Kale chips are a crunchy edible snack made from kale leaves. Kale leaves are dark green leaves belonging to a group of cabbage. The crunchy snack is famous for its nutritional benefits. Kale plants have green or purple leaves, and the central part of the plant does not form any head of leaves. Kale has a strong earthy taste. The leaves are dry, tough and crunchy. Young or raw kale leaves are soft and have a mild taste. Fresh kale, olive oil and flaked sea salt are the primary ingredients used to make kale chips.
You can make kale chips using various cooking methods like frying, baking and dehydrating. However, kale is not the only ingredient in these chips. They can also have other ingredients like sea salt, cashews, sunflower seeds, and other flavouring substances to add to their taste. Once, kale was only available in health stores. Still, due to its nutritional benefits and popular demand, it is also available in grocery stores.
Nutritional Properties of Kale Chips
Kale chips come in various combinations depending on their ingredients and preparation. The nutritional properties of kale chips rely on the ingredients used to prepare them. However, since the primary ingredient is kale leaves, these chips provide ample nutritional benefits.
According to USDA, one hundred grams of kale chips offer the following nutrients given that ingredients are kale, sunflower seeds, white vinegar, nutritional yeast, and sea salt.
- Energy: 500 kCal
- Protein: 25 g
- Fat: 35.71 g
- Carbs: 25 g
- Fibre: 10.7 g
- Calcium: 143 mg
- Iron: 25.71 mg
- Sodium: 1357 mg
- Vitamin C: 17.1 mg
- Vitamin A: 10714 IU
The HealthifyMe Note
The nutritional value of Kale chips varies based on their preparation. However, kale chips are generally rich in vitamin A and K. Some other nutritional benefits of kale chips are discussed below.
Benefits of Kale Chips
High in Vitamin K
Kale chips are best known for their dietary Vitamin K-rich content. According to studies, about 100g of organic kale chips contain 732.1 micrograms of Vitamin K. As a minimum daily requirement, men require 120 micrograms, and females need 90 micrograms of the vitamin. Thus, a single serving of kale chips provides much higher Vitamin K than your minimum requirement.
Vitamin K helps make various proteins in your body and hence aids in new cell formation or any cell damage caused in the body. For example, it helps in the formation of Prothrombin, which is a protein used for cell recovery. Osteocalcin is another protein that requires vitamin K to keep your bones healthy. Apart from this, vitamin K-rich foods help in faster blood clotting. Having these functions to work correctly in your body, you need vitamin K, and kale chips can be a helpful snack for this.
High in Vitamin B
Most green vegetables are rich in vitamin B. Vitamin B has other types like B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, etc. Vitamin B is responsible for the growth of red blood cells and brain function. Just like vitamin A, vitamin B is also beneficial for eyesight. In addition, it helps in digestion, appetite and proper nerve function. According to USDA, 100g of kale chips contains 4.286 mg of vitamin B6.
According to research daily dosage of vitamin B6 for men or women aged between 19 to 50 is 1.3mg. Therefore, a single serving of kale chips completes your daily requirement for vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 is also helpful for pregnant women who suffer nausea. In addition, it is beneficial in treating symptoms of PMS and treatment of anaemia by aiding in haemoglobin production. Even if you do not suffer from these diseases, you can still have kale for its vitamin B, which will improve your digestion and cell recovery.
Boosts Bone Health
Kale chips have good Vitamin K. Kale chips are found to help make your bones stronger. But, it is not only about Vitamin K for bones. Kale is an alkalising food. Your blood becomes acidic when you follow a high protein diet or eat too many grains. Due to this process, your body sucks alkalising minerals like calcium out of your bones. As a result, it makes your bones weaker. It is also known as calcium leaching. Having kale chips helps restore those alkalising minerals and strengthen your bones. When your body digests kale then automatically reduces blood acid levels.
If we look at vitamin K for healthy bones, then vitamin K contains K1 and K2. Vitamin K2 is responsible for vitamin D3-producing cells that help healthy bone formation. Apart from this, kale is good in calcium and magnesium, which keeps your bones healthy and builds muscle.
Healthy for the Cardiovascular System
Nutrients present in kale help maintain a healthy cardio system. In addition, research says that having kale or vegetables like broccoli or cabbage makes the cardiovascular system healthy.
Research shows that kale contains magnesium, potassium and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals like flavonoids and carotenoids are associated with cardio health. Evidence also suggests cardiovascular benefits to other nutrients like vitamin K and C. Kale chips are rich in these vitamins.
Phytochemicals, with their different mechanisms, also protect you from cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Just like by modulating enzyme activity, blood pressure, regulation of glucose and metabolism and much more. These mechanisms protect you from abnormal blood pressure and heart diseases.
Improves Bowel Health
Kale chips have good fibre content in them. According to a USDA study, organic kale chips of 100g serving contain 7.1g of fibre. Fibre keeps your bowel movements healthy and aids in constipation, indigestion or other digestive issues. Dietary fibre increases the weight and size of stools and softens them to avoid constipation. In addition, fibre is helpful if you suffer from loose stools as it absorbs the extra water from stools and adds bulk to them.
