Kale is among the richest vegetables in protein, having a great amino acid profile.
How much protein do we need?
The recommended daily intake of protein for most people is only 0.8 g per kg (2.2 lbs) of body weight.
Only active people require more protein. In fact, people with minimal, moderate, and intense physical activity should get at least 1.0 g, 1.3 g, and 1.6 g of protein per kg (2.2 lbs) of body weight, respectively.[1,2]
For instance, an 80 kg (177 lbs) person with moderate physical activity should get approximately 100 g of protein a day. On the other hand, a 59 kg (130 lbs) person who follows a sedentary life requires only 59 g of protein.
Protein deficiency is rather unlikely. People who consume adequate amounts of calories and follow a well-balanced diet, probably consume more protein than they need.
What’s the protein content of kale?
Kale is among the richest vegetables in protein. It contains 2.92 g of protein per 100g.
Furthermore, a small 1-cup serving provides 0.6 g of protein.
How much protein can I get from a kale smoothie?
Kale smoothies are good for you, as they’re packed with antioxidant compounds, minerals, and vitamins. But, you can’t depend on kale to boost your protein intake.
A kale smoothie contains only 2-3 stems of kale, providing less than 1 g of protein.
If you want to increase your protein intake, you could add a scoop of protein powder to your smoothies. Besides whey protein, there are many plant-based protein powders. You’ll find a wide variety of protein powders on Amazon.
What’s the amino acid profile of kale?
Besides animal-based products, only a few plant-based foods contain all essential amino acids, providing a high-quality, complete protein.
As most vegetables, kale lacks certain amino acids. It contains negligible amounts of lysine and leucine.
Lysine is naturally found in beans, tofu, and peanuts. Common foods high in leucine are beans, tofu, and pumpkin seeds. Both amino acids are found in abundant in all animal-based products.
So, we should add kale to our bean and legume recipes in order to “create” a high quality, complete protein.
In contrast, kale is pretty rich in amino acids: glutamic acid, proline and aspartic acid.
Cooking negatively affects the protein content of kale. It destroys about 22% of the protein of fresh kale. Frozen kale contains less protein as well.
Common foods high in protein
Certainly, meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs are excellent dietary sources of high-quality, complete protein.
Certainly, people who want to follow a plant-based diet could get more than enough protein from plants. Beans, nuts, seeds, whole-grains, and leafy vegetables, like kale and spinach, are great dietary sources of protein as well.
But, people who follow a plant-based diet should consume a wide variety of foods. Most plants lack of certain amino acids. Therefore, we should combine beans, rice, and other whole-grains in order to get all essential amino acids from food.
Why should I eat kale regularly?
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable with great health benefits. We should eat kale regularly.
Kale is particularly rich in antioxidant compounds, like vitamin C, polyphenols, carotenoids, and glucosinolates.
Actually, the regular consumption of kale may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, as well as other chronic or degenerative diseases. Moreover, kale may lower cholesterol and help lose weight.[5,6,7]
Last, but not least, kale has powerful anti-cancer properties.