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Kale Sprouts: Health Benefits Beyond Anti-Cancer Effects

Get out of your sprout rut by trying some less common sprouts such as kale sprouts! Not only do they add a nice twist to your salads, kale sprouts may also provide health benefits, including reducing your risk of some types of cancer and providing your body with tons of vitamin C.

Kale Sprouts Health Benefits

Here's the full scoop on the health-protecting properties of kale sprouts, plus advice on how to grow kale sprouts at home:

Anti-Cancer Potential

A large sprout study funded by Australia's Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) assessed the anti-cancer potential of a number of common sprouts, including kale sprouts. For each tested sprout, an anti-cancer score was calculated based on the sprout's glucosinolate content. While glucosinolates themselves have limited biological activity, their metabolites – particularly isothiocyanates – have significant cancer-fighting potential due to their ability to induce phase 2 detoxification enzymes. These beneficial enzymes have been shown to promote the elimination of potential carcinogens from the body.

In this study, broccoli sprouts and red radish sprouts were the ultimate anti-cancer champions, but also kale sprouts showed significant anti-cancer potential. By contrast, sprouts of choy sum, mizuna, black mustard, komatsuna senposai, bok choy, Japanese turnip, tatsoi, and Chinese cabbage were found to have relatively weak anti-cancer potential.

A Powerhouse of Vitamin C

You may already know that vitamin C can help keep your immune system healthy. But thanks to its antioxidant properties and its ability to stimulate collagen production, vitamin C can also help keep your skin supple and your bones strong. Most edible seedlings of Brassica vegetables, including kale sprouts and kale microgreens, are packed with vitamin C.

However, there seems to be quite some differences in the vitamin C content between different Brassica sprouts. According to a study presented at the International Conference on Food Innovation in 2010, broccoli and Portuguese Penca kale sprouts, for example, had significantly more vitamin C than Portuguese Galega kale sprouts. This study also revealed that if you're looking to get the most vitamin C out of your kale sprouts or microgreens, it is best to harvest them when they are around 15-16 days old as this is when their vitamin C levels peak.

About Growing Your Own Kale Sprouts at Home

Even though they've been gaining popularity across the US and UK due to their potential health benefits, kale sprouts are still relatively difficult to find in the supermarkets. Therefore, if you're looking to add these potentially cancer-fighting mini-greens into your diet, you may have no option but to grow your own. To get started, buy a sprouting kit and some organic kale seeds labeled 'for sprouting' (Tip: If you buy a sprouting kit from or via these affiliate links, you will not only get the great Amazon prices, but you will also be supporting

If you're hesitating to grow sprouts at home due to the risk of E. coli and other pathogenic bacteria contaminating your sprout crop, you may want to grow kale microgreens instead. As opposed to sprouts, microgreens need sunlight and good air circulation to grow, which in turn reduces the risk of pathogens contaminating the plants. For instructions on how to grow (kale) microgreens at home, check out's article How to Grow Microgreens Indoors.