According to NIH, the fibre in kale is vital for our digestive system. According to the USDA, adults should consume 22-34g of fibre daily depending on age, health conditions and sex. Therefore, serving kale contributes about 30% of daily fibre intake.
Promotes Vision And Eyesight
Kale and kale chips are high in Vitamin A. A rich diet helps in healthy vision and eyesight. The eyes are complex organs that need vitamins and other nutrients for proper functioning. In addition, vitamin A plays a vital role in keeping the cornea clear. The cornea is a transparent eye layer covering the iris and pupil, allowing light to enter. If once damaged, then the damaged corneal part cannot heal itself but can be replaced by new tissue by an eye specialist. So it is vital to keep your eye cornea healthy. If you consume one serving of kale or kale chips daily, you are meeting your minimum daily requirement of Vitamin A.
Apart from vitamin A, vitamin E also benefits the eyes. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that helps protect your eyes from the damage of free radicals or unstable molecules. However, it is essential to know that despite having good Vitamin A, you must also have other vitamins to keep your eyes healthy.
Allergies Due to Kale Chips
Kale is among the most nutritious and healthy foods available. Similar to this, kale chips are famous nutritious snacks used nowadays. These are rich in macros like protein, fats, and fibres and contain many calories. Regarding micronutrients, kale chips are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For most kale consumers, it is safe and does not cause any potential side effects. However, in very few cases, kale may be allergic.
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable. So, people with a cruciferous vegetable allergy must avoid their consumption. Kale can also cause bloating in some people and difficulty in digestion. Few people also experienced gastrointestinal distress from cruciferous vegetables. People who eat kale or kale chips often and have an allergy to cruciferous vegetables are at high risk of developing kale allergies. Let us discuss some symptoms you may observe if you have a kale allergy.
The HealthifyMe Note
Recently there has been a rise in food allergies, and reports say that having the same food regularly can be the cause. Allergy to some food or drink happens when your body identifies it as an invader and gives an antibody attack to fix it.
Kale Allergy Symptoms
Kale or other cruciferous vegetable allergies have similar symptoms. For example, an allergic person may observe:
- Itchy skin: Your skin is frequently itching, resulting in redness, swelling or rashes.
- Hives, which are caused by itchy skin
- Swelling on tongue and throat: if you feel your mouth heavier and struggle with swelling foods, it may indicate kale allergy.
- Digestive distress: it is a group of digestive disorders which include bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, etc.
If you have cruciferous or kale allergies, you should avoid eating kale and other cruciferous vegetables. While kale contains vitamins, minerals, macronutrients and fibres, you may be unlucky. It would help if you tried to complete your vitamin profile from other sources. However, for most of the population, kale is an agreeable food in their regular diet. That is because it makes them get all the nutrient combinations in a single food.
However, you can adopt other healthy options to get your daily vitamins. For example, you can have foods with some nutritional properties similar to kale.
Foods with Similar Nutrients Profile
Vitamin A is the reason people consume kale the most. Alternatively, you can consume liver beef, sweet potato, salmon, mango, goat cheese, or butter.
A powerful antioxidant and maintains healthy skin and immune system. You can get Vitamin C from citrus fruits like oranges, lemon, kiwi, etc. Bell pepper is also rich in vitamin C.
It supports various proteins responsible for blood clotting and bone health. Vitamin K-rich foods are soybeans, pickles, edamame, pumpkin, pine nuts and blueberries.
Iron is a mineral used for the growth and development of the body. The body uses iron to make haemoglobin, protein and red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all body parts of your body and help you stay active. Iron-rich foods are pumpkin seeds, legumes, turkey, tofu and shellfish.
Vitamin B6 is an essential vitamin, especially for infants and children. It helps in normal brain development and keeps your central nervous system healthy. Food sources for high vitamin B6 are fish, potatoes, bananas, cereals, eggs and avocados.
Calcium is responsible for healthy bones and teeth. It also has other functions like making muscles move, carrying messages in your nervous system and making a good connection between your brain and body parts. Calcium-rich foods are beans, almonds, cheese, lentils, milk and sardines.
Copper works with iron in the formation of red blood cells. Copper-rich foods can be spirulina, oysters, lobster and dark chocolate.
Potassium is a mineral which helps to maintain healthy levels of fluids in the body. Potassium-rich foods are white beans, beets, potatoes, oranges and yoghurt.
It is an essential mineral as it is responsible for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps the heartbeat steady, and helps strengthen bones. Magnesium-rich foods are capers, onion, cocoa, and avocados.
An Easy Way to Prepare Kale Chips at Home
Preparing kale chips in your home is easy, using simple everyday ingredients. You can make tasty kale chips for your family as an evening snack. You can prepare them at your home by following the recipe mentioned below.
