The Leafy Green Vegetable That Builds Your Bones - Save Our Bones

One of the most amazing things about fruits and vegetables is that they perform so many tasks in the body, including building bone. That’s why the Osteoporosis Reversal Program lists so many of them as Foundation Foods.

Not too long ago, you read about multitasking cruciferous vegetables. Today we’re going to look closely at a powerful bone-building member of the cruciferous family: kale.

And I’ve also included a delectable, pH-balanced recipe featuring this bone-healthy vegetable that I am sure you’ll enjoy.

Nutrient-Rich Kale

Leafy-green kale is readily available in most grocery stores, and even organic kale is generally inexpensive. In fact, it’s not too hard to grow it yourself. If you live where winter temperatures do not dip below the teens, you can set out plants now, in the fall. Leaves are said to be sweeter if they mature during cold weather.

Kale comes in flat, curly, and even purple varieties, and all variations are good for your bones. It’s one of the few vegetables that reaches its flavor peak in the cold winter months.

Kale is alkalizing and surprisingly versatile – you can juice, steam, sauté, stir-fry, and bake kale. It adds bright green color and valuable nutrients when added to soups, and it can stand in for spinach or stand out as a main dish.

Foundation Supplements Abound in Kale

One cup of cooked kale has an astounding 1,062 micrograms of Vitamin K, more than 1,300% of the recommended daily value. Ample research supports Vitamin K’s role in bone health. In conjunction with Vitamin D, it regulates osteoclast production, making Vitamin K an important part of healthy bone remodeling.

Kale has plenty of other nutrients your bones crave:

  • Vitamin C*
  • Manganese*
  • Vitamin A
  • Copper*
  • Calcium*
  • Vitamin B6*
  • Iron
  • Potassium

*Foundation Supplement

Kale’s Antioxidant Power

Lutein, beta-carotene, kaempferol, and quercetin are antioxidants found in kale. Lutein and beta-carotene are carotenoids, while kaempferol and quercetin are flavonoids. To most of us, these phytonutrients are not as familiar as vitamins and minerals; but they are no less important. They act as antioxidants, which help prevent oxidative damage to your bones.

Now that you’re inspired to eat more kale, you might be wondering what to do with it. You also might have tasted badly-prepared kale in the past and think you don’t like it. I encourage you to try this recipe – it is a colorful dish with many delicious flavors.

Colorful Kale 


  • 1 bunch kale, preferably organic
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cranberries
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Chop kale and set aside. 
  2. In a pan, heat olive oil to medium heat; add garlic and onion and sauté until browned. Add kale and stir until kale is slightly wilted. Do not overcook.
  3. Remove from heat and sprinkle with cranberries and walnuts. Serve immediately.

I always enjoy sharing bone-healthy attributes of foods, because what you eat has such a great impact on your bone health and overall health. Foods like kale nourish and support your whole system, and many of them contain nutrients that we are just beginning to understand.

So remember, the right food is truly nature’s best medicine!

Till next time,

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. CW

    Just read something that confused me. Would appreciate clarification. I read earlier that cooked spinach is rich in calcium. Now I read a comment that spinach can block calcium absorption. Is this also the same for Kale? Please clarify

  2. Myra

    My bones hurt in the morning when I wake up from sleeping on my arms?

  3. Nancy Pulecio

    Dear Vivian, first of all thanks so much for sharing all you wonderful bone’s knowledge with all of us. Could you please tell us, is the apple cider vinegar good or bad when you have osteoporosis?
    I thank you so much!
    Nancy Pulecio

  4. Mary

    I love using kale as a base for my green juice base. I also add it to soups, salads, homemade pet foods, scrambled eggs, and I dehydrate it for using later in the winter when there is none growing in my garden. I love cooking and baking with coconut oil and avocado oil, because they are safer at higher heat then olive oil is. Also, kale is one of the foods listed to eat for cancer prevention.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Kale is certainly versatile, Mary! Thank you for sharing some of the ways you use it. 🙂

  5. Karen Stone

    I always thought one should not heat olive oil, that it is too delicate and should mainly be used on salads. Also, canola oil is being used by Trader Joe’s and other food companies as an ingredient in many of their foods. That oil I heard is not a healthy oil, so what oil should be used by large food suppliers that is both healthy and cost effective? Is coconut oil the one, or are there other other oils that are healthy, can be heated and are not too expensive for widespread commercial use?

    • Judy Chisnall

      I have done a lot of research on fats/oils and olive oil should not be heated. Canola is not a healthy oil. Apparently Rice Bran oil has a high smoke point and I use this sometimes but I mainly cook with coconut oil – the most healthy oil to use.

  6. marilyn

    For lunch I fill my blender with kale, spinach, fruit, protein powder, and plain yogurt. I was hoping fresh kale was best, but with all the reviews I am unsure.

  7. Linda leff

    Is it necessary to take a vitamin d supplement every time we eat a calcium rich food, or is the vitamin d in our fat tissue enough to help with calcium absorption?

