Kale and Pregnancy: Safety, Benefits, and Risks

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Written by Shandra Williams

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Kale is a nutrient-rich vegetable that is often considered to be a superfood. Due to being packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it has many health benefits. But, can kale safely be consumed during pregnancy?

Kale is generally safe for pregnant women to consume. Some mistakenly avoid kale because it’s high in vitamin A, but it’s actually high in beta carotene, which is safe during pregnancy – and also beneficial.

What are the benefits of kale during pregnancy, then? Learn more by reading on…

Is Kale Good During Pregnancy? The Benefits

Kale is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including:

It is also worth mentioning that among the common types of kale (curly, Lacinato, and Red Russian Kale), Curly Kale is the most nutrient-dense (source: Shape.com). Because of this, it is often considered the most beneficial type of kale to eat during pregnancy.

As you can see, kale is a nutrient-rich food that can offer many benefits during pregnancy.

sauteed kale with nuts

Is Kale Safe When Pregnant?

Even though it’s very nutritious, there are a few other things to keep in mind when eating kale during pregnancy.

First, choose organic kale whenever possible. This is because kale (and other leafy greens) can absorb pesticides and other harmful chemicals from the soil (source: Journal of Toxicology). Maternal pesticide exposure can cause wheezing in the baby (source: Environment International Journal).

Second, wash kale thoroughly before eating, even if it has been washed before bagging. This will help remove any dirt, pesticides, or other contaminants on the leaves. Kale, like other leafy green vegetables, can be prone to contamination (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Can I Eat Raw Kale During Pregnancy?

You can eat raw kale, but, as with many raw foods, it is essential to wash it thoroughly in running water first. Kale could be contaminated with bacteria from the soil where it’s grown.

Also, remove the bruised or damaged areas, if necessary. You don’t need any special products to clean kale, but check out these brands if you prefer to use “veggie wash” cleansing products.

Are Kale Chips Good for Pregnant Women?

Yes, kale chips are good during pregnancy on the whole, if the kale chips are made from an actual kale vegetable, not from a powder or flour. Most of the kale chips available in stores are made from kale powder or flour, and they might not offer the same nutritional benefits as the whole food.

Also, bear in mind that many kale chips are coated in a lot of salt. Too much salt can cause high blood pressure and edema in pregnant women (source: Placenta Journal).

When it comes to pregnant women and kale chips, we recommend sticking to brands that use real kale and have a moderate amount of salt. In addition, you can make them yourself at home so that you can control the amount of salt used.

kale chips in a ceramic bowl

Is the Vitamin A in Kale a Concern During Pregnancy?

Vitamin A in kale is not a concern during pregnancy. The recommended daily intake of vitamin A for pregnant women is 800mcg (source: Nutrients Journal). A cup of Kale has 50.6 mcg of vitamin A (source: USDA). The vitamin A in kale is actually beta-carotene, which is not the same as the Vitamin A that pregnant women are advised against.

Kale in culinary amounts is fine during pregnancy but talk to your doctor first if you’re taking higher amounts, such as supplements or powders, as these may not always be safe during pregnancy.

Are Kale Smoothies or Juices Good for Pregnant Women?

Kale smoothies and juices are a great way to achieve your body’s required nutrients during pregnancy. They are also a convenient way to consume kale if you are averse to the taste or texture of the leafy vegetable.

However, it is essential to remember that smoothies and juices can be high in sugar, so it is essential to choose options that are low in sugar and drink them in moderation. Pregnant women’s high sugar consumption can cause weight gain, gestational diabetes, and other complications (source: Nutrients Journal).

Pregnant women should also avoid drinking unpasteurized kale juices, as they can contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious problems for both the mother and the developing baby (source: FDA). The best smoothies are homemade ones, so you can control what goes into them.

Try this simple kale smoothie recipe:

Ingredients:

  • One cup of kale
  • One cup of water
  • One banana
  • One tablespoon of honey

Instructions:

In a blender, mix all ingredients together and enjoy! If you find the smoothie too thick, add more water until the desired consistency is achieved. If you find the smoothie too sweet, add more kale or reduce the amount of honey used. Enjoy!

kale smoothie in a glass

Is Kale Powder Safe When Pregnant?

Powdered kale is also popular and might be added to smoothies, drinks, etc., instead of kale leaves. However, only consume kale power within its recommended dosage and always check other ingredients first.

Also, check the following when buying kale power:

  • Ensure that it is FDA-regulated and certified organic to avoid any harmful side effects.
  • The absence of any ingredients that may be considered harmful for pregnant women.

Can Kale Cause Miscarriage?

There is no evidence that kale can cause miscarriage. In fact, kale is actually a nutrient-rich food containing vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy pregnancy. Speak with your doctor if you have any concerns. We hope this article has provided clarity on kale and pregnancy!