Kale Allergy | Allergy

Kale Allergy

by Allergy Guy

Kale allergy is rare but not unheard of.  Several people have reported a suspected kale allergy on this site.

It is possible to become allergic to almost anything of course, but some allergies are more common than others.  Most allergies are suffered when people are highly exposed to the food.  Some people report allergies to kale the first time they eat it.  This does not fit the usual pattern of an allergy, but does not necessarily rule out an allergy either.

A more likely scenario is that someone became sick at the same time as trying the new food, and their body now associates that food with getting sick.  This is not the same as an allergy.  It is also possible that something else with the suspected food is causing the reaction.

Here are a couple of reports from people who think they have an allergy to kale:

I happen to love kale, but if I eat it, I suffer (from 8-24 hours later) severe cramps, chills, diarrhea, nausea, exhaustion….I feel like I have the flu. I get none of these symptoms from anything else in the kale family. And it doesn’t matter if it’s cooked, raw, baked, whatever. -Susie

I’ve eaten kale twice in my life. I made baked kale crisps and woofed them down one evening. Within hours I was nauseous, had stomach/intestinal cramps, achy muscles, and a fever of 101 degrees. A few weeks later I ate some kale in the school cafeteria and soon after experienced severe intestinal pains, achy muscles, and a fever of 100 degrees. Because I never get sick I was able to narrow down the reason I was sick was due to eating kale!!! Crazy. I’ve never heard of a kale allergy, but it’s good knowing others have experienced the same thing.  -Jean

Brassica Oleracea

Kale is a member of the Brassica oleracea species. This includes the following cultivars:

  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Collard Greens
  • Savoy
  • Kohlrabi
  • Gai Lan

If you feel you are allergic to one of these but not others, it is unlikely you have an allergy.

What is your experience with kale allergy?  Did you eat kale for a long time and then develop a kale allergy? What else are you allergic too?  Please leave a comment and share your experience.




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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Reagan Cardwell February 4, 2020 at 15:19

After more than a decade of kale as part of my daily diet, I had a reaction to stewed kale. Swelling of the membranes in my mouth, my tongue, and swelling of my extremIties, and difficulty breathing. This has been repeatable. If I eat cooked kale for my evening meal, it also causes me to wake several times at night, gasping for air. I narrowed it down to the kale through process of elimination. The only other food that causes a reaction like this is crab, which was discovered about 35 years previously. It, too, had been a frequent part of my diet (as a child, though).


2 donna stegman January 13, 2020 at 02:25

I had a bad reaction to broccoli (itchy throat, itchy lips and horrible stomach cramps) 28 years ago when I was pregnant, after eating it all my life. Then a year ago I tried a kale salad and had an immediate reaction with the first bite! Itchy lips, throat and nose..I quickly spit the rest out but I could feel my tongue getting thicker and lips swelled. I quickly grabbed benadryl and took a big drink. It didn’t get any worse, but took a couple of hours and another big dose of benadryl to feel better. Im very careful when eating out, but I had a salad a month ago out and felt the same thing after a bite of romaine and found out that the salad had bits of kale in it, I hadn’t even eaten any, just cross contaminated. I now avoid all the veggies in this class. Does anyone know what causes this allergy to pop up?


3 Sharon August 20, 2018 at 13:10

3 years ago I did a week long Kale smoothie bing; I developed hives and a rash. Discontinued Kale and avoided for 2 years. Inadvertently consumed baby Kale in a Ceaser salad; my throat Turned red, broke our a rash and started to feel like cotton balls in my throat. Went to urgent care as I couldn’t swallow. They administered an epic pen, script for prednisone and said stay away from Kale. It’s bad …. one other occurrence put me in ER and two epi pen injections to counter act. It’s scary as it is everywhere now … mixed greens, soups , etc. I am not allergic to anything else …. so odd.


4 Ben July 31, 2018 at 08:17

If I eat raw kale, I get a bit of a sore throat and feel like my glands are up a bit. Also get slight cramps/congested feeling in the stomach. It’s not severe, but enough to notice it. Doesn’t happen with any other leafy greens I eat so I try and avoid it – it’s a shame because nutrition wise it’s supposed to be a powerhouse!


5 Julie June 21, 2018 at 16:19

I am truly allergic to kale. I had a blood drawn for a food panel after an allergy skin test. My panel indicates an allergy to kale but not cauliflower or broccoli. My allergies developed as a result of taking a protein pump inhibitor for 4 years and a true gluten allergy. My immunologist/allergist has me on a restricted diet and allergy shots. He said once my intestines heal I may be able to tolerate foods like kale again. I learned that immune cells have a memory and my gut can take up to 10 years to heal.


