Kale has made headline after headline, with reporters raving over how healthy it is. Foodies and health nuts alike can’t stop talking about all of its wonderful qualities. But it might be contaminating your kitchen, cutting surfaces, and other produce. Kale may also be problematic if you’re taking certain meds, or if you have a thyroid condition.
Kale may be packed with nutrients, but it can also contain loads of toxic pesticides. The high potassium and vitamin K levels can interfere with beta-blockers and blood thinners, and the goitrogen levels can interfere with normal thyroid functioning. Get more details below on the potential dangers of keeping kale in your kitchen.
Think Twice About Contaminating Your Kitchen With This Popular Vegetable.
Superfood and More
Kale is a true superfood. It’s packed with antioxidants and other nutrients capable of lowering cholesterol, reducing cancer risks and protecting against age-related illness. Kale binds bile acids, which can slow or reduce the progression of some degenerative diseases. It may also improve immune function and protect against glaucoma. Unfortunately, for all the good it has to offer, kale has a few potential deal-breaking drawbacks.
Riddled With Pesticides
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), recent testing revealed about 92% of kale samples have at least two pesticide residues on them. Some samples test positive for up to 18 different pesticides.
About 60% of the samples tested positive for DCPA, often marketed under the name Dacthal, a possible carcinogen that’s been banned in Europe since 2009. U.S. farmers use Dacthal on kale, broccoli, turnips, eggplant, and sweet potatoes. The herbicide contains hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and a form of dioxin, both of which are toxic to humans.
HCB can cause arthritis, osteoporosis in the hands, liver damage, muscle weakness and stunted growth. Dioxins are known carcinogens that can cause a slew of health issues including birth defects, liver damage and depressed immune function. You don’t want either of these in your food.
Kale consumption may interact with beta-blockers and blood thinners. Like other cruciferous vegetables, it’s rich in potassium and vitamin K, both of which are good for most healthy people.
Beta-blockers can raise blood levels of potassium, which can cause weakness, nausea, cold sweats and an irregular heartbeat. In some cases, it can cause a heart attack. Moreover, high amounts of vitamin K can reduce the effectiveness of blood thinners, increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attack and stroke.
Effects on the Thyroid
Kale is also high in goitrogens, which block iodine from the thyroid. Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, miscarriage and an enlarged thyroid (goiter). People with hypothyroidism related to low iodine absorption should avoid foods that contain goitrogens. As an aside, you can also significantly reduce the goitrogen content in your foods by cooking them.
Kale may have a lot to offer most people, but it’s not without risks or complications. You can bypass the pesticides by buying organic kale, which is a safe choice for people who don’t have to consider medical interactions. Kale is a healthy superfood, but we certainly shouldn’t be buying it without knowing the risks and doing the work to mitigate them however we can.