Kidney Diet Tips

Health by Kale: A Kidney-Friendly Vegetable

So you have finally decided to take the plunge and try this vegetable that your health conscious friends and family members have been raving about. It is the vegetable that the media touts as a superfood; the vegetable that you see used in more and more recipes and offered on the menu at the restaurants where you dine; the vegetable known as kale!

So what’s the big deal with kale? Well, kale is actually a big deal. Kale is packed with nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K and beta carotene; it’s high in fiber and low in sodium, potassium and phosphorus. Kale also contains flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties (this means that the stuff in kale may help protect against some types of cancer, heart disease and chronic inflammation).

Here are some tips that will help improve your overall kale experience. First off, there are a few popular types of kale.

  • Curly kale is dark green or purple and can be bitter so may be a better choice when cooked rather than raw.
  • Lacinto kale also known as Dinosaur kale has dark blue-green leaves that are wrinkled with a firm texture. It has a sweeter taste and can be enjoyed raw or cooked.
  • Red Russian kale has green leaves with reddish-purple stems. The leaves are flat and look like large arugula or oak leaves. It is one of the sweetest kales and has a great flavor.
  • Redbor kale is dark red or deep purple and has tightly curled leaves. This kale is edible but is mostly used as a garnish.

With all types of kale, when eating it raw, make sure to remove the stems and eat the leaves only as the stems can be tough to chew and may cause intestinal discomfort.

Kale is a lower potassium vegetable. Potassium content ranges from 150 to 210 mg for 1/2 cup raw or boiled. Sticking with a 1/2 cup portion is important. You may be tempted to eat more of this tasty green, but remember a large serving can double or triple potassium intake.

There are several popular ways to prepare and enjoy kale:

  • Boil and drain or steam and season with vinegar or mustard and red pepper flakes


    Kale Slaw from DaVita

  • Sauté it with garlic and onion; season it with low sodium sausage or low sodium bacon
  • Add kale to mixed vegetables or soup
  • Mix kale with cooked pasta, olive oil, bell peppers, garlic and seasonings
  • Cut kale crosswise into thin slices and add to a salad.
  • Slice thin with stems removed and toss or massage with vinaigrette dressing
  • Coat with oil and pepper then bake for 15 minutes at 425° F to make kale chips
  • Replace spinach with kale in your favorite recipes

Try one of these healthy DaVita kale recipes.

Kale Slaw

Stephanie’s Wholesome Lasagna

Kara Hansen

Kara has been a dietitian for over 11 years, spending her entire career with DaVita. She enjoys family time, cooking, soccer, hiking and traveling.