Are you a major fan of kale? It’s okay if you aren’t. This healthy green tends to be a little polarizing, despite its incredible health benefits. If chomping down on big raw salads or working through a plate of steamed greens isn’t your favorite, there’s another way to get your kale content in- kale powder.
As a member of the highly acclaimed cruciferous vegetables, kale is one of the healthiest, most popular vegetables around. Humans have enjoyed eating kale since the time of ancient Rome, and history tells us that it was one of the most popular vegetables in the Middle Ages. Whether your preferred variety is curly, purple, or even “dino” kale, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to enhance your daily kale consumption by relying on kale powder.
What is Kale Powder?
Just as the name implies, kale powder is a dried and pulverized form of kale leaves. While high quality kale isn’t always available in grocery stores, turning to kale powder means you can supplement your diet with nutritionally rich kale whenever you want.
Kale powder comes from kale leaves picked at peak ripeness, and then air dried until they are thin and brittle. Then, the leaves are gently broken up into a light dust that can be added to a wide variety of smoothies, recipes and even desserts (seriously!). To learn how to make kale powder work for you and even gain tips on how to make it yourself, keep reading.
The Benefits of Kale Powder
There’s a lot to like about the nutritional qualities of kale, and the powdered version is just as healthy for you! In fact, it’s oftentimes even MORE beneficial because it makes it easy to consume large amounts of kale with ease. Just half a teaspoon of powder is all you need to get a full serving of greens, making it far easier to sneak some into you meals. In the same way, powdered kale is easier for your body to digest, meaning that the nutrients it contains are more easily accessible for your body.
Below are the top eight benefits you’ll experience by adding more of this dark-hued green to your daily diet.
1. Filled with Nutrients
Kale’s reputation for being a superfood is well earned. A single serving provides ample nutrients for your daily health, including:
- Vitamin A: 206% (actually beta-carotene) of your recommended daily value
- Vitamin K: 684%
- Vitamin C: 134%
- Vitamin B6: 9%
- Manganese: 26%
- Calcium: 9%
- Copper: 10%
- Potassium: 9%
- Magnesium: 6%
Vitamin C, an essential nutrient for health, is higher in kale than most any other produce (even oranges!) and a serving of spinach contains 4.5 times less. Each serving also contains an impressive amount of vitamin K, which is essential for successful blood clotting and activating proteins throughout your body.
Each serving also contains at least 3% of your daily values of vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, iron and phosphorous- all for just 33 calories! Along with the vitamins, each serving also provides insoluble dietary fiber that keeps your system regular and helps support healthy bowel functioning. Also, while kale contains little fat, the fat it does have is an omega-3 fatty acid, the kind that is essential for good health.
When you factor in kale’s low calorie count, it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat. Even better, kale powder is a far more concentrated supply of nutrients, making the benefits even easier for your body to access.
2. Loaded with Powerful Antioxidants
As a member of the brassica family, it’s unsurprising that kale powder contains plenty of antioxidants, including vitamin C, quercetin, beta-carotene and kaempferol, to name a few. These powerful substances counteract oxidative damage in our body by fighting off free radicals and preventing damage to your DNA. This is good news for your skin, as oxidative damage is considered to be a leading cause of an aging appearance and diseases like cancer.
When the leaves are dried to make kale powder, the water content is taken away, leaving you with a highly concentrated form of nutrition that is filled with chlorophyll, carotenoids and other essential antioxidants. Studies have shown that these substances make a major difference for your health and can lead to powerful protection for your heart by lowering blood pressure levels.
3. Helps Lower Cholesterol, May Reduce The Risk of Heart Disease
Despite the negative press it often gets, cholesterol is essential for maintaining healthy functioning. The liver specifically relies on cholesterol to make bile acids, which help your body process fatty foods more efficiently. Kale contains substances called bile acid sequestrates, which work to prevent this cholesterol from getting reabsorbed into the blood stream where it elevates your levels.
There is reason to believe that this leads to reduced heart disease risk over time, which keeps your whole body healthier. A study on daily drinking kale juice for three months found that it increased the level of good cholesterol (HDL) by a quarter and lowered bad cholesterol (LDL) by a tenth. With results this good from kale juice, there’s reason to believe that a few servings a day of kale powder would make an even bigger difference.
