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Could too much kale be harmful to your health?

Karen Miner is the Food & Home Editor for SheKnows. She is a freelance writer, recipe developer and is also the cook, author and photographer behind the food blog, Tasty Trials, a collection of original recipes and stories. She and her h...

Talk about a kale backlash. Is it possible the leafy greens are bad for you? Science says "maybe"

If you’ve yet to jump onto the kale bandwagon, you may have been unknowingly doing yourself a favor.

Salon called our attention to a recent Craftsmanship magazine article in which Ernie Hubbard, an alternative medicine researcher and molecular biologist, noticed a trend among his Marin County, California, patients. Many otherwise healthy people reportedly complained to Hubbard about such problems as chronic fatigue, hair loss, digestive problems, gluten sensitivity, arrhythmias and other symptoms that normally wouldn’t be associated with generally healthy people.

Hubbard eventually realized the unifying factor in all his health food-loving patients: kale consumption. Lots of it.

More: 5 Kale recipes even the biggest skeptics will love

But before you toss all your kale into the compost bin, take comfort in the knowledge that you have to eat a lot of it to be negatively affected.

After testing and analyzing their urine samples and finding thallium (that's a highly toxic heavy metal that can be used as poison, in layman's terms) levels at seven times higher than the “threshold” limit, he told Craftsman he had an epiphany: "It suddenly hit me. I thought, 'Oh, my God!'" He started testing kale (and other cruciferous vegetables) and found more thallium showing up. Hubbard is now researching how such toxic levels of thallium are getting into the soil.

More: Kale just invaded skin care with this veggie-infused face serum

Good news for kale fans: Hubbard’s antidote is to just not eat that much kale. He advised one of his patients, who dubbed herself the “cabbage queen,” to cut back on her consumption. And just like magic, her thallium levels dropped, and her other symptoms improved.

The moral of the story may just be that all good things need to be consumed in moderation. (Just like chocolate, wine or ice cream, you have to know when to stop — and if you're comparing kale to chocolate, then you probably really love kale and definitely need this reminder.)

And right now, I'm feeling slightly smug in my decision to dislike the leafy green since it took the foodie world by storm several years ago.

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