  8. joyce

    I eat kale every day, but I boil it in clean water before seasoning with onion and garlic,
    The reason for boiling it for 30 minutes til fairly soft is to leach out the phytates [ phytic acid ] in all cruciferous vegetables, which harms bones. Can you comment on this? I’ve been doing it for a year because of information found on the net.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Joyce, it’s true that some foods do contain phytates that can impair calcium absorption as well as other minerals such as zinc and iron. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Precisely because they do bind with minerals, they may actually be preventing the formation of free radicals by keeping the minerals at safe levels in the body. This actually highlights the importance of consuming a varied diet (lots of different foods and preparations, such as raw, sauteed, boiled, etc.) rather than eating the same foods prepared the same way every day. 🙂

  9. Nora Winslow

    I use the same recipe but I cut up hot pickled peppers that I have canned to add to the kale. I add a little of the pickle juice after it has cooked. I’m anxious to try your recipe using cranberries. Love your book and using part of it in an attempt to get fluoride out of our drinking water.

  10. carol uschyk

    Hello Vivian, Enjoyed this email especially. We cook kale and also the leaves from the beets. After cooking, my husband adds a little of our red wine vinegar. Delicious
    I have recently found my left hip to be osteopenia instead of osteoporosis. At 71, I walk and work in the garden. Also enjoy the Calif. sunshine. We also eat from our garden and the local farmer’s market. A glass of red wine for dinner helps my heart and body stay healthy! Keep up the wonderful information for healthy bones. CU

  11. sherrilbperry

    A wonderful read.

  12. Jeff Kline

    One of the statements above mentioned that kale regulates osteoclast production.
    Are there any studies that support the position that kale acts like an osteoclast inhibitor? And if it does, is that process different than what has been represented to be achieved taking, for example, a bisphosphonate?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Jeff, it’s the Vitamin K in kale that works with Vitamin D to regulate osteoclast production. Your body is always using vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to strike a balance between bone loss and bone gain (remodeling). Osteoclast and osteoblast activity is boosted or inhibited, depending on the body’s needs. Nutrients that inhibit osteoclast production are simply playing a part in this healthy process. It’s entirely different than taking a synthetic drug which artificially stops all bone loss and causes worn bone (that would normally be shed) to build up, producing thick, brittle, hard bone. Taking a bisphosphonate totally disrupts the remodeling process!

  13. Diane

    Some vegetables are higher in nutrients or more available nutrients when cooked rather than raw, is kale one of those or is it the same raw or cooked? Is it like spinach and not recommended for those with kidney stones?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      The debate still continues over the nutritional advantages of raw vs. cooked foods, including kale. My suggestion is to vary your food preparation – eat kale both ways! 🙂

  14. Lynne Karlinsky

    I love kale, but it all but knocks me out because I’m hypothyroid. Is there any way to get around that?

    Appreciate your website!

  15. Terry

    Hi Vivian … I have baked kale to make chips. It is so different from anything I have had before. I do it occasionally for a snack mostly in the cooler months because of the heat from baking. Thanks for a new spin on kale. Looking forward to new recipes always. Thanks!!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Great idea, Terry!

  16. Geri

    Do you mean fresh or dried craisins?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I recipe calls for fresh cranberries, but feel free to experiment! 🙂 Just beware of dried fruits that contain additives like corn syrup, sugar, and preservatives.

  17. Denise Pinheiro

    Does kale have to be cooked, or can I use it in salads too? Will eating it raw have the same benefits?

    • Jo Lynne

      Kale salad is wonderful. There are multiple recipes on the internet. The kale is chopped coarsely and then dressed. The salt in the dressing causes the kale to wilt and it is not tough even though it is not cooked. I have had it with added shredded carrot, pine nuts and diced tomato. Fantastic.

    • Coral.Vorster

      i found kale to be quite tough to eat raw. i tried the saute method with onions,garlic however it was still quite tough. will try again with the cranberries & walnuts.

      • Eileen

        Did you remove the ribs? Kale leaves are chewey and tender when blanched.

        • Jenny

          I found that too. I tried “baby kale” which is much more tender.

  18. Wilfred Uwem

    Mine is really not a comment, but a request. Pls
    Can u revisit the different sleeping positions highlighted few days ago.
    I really did not pay attention when that subject came up I merely toyed with ur ideas.
    Many thanks.
    Sincerely urs

  19. Melony

    Hi! So glad I found your site/blog. It must be time to pay attention to my bones- when the universe keeps placing info in front of me.

    Are you in south FL? I used to live in Dania (1993) then Fort Lauderdale for a number of years.

    Just now thinking about it makes me a bit homesick.


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I can understand why you’d be homesick for the Florida sunshine! I hope you are able to get some warmth and sunlight where you are now.

      And I think it’s always a good time to pay attention to your bones! 🙂

  20. Susan Willis

    What about the oxalic acid in raw or slightly cooked kale (and other cruciferous vegetables)? While I’d love to juice it for the nutrient power, I hesitate to because of the worrisome calcium absorption blocking aspects of the oxalates. When studying macrobiotics, I was trained to always boil kale a couple of minutes before using it in anything. Can you shed some light on this conundrum?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Susan,
      I realize that laboratory studies have shown that oxalates in some vegetables like spinach and kale may interfere with calcium absorption (it doesn’t actually leech calcium from the bones). But the reduction is relatively small and should not prevent you from eating kale, which contains many valuable nutrients! Unless you’re planning on eating kale 3 times a day every day, it shouldn’t be a problem. 🙂

      • joyce cormack

        My same question about kale!
        Vivian, can you reply?

        • Cynthia

          I have just started eating Kale and Love the flavour! I clean under running tap then cut in half through leaf and stem. I sprinkle with Lemon juice and let stand for 5 minutes. Then place in a Steamer and cook for 5 minutes only! I can now Toss the Kale through stirfry and Soups etc. Is this the correct way to prepare Kale??

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