You know it, you eat it, and if you’re one of those kale heads, you’re unreasonably defensive of it. But that’s okay, we understand, it’s good for you.
Or is it? Turns out eating kale in large quantities (read: every day or multiple times a day) may be hazardous to your health. Ernie Hubbard, a molecular biologist in health-conscious California, was studying the leafy green veggie — and others like it, including broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower — and stumbled upon a 2006 Czech study which stated “the ‘cruciferous’ family of vegetables behave as ‘hyperaccumulators’ of thallium.”
In plain English: Kale and its close veggie family members contain a lot of lead. Marin County, where Hubbard conducted his research, is a hub for health nuts who don’t drink a lot, don’t smoke or do drugs and otherwise exercise and eat healthily — including a lot of kale. It initially blew Hubbard’s mind when the people all around him were presenting troubling, sometimes serious symptoms like digestive troubles, chronic fatigue, skin and hair issues and neurological disorders.
Hubbard started testing their urine, and you guessed it: high, high levels of thallium. He urged a patient who called herself the “Cabbage Queen,” whose hair was falling out and whose thallium levels were nearly eight times higher than the human safety limit, to cut back.
Hubbard is currently working on discovering why and how the thallium is getting into the veggies but he suspects nearby fracking and drilling operations are to blame.
The lesson here is to do everything in moderation, kids! Even when it comes to eating kale. And while we’re at it, maybe we should start treating the land where we grow our edible foods a little better, hmm?