Kidney Diet Tips

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Food Facts Friday: Kale

hands holding kale leaves

Kale, a leafy vegetable with a vibrant color, is packed with nutrition and has gained a reputation as a superfood. This vegetable is also part of the cruciferous family which includes other nutritious vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Kale is loaded with nutrients like vitamins A, C and K, and potassium, folate, calcium and zinc. Kale also has a bonus of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids, which give the vegetable its color and provide many health benefits. Most importantly, kale tastes good!

Nutritional Benefits

Kale is a kidney-friendly green. One cup of raw kale is:

  • Low-calorie at 12 calories  
  • Low-carbohydrate with 2 grams
  • A good source of vitamin C with 33% of the daily value
  • Lower in potassium with 123 milligrams  
  • Low in phosphorus with 23 milligrams

For those of you on a potassium restriction for chronic kidney disease (CKD), the potassium content of kale makes it easy to incorporate into your diet. Plus, you get all the added nutrient bonuses. There are several methods to prepare kale.

Kale Massage

Raw kale tends to be chewy and bitter. Massaging kale leaves helps release bitter compounds and tenderize the kale. The best technique is to remove leaves from stems, sprinkle a little olive oil on the kale and gently massage for 3 to 4 minutes.2

Preparation

Kale salad: Eat it raw with a homemade vinaigrette dressing.

Kale chips: Coat it with a little oil, season with your favorite herb seasoning and bake at 350° F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Sautéed kale: Sauté the kale in a little oil and add chopped fresh garlic.

Steamed kale:  Sauté kale with garlic, add water and red pepper flakes, and steam until tender. Once steamed, stir in a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. 

Various other kale recipes can be found at DaVita.com.  Also look for creative and tasty methods to add nutritious kale to your pasta or your favorite recipe. Finally, if you take a blood thinner or anticoagulant medication, consult your registered dietitian before consuming kale as it is high in vitamin K, which may interfere with the effectiveness of some medication. 3

References

  1. USDA Food Data Central: Kale html#/food-details/787307/nutrientsttps://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.
  2. How to Massage Kale https://fitfoodiefinds.com/how-to-massage-kale/ Accessed 9/1/2020
  3. The Importance of Vitamin K Monitoring with Warfarin (Coumadin) Use in Chronic Kidney Disease Patients. Patient Education.  Haewook Han, PhD, RD, CSR, LDN; Accessed August 28th, 2020 https://www.jrnjournal.org/article/S1051-2276(14)00190-3/pdf

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit DaVita.com and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Lori Steinmeyer MS, RD, LDN

Lori Steinmeyer MS, RD, LDN

Lori has been a registered dietitian with DaVita for more than 12 years and currently she is working in Tampa, Florida. She loves educating and motivating individuals to improve their health with healthy diet and lifestyle changes. She also has a passion for writing about nutrition and health. Lori has co-authored several books, as well as, published many articles on nutrition. In her free time Lori loves to garden, hike and cook new recipes with garden fresh vegetables.