Knowledge: Kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica)

Kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica)

Kale is one of the healthiest and most nutritious leafy greens in existence, often called as nutrition superstar.

It is a member of the mustard (Brassicaceae), from same family as cabbage and brussels sprouts. Kale is a green, leafy, cruciferous vegetable that is packed with different nutrients, including rich content of fiber, antioxidants, calcium, vitamin C and K, iron and many more.

Types of Kale:

  1. Curly kale (scots kale) : most common type, gives pungent and peppery flavour.
  2. Dinosaur kale : has narrow green leaves, wrinkle like dinosaur skin.


  1. Redbor kale : with ruffled leaves, with color ranging from a deep red to purple
  2. Russian kale : harder to find, has flat fringed leaves, color ranging from green to red to purple, gives more sweet and peppery flavour.


One cup (67 grams) of raw kale contains only 33 calories!

  • 7 grams of carbohydrates (2 of which are fiber) and 3 grams of protein, very little fat (mos)
  • Vitamin A: 206% of the DV (from beta-carotene)
  • Vitamin K: 684% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 134% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
  • Manganese: 26% of the DV
  • Calcium: 9% of the DV
  • Copper: 10% of the DV
  • Potassium: 9% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 6% of the DV
  • It also contains 3% or more of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron and phosphorus


Chlorogenic acid

Lutein and zeaxanthin


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High content of antioxidants

Lab experiment
Samples The work was performed on these types of Kale-based snacks, bought on local markets: “Inspiral kale” chips, containing: Kale (56%), Wasabi mix (formed by raphanus, mustard,wasabi 1.4%, spirulin, wheat 0.9%, salt, pepper; “Yellow kale” chips, containing Kale, yellow sweet pepper, olive oil, salt; “Happy kale” snack, containing Kale, sunflower, seeds, water, coconut, carob, vanilla extract, salt; “Kale crackits” (like crackers), containing Kale, sunflower seed, carrot, buckwheat, almonds, olive oil, flax seed, garlic, salt

Samples were homogenized with 3 volumes of ethanol and kept at 4 ˚C overnight, on horizontal shaker. After centrifugation, the supernatant was collected, dried and re-suspended in 3 ml of sterile pure water.

  1. Kale-based snacks (4 types)
  2. Fresh kale
Duration 50% effective concentration (EC50) = defined as the sample concentration (mg) necessary to inhibit the DPPH radical activity by 50% during a 60-min incubation
Dosage Free radical scavenging capacity – 7.5 μL of extract
Parameters analyzed
  1. Free radical scavenging capacity
  2. Chromatographic analysis of polyphenols
Outcomes Visible benefits

  • It is revealed that amount of polyphenols in four different kale-based snacks resulted to be higher than that of raw material, fresh kale (0.57 ± 0.03 mg GAE)
  • The antioxidant activity turned out indeed very effective, resulting sufficient just from 0.72 mg to 2.1 mg to dishearten the activity of 1 mL DPPH to 50%.
  • Polyphenol profile identified the content of gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, and catechin in all samples.

Table 1: Total polyphenols (A), total glucosinolates (B) and antioxidant activity (C) of the four kale-based snakcs. The data are expressed as mean of 3 independent experiments ± SD.

  • Our results suggest that such snacks could represent an effective functional dietary supplement also if compared to fresh vegetable.
  • Manufacturing of kale-based snacks does not negatively affect the beneficial effect of the raw material; indeed, such snacks could positively meet people’s expectation, mainly children and young.

Lowering risk factors of coronary artery disease

Clinical study
Subject Men with hypercholesterolemia (> 200 mg/dL) (n = 32)
Duration 3 months
Dosage 150 mL of kale juice daily
Parameters analyzed Serum lipid profile
Outcomes Visible benefits

  • Serum concentrations of HDL-cholesterol, and HDL- to LDL-cholesterol ratio were significantly increased by 27% (P<0.0001) and 52% (P<0.0001)
  • The LDL-cholesterol concentration and the atherogenic index were significantly reduced by 10% (P=0.0007) and 24.2% (P<0.0001)
  • increase in glutathione peroxidase activity (P=0.0005) were accompanied by a significant increase in the serum selenium level (P=0.0132).

Table 1: Effects of kale juice supplementation on serum lipid profiles and atherogenic index in hypercholesterolemic men.

Table 2: Effects on kale juice supplementation on serum concentrations of antioxidant minerals, glutathione peroxidase activity, and lipid peroxidation in hypercholesterolemic men.

**Copper, manganese, and zinc are commonly referred to as antioxidant minerals that are required for the activity of some antioxidant enzymes.

Functions Regular meals supplementation with kale juice can favourably influence serum lipid profiles and antioxidant systems, and hence contribute to reduce the risks of coronary artery disease in male subjects with hyperlipidaemia

Eyesight improvement

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel trial
Subject Non-exudative AMD patients (n = 20)

non-exudative AMD Age-related macular degeneration = characterized by the degeneration of the retina and the choroid in the posterior pole due to either atrophy or RPE detachment.

** In the wet, or exudative, form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD), pathologic choroidal neovascular membranes (CNVM) develop under the retina. The CNVM can leak fluid and blood and, if left untreated, ultimately cause a centrally blinding disciform scar.

  1. Kale beverage
  2. Refined rapeseed oil (placebo)
Duration 4 weeks intervention
Dosage 50 mL of a beverage containing either an oleaginous extract of kale (kale) or refined rapeseed oil (placebo
Parameters analyzed Plasma xanthophyll concentrations and the optical density of the macular pigment xanthophylls (MPOD)
Outcomes Visible benefits

  • The concentrations of the xanthophylls in plasma and the MPOD increased significantly in the kale group after 4 weeks of intervention.

Figure 1: Design of study protocol.

Figure 2: Alterations of the concentrations of lutein (A) and zeaxanthin (B) in plasma of patients with age-related mascular degeneration during a 10-week study with kale extract.

Functions An oleaginous extract of kale is able to elevate the xanthophyll concentrations in blood and macula of AMD patients. Both effects did not persist over a 4-week washout period. Hence, a continuous and adequate uptake of xanthophylls is necessary to counteract the declining values

Antibacterial activities

In vitro lab experiment
Subject Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923, Bacillus subtilis ATCC 6633, Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 29212, Moraxella catarrhalis ATCC 25238, Escherichia coli ATCC 35218, Enterobacter cloacae ATCC 13047, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 10145, Candida albicans ATCC 60193 and Candida tropicalis ATCC 13803
  1. Kale leaf extract
  2. Kale seed extract
Duration 18 hours incubation
Dosage 1 mg/ml (100 µL) of ethanol extract

Ampicilin (30 µg/ml), triflucan (5 µg/ml) and aqueous methanol (85%, v/v) served as controls.

Parameters analyzed Antimicrobial activity tests
Outcomes Visible benefits

  • all of the fractions were effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Bacillus subtilis and (most strongly) Moraxella catarrhalis.

Table 1: Antimicrobial activity of phenolic fractions of kale leaf and seed.

Functions In conclusion, the results of the present investigation indicate that kale leaves and seeds can be rated as good dietary sources of natural compounds with high or moderate antimicrobial activity.

Kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica) Standardized Extract Powder

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