kale

Kale has been at the top of the healthy food list for some time. But it may actually cause kidney stones and thyroid problems.

The generally accepted definition of “what’s good for you” is always temporary, vacillating constantly as dietary specialists highlight the importance or dangers of butter, carbs, alcohol and meat. But as far as vegetables were concerned, my personal motto has always been more is better. Eat everything in moderation, and when moderation has got you down, just add vegetables. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Moderation is important in all areas of diet and nutrition, even the parts that would appear to be very good for us.

Last year, the dangers of consuming too much fruit were highlighted by scientists. This year, it appears that superfood darling and perhaps the world’s first trendy vegetable is the one being targeted. Apparently, kale might not be as good for us as we’d like to think… or at least, not in the quantities we’ve been consuming it in.

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, kale and other crucifers contain glucosinulates, which can yield a compound known as goitrin, which has been linked to hyperthyroidism. To avoid this unfortunate side effect of your favorite dark green crucifer, try cooking kale, which lessens its goigrogenic properties, or occasionally replacing kale or consuming kale with seaweed, which adds more iodine into your diet and lessens the risks of thyroid problems linked to the production of goitrin.

Kale also contains oxalates, which have been linked with kidney stones and some gallstones. You can replace kale with other leafy greens not linked to this problem, at least occasionally.

It’s not a matter of avoiding kale permanently, or even avoiding it at all. But it is good to bear in mind that everything — even if it seems “healthy” — is only good for us when consumed in moderation.

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Image: Dwight Sipler