5 Amazing Benefits of Sea Kale

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The health benefits of sea kale include its ability to prevent scurvy, boost the immune system, improve the metabolism, and help with weight gain. It also helps maintain the health and functionality of kidneys, regulate hormonal activity in the body, and improve the digestive processes.

What is Sea Kale?

The scientific name of sea kale is Crambe maritima [1] and it grows wild around the coasts of Europe, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. It is a small shrub that grows well in very salty soil, and its young, fleshy, white roots are harvested. The leaves of sea kale are also used as salad greens in many cultures. It should be consumed quickly after harvesting, but the heart of the plant should not be damaged, as it can live for a number of years and continually produce vegetative fruit.

Sea kale is a plant that is often overlooked because of its land-based sibling, kale, often gets a lot more attention. Kale is one of the more popular up and coming figures in the vegetable world, but sea kale is also an important and beneficial element of human health that has been cultivated for thousands of years. Historically, sea kale was used by the Greeks and was widely cultivated since the 16th century.

Bowl of sea kale on a green mat

The tender stalks of sea kale just need a little vinaigrette. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Kale, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]89.63
Energy 35
Energy [kJ]148
Protein [g]2.92
Total lipid (fat) [g]1.49
Ash [g]1.54
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]4.42
Fiber, total dietary [g]4.1
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]0.99
Sucrose [g]0.18
Glucose (dextrose) [g]0.4
Fructose [g]0.41
Calcium, Ca [mg]254
Iron, Fe [mg]1.6
Magnesium, Mg [mg]33
Phosphorus, P [mg]55
Potassium, K [mg]348
Sodium, Na [mg]53
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.39
Copper, Cu [mg]0.05
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.92
Selenium, Se [µg]0.9
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]93.4
Thiamin [mg]0.11
Riboflavin [mg]0.35
Niacin [mg]1.18
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.37
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.15
Folate, total [µg]62
Folate, food [µg]62
Folate, DFE [µg]62
Choline, total [mg]0.5
Betaine [mg]0.3
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]241
Carotene, beta [µg]2873
Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]27
Vitamin A, IU [IU]4812
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]6261
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.66
Tocopherol, gamma [mg]0.14
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]389.6
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.18
12:0 [g]0.01
14:0 [g]0.01
16:0 [g]0.16
18:0 [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.1
18:1 [g]0.1
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.67
18:2 [g]0.29
18:3 [g]0.38
20:4 [g]0
Tryptophan [g]0.04
Threonine [g]0.13
Isoleucine [g]0.18
Leucine [g]0.21
Lysine [g]0.18
Methionine [g]0.03
Cystine [g]0.04
Phenylalanine [g]0.15
Tyrosine [g]0.1
Valine [g]0.16
Arginine [g]0.16
Histidine [g]0.17
Alanine [g]0.15
Aspartic acid [g]0.26
Glutamic acid [g]0.33
Glycine [g]0.14
Proline [g]0.17
Serine [g]0.12
Sources include : USDA [2]

Nutritional Value of Sea Kale

Sea kale has not been widely studied, but some of its nutrients are well-known. Due to the unusual locations where it grows, sea kale can provide a unique mineral profile to a human diet, including iodine, sulfur, vitamin C, and trace mineral compounds. [3]

The wide availability of this vegetable has made it popular throughout history, but the health benefits associated with it make it a boon for people who want to add a sea vegetable to their diet. [4]

Health Benefits of Sea Kale

The health benefits of sea kale include its ability to improve digestion, increase urine frequency, and boost immunity, among others.

Improves Digestion

Like other members of the Brassicaceae family, sea kale contains a high content of dietary fiber, making it very beneficial for digestion. Fiber helps to bulk up the stool and move it through the digestive tract, thereby eliminating common issues such as constipation, bloating, cramping, excess gas, and even diarrhea. By promoting a healthy digestive system, this vegetable can help to prevent various gastrointestinal diseases.

Promotes Urination

The mineral content of sea kale, as well as its metabolism-stimulating properties, provides this interesting vegetable with certain diuretic properties, which means that it stimulates urination. This promotes the flushing of toxins from the body because the kidneys are able to work at a more functional level. This also helps to rid the body of excess salts, water, and fat, since urine is composed of approximately 4% fat.

Boosts Immune System

Sea kale is found to have a very high level of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which is one of the essential vitamins that can stimulate the immune system to increase its production of white blood cells. Therefore, it can optimize your immune system and help you fight the common cold, thanks to the antioxidant activities of vitamin C. [5]

Hormone Regulation

Iodine is one of the most undervalued, yet an essential mineral for human health. Without iodine, the thyroid gland would be unable to produce a number of hormones, including thyroid. By actively regulating the endocrine system with a healthy level of iodine, sea kale can keep your body function smoothly and ensure that all of your hormonal processes stay balanced. This also helps to boost your metabolism, thereby avoiding excess weight gain, fatigue, and organ systems malfunctions. [6]

Weight Gain

Although most health-conscious adults worry about losing weight, there are many people who need to gain weight fast. The very high levels of carbohydrates in sea kale (comparable to potatoes) mean that it can help you put on weight quickly, particularly after excessive exercise, illness, or recovery from an injury or surgery. [7]

How to Eat Sea Kale?

Sea kale sprouts are widely used in the same way as asparagus in terms of culinary preparation, and they can also be eaten raw with a light vinaigrette. They can also be baked and eaten as a side dish.

Word of Caution: There are no known dangers to this plant, although be careful to store blanched leaves for extended periods of time, as the stalks do not stay fresh for very long. They should be harvested and consumed relatively quickly. Other than that, enjoy this new addition to your dietary vegetable profile!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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