Nutrition Comparison of Juicing vs Blending Kale
Both juicing and blending kale provides health benefits but there are some key differences:
|Fiber content||Removes insoluble fiber||Retains insoluble fiber|
|Nutrient density||Very high||High|
|Volume||Higher liquid yield||Thicker texture|
|Oxidation||Higher nutrient breakdown||Lower nutrient breakdown|
|Satiety||Less filling||More filling|
Juicing extracts the juice from vegetables and fruits while removing most of the insoluble fiber. This concentrates the nutrients into a low fiber, easily absorbed liquid. However, some nutrients are lost from heat created during juicing. Blending chops and purees the whole ingredients into a thick smoothie retaining all the fiber. This creates more bulk which can help with satiety. Overall, juicing kale provides a quick nutritious boost while smoothies give you more balanced nutrition plus fiber.
How Much Kale Juice Should You Drink Per Day?
There isn’t a recommended daily amount for drinking kale juice but here are some general guidelines:
- 1/2 – 1 cup of kale juice per day is a good starting goal.
- Don’t overdo it. Very high doses of cruciferous veggies may interfere with thyroid function.
- Rotate kale juicing with other leafy greens like spinach, parsley, chard, collards, etc.
- Mix kale juice with fruits like apple, lemon, ginger to improve the flavor.
- Drink kale juice diluted with water or coconut water if the taste is too strong.
- Start slow and monitor how you feel. Adjust the amount to suit your needs.
The key is moderation. Kale juice is very healthy but you can get too much of a good thing. See how you tolerate it and incorporate it as part of balanced, varied plant-based diet.
Healthiest Ways to Juice Kale
Here are some tips to maximize nutrition and flavor when juicing kale:
Use Organic Kale
Always choose fresh, organic kale when possible to minimize pesticide exposure. Wash leaves thoroughly before juicing.
Blend with Fruit
For sweeter, more palatable kale juice, blend kale with apples, lemon, carrots, beets or pineapple. Lemon boosts the vitamin C.
Add Healthy Fats
Blending in avocado, coconut butter or olive oil allows the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K to be properly absorbed.
Include Herbs and Spices
Spices like ginger, cinnamon and turmeric can enhance the flavor. Herbs like parsley, cilantro and mint provide extra nutrients.
Use Cold-Press Juicer
Cold-press juicers crush then press produce at lower speeds. This generates less heat and friction preserving more antioxidants.
For maximum nutrition, drink homemade kale juice right away. If storing, use a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 72 hours.
Potential Side Effects of Kale Juice
Kale juice is very low risk for most people but be aware of these considerations:
Kale contains oxalates that may contribute to kidney stones in those prone to the condition. Keep total oxalate intake under 50 mg if you’ve had kidney stones.
Very high intakes of vitamin K from kale juice can negatively interact with blood thinning medication. Monitor your blood’s clotting ability if taking anticoagulants.
Kale contains goitrogens that may disrupt thyroid function if consumed in excess. Limit kale juice to 1 cup per day if concerned.
Kale allergies are rare but possible. Discontinue use if any itching, hives, swelling or discomfort occurs.
Washing doesn’t remove all pesticides. Peel waxy skins and choose organic produce when possible to minimize this risk from high pesticide fruits.
As with any new food, introduce kale juice in moderation while monitoring symptoms. Consult your doctor with any concerns.
Juicing kale allows you to utilize high doses of this nutritional powerhouse vegetable. Drinking kale juice can flood the body with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that support optimal health. Aim for 1/2 to 1 cup per day along with eating whole kale to obtain balanced nutrition. Kale juice is best blended with other fruits and veggies to create a tasty phytonutrient cocktail. Harness the benefits of kale juicing as part of an overall healthy plant-based diet and active lifestyle.