6 Aby June 15, 2018 at 13:41

I have been eating kale in the form of smoothie (almond milk + kale + spinach + flax seed meal + peanut better) for the last one and half months. For the last one week, I have been developing severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and an unbearable nausea and vomiting whenever I drink this smoothie. I have eliminated the other ingredients by trying them separately or in other dishes. But I haven’t had Kale in any other way. I don’t necessarily like Kale but it’s such a good source of antioxidants and minerals that I feel bad. Any suggestions?


7 Kerrilyn June 9, 2018 at 18:28

I am one of those unfortunante people with a kale allergy. When I eat it I get itchy and puffy and break out in hives. Actually I dont even need to eat it to get a reaction even if I touch it my body starts to react.antihistamines dont overally help either.


8 Elise May 10, 2018 at 01:07

Looks like I’m in the same boat as most everyone here.
Had become sick from majorly overindulging in kale smoothies some years back, & have limited my intake since then. Last night I ate a huge raw kale salad & thought nothing of it. Next thing I know, the entirety of today I’ve been sick with identical symptoms to Susie from your article, & couldn’t possibly figure out how that could be. Just now got sick again with next to no warning & it reminded me of how my life was when I was overdoing the kale smoothies: instantaneous surprise vomits!
Well, that solved it. And it looks like I’m not the only one with this “allergy”, if that’s what it is. Good luck, friends!


9 Lori April 5, 2018 at 23:22

Hi. I just tasted my first Kale about two months ago and fell in love with the taste and texture. I have only eaten raw and was in a salad blend. I have been eating raw kale about once or twice a week. It appears that every time I eat it, I end up with canker sores all over my mouth. My husband and I realized this evening that I got canker sores again tonight within minutes of eating Kale salad. I’m allergic to tree nuts and have irritation with many fruits, including tomatoes. I do not have any reaction to broccoli or cauliflower. I’m sure this isn’t normal for most people. Just wondering if any one else has reported this type of issue after eating raw Kale.


10 Johanna March 10, 2018 at 01:43

I have eaten kale before. Today I ate more than I ysually do, Now 12 hrs later I am understanding that it is the kale that got me really sick.5


11 emily piescki February 18, 2018 at 10:00

I’m allergic to kale but no other cultivar of Brassica Oleracea. When I eat kale raw or cooked my throat get very irritated and swells a lot; my eyes water, and my sinuses and ears feel like they or burning and itchy. I feel it only a few moments after eating it, without medication this can last hours and its really scary and uncomfortable. Which is unfortunate because I love kale…


12 Lisa June 27, 2018 at 14:31

Me too! Exact same reaction all 3 times.


13 Kathleen January 29, 2018 at 06:35

I forgot to mention that my energy levels have desperately plummeted and my pain levels have increased. I thought it was because I quit Vicodin this past year. I’ve gotten off all medications. Anyway, I can hardly function these days. I kept thinking it was flare up with Fibro/Chronic Fatigue, but now I’m wondering because it’s become so bad (with no stressors, etc.). I’ve been going round and round trying to figure out what’s going on. Kale allergy? Hmmmm……thank you for informative article so I can check and see.


14 Kathleen January 29, 2018 at 06:27

I have been consuming large amounts (4 cups or more a day) in my smoothies for the past year. I had 2 kidney stone surgeries so wanted to stay away from spinach. I have changed my diet to organic, little chicken, rarely beef and some dairy (no milk). I had some excema on my heels for about 4 years, not terrible, but bothersome. The rashes there changed, spread to my toes, and now my arms from elbow down are constant with small hives. The dermatologist said she thinks my foot rashes are psoriasis. The rashes changed dramatically. The itching is insane! I can’t sleep much because of it. Hydrocortisone treatment isn’t helping. The itching/hives? seem to be spreading. It’s taking over my life. I have weaned myself off my BP med and Tramadol (for Fibromyalgia) which I’ve taken since 1999, thinking these meds might be causing the problem. Anyway, now reading about eating too much kale has me thinking this might be the cause. Things escalated since I’ve been doing my 2 daily smoothies. I’ve also gained weight, especially around my middle, where I’ve never experienced it before! I’m going to quit the kale and see what happens. I should have known~you can have reactions if you eat too much of any one thing. Feedback? I’m reading also that broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sprouts may be a problem (?). Of course, I wouldn’t put those in a smoothie, but I eat a lot of these, as well.


15 Irene October 19, 2017 at 00:39

I have eaten kale, raw or cooked, and I love it. Yesterday I cleaned up around the kale in my garden – cut off old leaves, harvested some new. I had gloves on and my hands were find but the skin above the gloves broke out in large hives and a few oozing blisters. It was scary. Now I am afraid to eat kale. I cannot find anywhere if curly leaf kale has irritants in its curly margin tips. I would like to know – I found one post of a person who had the same thing happen but there were no follow-ups on that site.


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