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Why No One Should Overlook Kale

Why No One Should Overlook Kale

Kale might seem like the ugly step-sister of the crucifers — especially with superstars like broccoli and cauliflower in the family!  But this leafy green is a veritable powerhouse of nutrients and health benefits that make it a true superfood.

For sure, you should make sure you’re not overlooking this great vegetable. Whenever you eat kale…

You are Getting an Incredible Variety of Vitamins and Minerals

Kale, according to the USDA, is incredibly nutrient-dense. Just one cup of this amazing leafy green, and you will be getting 24 calories, 1 gram of protein, 1 gram of carbohydrates and a half-gram of fiber. But now check out what you’ll be packing away in regards to vitamins and minerals:

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  • Calcium, 24 mg
  • Potassium, 79 mg
  • Phosphorous, 15 mg
  • Vitamin C, 19 mg
  • Folate, 23 mg
  • Vitamin K, 1598 IU

In short, high-quality foods like kale are a great way to fill some of the “nutrient gaps” that are especially common in the American diet — which relies so much on prepackaged foods.

You are also Getting a Boatload of Antioxidants

It’s not just a ton of vitamins and minerals you’re getting. Kale also provides powerful antioxidants that work in many ways to improve your general health. Kale is rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin C (which also helps build collagen for healthy joints and beautiful, young-looking skin) as well as flavonoids like quercetin, which have been shown to decrease blood pressure, fight off viral infections and even help with depression.

Another important antioxidant to note is lutein, which can improve the health of your eyes and help reduce the risk of serious eye diseases like macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

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In short, eating kale on a regular basis is a great way to load up on disease-fighting antioxidants.

You Are Improving Your Cholesterol Levels

High cholesterol is a real problem in America and is a major risk factor for both heart and attacks and strokes. But fortunately, apart from medication, there are natural ways to get cholesterol down to a healthy level. One of those ways is a diet rich in fruits and veggies, especially veggies like kale. Kale contains compounds that actually prevent cholesterol from being absorbed into the body — and this can help prevent it from building up in arteries and causing problems later on.

One study found that men with high cholesterol levels who consumed kale juice daily for 12 weeks were able to raise their good cholesterol up by 27% while at the same time lowering bad cholesterol by 11%, which meant a significant improvement in heart health!

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You are Reducing Cancer Risk, Too

Most people worry about cancer — and with good reason, as it remains the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. That’s the bad news.

The good news? It is possible to reduce the risk of many forms of cancer through lifestyle changes — including the diet. Kale, like cabbage and broccoli, is particularly good at this. For one thing, it contains sulforophane, which has been shown to fight against the formation of cancer cells.  It also contains indole-3-carbinol, better known as 1-3-C, which has gotten a lot of attention lately because of its ability to help treat breast cancer.

So for one little cup of kale, you are getting a whole wealth of health benefits. If you eat it regularly, you can improve your heart health, reduce cancer risk and load up on the vitamins and minerals your body needs for general health. It is also incredibly easy to add to your diet; kale goes well in smoothies (seriously), in salads, and even in casseroles and pasta or rice dishes.

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So, try some awesome kale recipes today and start giving your body some serious TLC!

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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