4. Numerous Cancer-Fighting Substances
You don’t need to be told how damaging cancer can be in the world today, but this uncontrolled growth of cells can devastate your body if you catch it too late. To keep your cells from going cancerous, the compounds in kale can actually make a difference. Compounds like sulforaphane can help prevent cancer from forming at the molecular level, and indole-3-carbinol is also present in the leaves and ready to prevent cancer from forming. While more evidence still needs to be collected, it seems clear that adding more kale powder to your life can only make a positive difference for your risk of cancer.
5. High in Beta-Carotene
While many nutritionists claim that kale is high in vitamin A, the truth is that it’s actually high in the antioxidant beta carotene, which your body can turn into vitamin A. To keep your levels as high as they need to be, adding kale powder to your meals is the way to go. After all, a single serving contains over 200% of your necessary daily value.
6. Good Source of Hard to Get Minerals
Not only is kale naturally high in minerals, it contains the kinds of minerals that are otherwise hard to get in your daily diet. For example, kale is a stellar source of plant-based calcium, making it a lifesaver for people that choose not to get their calcium from dairy. Kale is also high in magnesium, a mineral that is protective against diabetes and heart disease which few people get enough of. The leaves are also filled with potassium, which is essential for reducing blood pressure and lowering your risk of heart disease.
7. High in Eye-Protecting Nutrients Lutein and Zeaxanthin
It almost feels unavoidable- getting older means that your eyesight starts to worsen. While a healthy diet isn’t a substitute for high quality glasses, the vitamins and minerals in kale powder can help you maintain your eye sight and even improve it. Specifically, kale leaves contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which studies have shown lead to lower risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
8. Help You Lose Weight
Low in calories and high in nutrition? That makes kale powder the perfect ratio for a weight loss food. While kale powder won’t fill you up like the fresh variety will, it still provides the nutrition you need to be physically satisfied and less likely to reach for high calorie snacks. Slipping some powder into your favorite recipes is a stellar way to give your weight loss efforts a big head start.
8 Ways To Use Kale Powder
When it comes to using kale powder, you are limited only by your creativity. A half teaspoon equals a full cup serving of raw kale, so don’t be afraid to get creative about different ways to get yours in.
Below are some of our favorite suggestions to get you started.
- Thicken up your oatmeal without dramatically changing the flavor
- Add several scoops to your fruit smoothie for an undetectable boost in nutrition
- Add into sauces and dips to enhance the texture on the sly (guacamole and pesto are great choices)
- Toss some powder into the frying pan and mix it into your scrambled eggs
- Add some to your favorite salad dressing to give your salad more amp
- Pour some into pureed soups at the end of the cooking process to enhance its nutrition
- Make it work for pasta night by incorporating kale powder into the spaghetti sauce and even adding it to homemade noodles.
- Mix some into meatloaf to improve the veggie content
Where To Buy Kale Powder
The kind of kale powder you choose to try can make a big difference for your overall experience. Whether you get a powder that is air dried or freeze dried will affect the flavor, as will the age of the greens, where they were sourced from and whether they were grown organically.
If you want to try kale powder that you can trust, the brands listed below are sure to provide a good first experience in the world of powdered greens.
- Hoosier Hill Farm All Natural Kale powder
- Pure Synergy Organics Kale Vegetable Powder 2.3oz USA grown
- Nature Restore Organic Dried Kale Powder, Non-GMO
- Kale Powder Organic 1 Lb. 100% Pure Canadian Grown
- Zokiva Nutritionals 100% Kale Powder 8 oz
Bonus: How to Make Kale Powder on Your Own
Is your own garden kale growing out of control? You’re in luck! Making your own kale powder is easy, though be warned that it takes a LOT of kale to make a significant amount. However, if you have a handy supply, you can round out your recipes with kale powder in no time.
To make powdered kale, first wash a bunch of kale and pat dry it until fully dry with paper towels (the more water you can remove the faster the drying process will go). Then, slice the kale into even pieces and dry in your oven at the lowest temperature for at least six hours. Alternatively, you can use a dehydrator like this one to make the process easier and more effective.
When the kale is dry and crumbly to the touch, you can grind it in a coffee grinder (it’s best to have one specifically for this purpose) and create a fine kale powder. Store it in an airtight container and it should stay fresh for up to a year.
Note: You can easily substitute other greens in this recipe if you have them available.