Starting today, Wednesday will be a day for Q & As from you — the Nutritioulicious readers. Please post questions in the comments section or email me directly at Jessica@nutritioulicious.com to ask your burning food and nutrition questions. Every week I will post a featured question with an answer. I look forward to your questions! Let’s get the ball rolling with today’s Wednesday Wonder!
Q: Hi! I have been making smoothies every morning using kale and wanted to know if there is a nutritional difference between dinosaur kale and curly-leaf kale? — Eliza
A: Hi Eliza,
Great question, especially since kale is in season right about now. It’s great that you have been eating so much kale, since the nutritional benefits are really excellent. For those of you who don’t know, kale is a green, leafy vegetable in the Brassica family, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and collard greens. There are multiple types of kale, including red Russian kale, curly kale, ornamental kale, and dinosaur kale.
The primary difference between the different types of kale is in appearance and taste, not nutrition. Nutritionally, kale is a powerhouse of nutrients. It is very high in vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. It is also a good source of fiber and calcium, and has been found to have sulfur-containing phytonutrients that help prevent cancer. Kale is low in calories, containing 36 calories per 1 cup.
As for appearance and taste, curly kale (on the left in the picture below) has a wider, more ruffled leaf and a thick, fibrous stalk, and is usually a brighter shade of green than other varieties. It has a more pungent and bitter taste than other types of kale. Dinosaur kale (on the right in the picture below), also known as Lacinato kale, has narrower, darker leaves that are almost blue-green in color and has an embossed texture. It has a bit of a sweeter, more delicate taste than curly kale.
Bottom line: Either variety of kale will provide you with nutritional benefits. Which you choose comes down to taste preferences.