5 Nutritional Benefits Of Kale During Pregnancy

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Kale is a nutritious leafy vegetable loaded with fiber, vitamins, and calcium (1). Green vegetables are an essential part of any pregnancy diet. But is kale good for pregnancy? Nutritional needs of the body increase during pregnancy to cater to the requirements of both the mother and baby.

You can enjoy the benefits of this dark green leafy vegetable by eating it the way you like. Kale is known by different names worldwide, such as ‘Borecole’ in Dutch, ‘Kohl’ in German, and ‘Kail’ in Scottish Gaelic. Read this post to know about the different types of kale and its nutritional value during pregnancy.

Enjoying Kale

When cooked, kale tends to smell like sulfur, which is non-appealing for some mothers (2). However, if you stand the odor and incorporate the vegetable into your everyday diet, you are giving energy to your and your baby’s body.

  • Kale can be eaten in different ways. Cooked, semi boiled and added to salads, this vegetable becomes one of the must-haves in a pregnant woman’s diet.
  • Kale comes available in bunches, mostly in the cold weather months. However, most grocery stores have the vegetable all through the year.
  • Kale is also known as a pregnancy super food the world over because of the above reasons.

Types Of Kale

Kale can be Curly (greens), Lacinato (black) or Siberian (red) (3). The types of kale used in different recipes depend heavily on their texture and presentation.

  • Greens:

The green kale is great for stir fries, soups and smoothies, also baked as chips. While greens look like any other spinach, they are excellent for calorie count and taste different.

  • Lacinato:

The black or Tuscan kale comes with bumpy leaves having a rougher texture and meatier flavor as compared to greens. This is an ideal variant for salads and sautéed version.

  • Siberian Or Russian:

This variety of kale comes with purplish veins and thinner leaves, ideal again for soups and fries.

You can choose your own variety based on how you want to add the vegetable to your diet. You may also want to invent new recipes based on how each type tastes!

Nutritional Value And Benefits Of Kale During Pregnancy

Below are the nutrients that come rich in kale along with their benefits:

1. Fiber:

Kale comes packed with fiber content ideal for smooth digestion and added roughage. The fiber present in the vegetable also prevents conditions like constipation, keeping your pelvic area relieved from stomach issues (4).

2. Calcium:

The rich calcium component in kale helps build a stronger bone and teeth built in your growing baby. This is an important prenatal requirement that is usually given in the form of supplements by your doctor. Adding kale would be a bonus (5).

3. Vitamin A:

Vitamin A content in kale builds a stronger immune system, both for you as well as your baby. This is an important foundation factor in the prenatal stage for the development of the immune system in your baby.

4. Vitamin C:

The rich vitamin C in kale nourishes and protects the baby inside, while giving you added energy and vitality. This also helps you stay away from infections like cough and cold during pregnancy.

5. Vitamin K:

This is the best part about eating kale. The vitamin K percentage present in this green is more than all other peers in the leafy family. Vitamin K helps keep the blood vessels strong during pregnancy, when the added blood flow becomes a crucial part in your uterine area (6).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I eat raw kale during pregnancy?

Kale is a nutritious vegetable primarily consumed raw in salads and toppings. Any fruit and vegetable, especially during pregnancy, should be thoroughly washed and cleaned before consuming it raw.

2. Is spinach or kale better for pregnancy?

Spinach and kale are highly nutritious vegetables recommended in pregnancy. Spinach contains more calcium, fiber, protein, iron, and vitamin A than kale. In comparison, kale is richer in vitamin C, K and heart-healthy flavonoids. Thus both offer several nutrients, and you may choose either or both (7) (8).

3. Is kale healthier raw or cooked?

Cooking kale may slightly decrease its minerals, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Therefore you can try steaming the vegetable to retain the nutrients (9).

Knowing if and how is kale is good for pregnancy is one of many questions you may have regarding your pregnancy diet. Kale is a dark green leafy vegetable that provides fiber, calcium, and vitamins, and so, it could be an excellent and healthful addition to your pregnancy diet plan. Kale are of different types and are found in different parts of the world with different names. Aside from the usual salads and soups, you might try preparing a spinach-like kale dip to serve with a snack, or you may mix it with other tasty homemade dishes.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Kale, raw
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/323505/nutrients
  2. Kale Carotenoids Remain Stable while Flavor Compounds Respond to Changes in Sulfur Fertility
    https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf034098n
  3. Different Shades of Kale—Approaches to Analyze Kale Variety Interrelations
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8872201/
  4. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7589116/
  5. Calcium
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/
  6. Vitamin K
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
  7. Eating During Pregnancy: What Every Pregnant Woman And Her Partner Should Know.
    https://www.texaschildrens.org/blog/2015/01/eating-during-pregnancy-what-every-pregnant-woman-and-her-partner-should-know
  8. Kale vs Spinach: Which is heart healthier.
    https://health.clevelandclinic.org/kale-vs-spinach-which-is-heart-healthier/
  9. Kale benefits and nutrition facts.
    https://lettuceinfo.org/kale-faq/
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Sadiya Qamar

Sadiya is a writer and editor with a passion for writing about parenthood and children. Her focus areas are health, wellness, and beauty. For MomJunction, she writes on kids’ health and nutrition.  Sadiya believes in doing in-depth research and providing accurate information to help parents with concerns on their children’s growth and development.