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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 January 11, 2021

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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2. Stress Relief

Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

3. Improved Sleep

Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

4. Appetite Control

Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

7. Mosquito Repellant

Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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8. Pain Relief

While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

9. The New Anti-Viral

Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

10. Improved Cognitive Function

Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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11. Money Saving

With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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