- Curly green or purple kale: 4 nos. (or more, depending on the quantity you need)
- Melted coconut or Avacodo oil: 1 to 2 tbsp
- Cumin powder: 1 tsp
- Chilli powder: 1 tsp
- Curry powder: 1 tsp
- Salt: According to taste
- Nutritional yeast: 1 tbsp
- Preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, that is, 107 Celcius. You can use convection bake if you need to speed up the cooking process and also if you need to make your chips crispier.
- Rinse the kale and then dry it thoroughly, then tear them into small pieces.
- Add the small kale pieces to a large mixing bowl and mix it thoroughly with oil and seasoning of your choice.
- Spread the mixed kale over two large baking sheets so they don’t touch each other.
- Bake each batch for 15 minutes, then turn the pans and lightly toss the kale to ensure even baking.
- Bake until the kale is crisp and has a slight golden brown colour.
- Once the baking process is complete, remove them from the oven and let the item cool off slightly.
- Transfer the kale chips to a serving dish for you and your family to enjoy.
Kale chips are nutritious snacks tightly packed with many calories, vitamins and minerals. Kale chips are high in protein and fibres. The increase in the popularity of kale chips is highly notable nowadays. Kale chips are high in Vitamin A, which is beneficial for your eye health, and Vitamin E, which helps in blood clotting and protein formation for healthy bones. In addition, kale chips contain minerals like magnesium and potassium, which help in healthy fluid retention in the body and good nervous system functioning. Very few people are allergic to kale and kale chips. They may try alternative foods to complete their vitamin profile. Kale is undoubtedly one of the healthiest and most nutritious snacks, and it’s time you included them in your daily diet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Are kale chips healthy?
A. Kale is an excellent source of Vitamin K and Vitamin A. These contain many minerals like magnesium, potassium and iron. In addition, kale is a macronutrient-rich food and rich in protein. One single serving of kale chips 100g contains about 550 Calories. However, kale chips’ nutritional values vary with the ingredients used in making kale chips. However, consume kale chips moderately as they are high in fat and calories.
Q. Do kale chips taste like chips?
A. Without any seasoning and other spices, kale chips taste like cooked kale. They taste bitter. After baking, kale chips pick some toasty flavour which balances kale bitterness a bit. One can try baked or crispy kale chips combined with seasonings and some other spices or sauces to boost the taste and reduce the natural bitterness of the kale plant.
Q. Are baked kale chips healthy?
A. Baked kale chips are a healthy substitute for potato chips. Potato chips mostly contain unhealthy fats and oils in it. Thus they have very few nutritional properties. On the other hand, kale chips are full of vitamins, minerals and protein. Therefore, kale chips are delicious vitamin restoration snacks.
Q. Why are kale chips so bitter?
A. Kale is known to taste bitter. Baking them reduces bitterness, and after preparing kale chips with seasonings and other ingredients, we can reduce their bitterness. But still, the thinner kale parts become brown and taste more bitter. The key to lowering kale’s bitterness is to bake them correctly and for longer.
Q. Can I eat too many kale chips?
A. Kale is full of vitamins, proteins, fibres and minerals. With all these benefits, kale chips are high in calories due to their high-fat content. A 100g of kale chips contain about 550 calories depending on the preparation and ingredients used. It is advised not to take kale to complete your daily calories rather than use it as a nutritional snack.
Q. What do kale chips taste like?
A. Without any seasoning and other spices, kale chips taste like cooked kale. They taste bitter. After baking, kale chips pick some toasty flavour which balances kale bitterness a bit. One can try baked or crispy kale chips combined with seasonings and other spices or sauces to boost the taste and reduce kale’s natural bitterness. Therefore, try to bake kale longer to reduce bitterness.
Q. How long do kale chips last?
A. After preparing kale chips, it is essential to let them cool and let the warmth and moisture fly away from them. It makes chips more crispy and tasty. You can keep kale chips away from humidity in an airtight container and use them for 2-3days.
Q. What are the side effects of eating kale?
A. Kale and kale chips are very safe to consume. But in very few cases, they show some potential side effects. It happens when the consumers have a kale allergy. For example, you may be allergic to kale if you are allergic to cruciferous vegetables. Kale is also a cruciferous vegetable. People should avoid kale consumption if they observe skin hives, itchy skin, swelling on lips and throat and gastrointestinal problems.
Q. Do kale chips help you lose weight?
A. Kale can help you lose weight if you consume it in moderation. Kale is high in calories and leads to weight gain if taken in more quantities. However, it is rich in fibre and protein, which contribute to weight loss. So try to consume kale in moderation if you want to lose weight.
Q. Are kale chips high in protein?
A. Absolutely yes, Kale chips are high in protein. According to USDA studies, 100g of organic kale chips contain about 17.6g of protein. Besides their high protein content, kale and kale chips are rich in Vitamin B, iron, calcium, fibres and antioxidants.