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8 Benefits Of Kale That Will Surprise You (+Healthy Recipes)

8 Benefits Of Kale That Will Surprise You (+Healthy Recipes)

From t-shirts exclaiming “Kale Yeah!” to Brooklyn brunch menus offering eclectic kale frittatas, this super food has come a long way in the past decade. The hipster-hype surrounding kale has given this cruciferous vegetable the popularity needed to charm its way into smoothies, juices, salads, and the hearts of veg-heads everywhere. Aside from being a socially endorsed food, kale also has a long list of health benefits. Read on to learn about how the many benefits of kale can invigorate your health.

1. Kale helps with weight loss

If there’s one food you should add to your diet in preparation for swimsuit season, it’s kale. Despite being low in calories, kale is rich in your body’s favorite nutrients, like Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, and Potassium (to name a few). These vitamins maintain your body’s internal composition, giving you cleaner energy and a balanced appetite.

Kale also contains protein and fiber—two very necessary nutrients for weight loss. Adding kale into your diet can increase volume without compromising calorie intake, making you feel fuller on less food.

Calcium is another nutrient that’s present in kale, which is great since calcium has been linked to considerable fat burning in several studies. Next time you go to pack your lunch, try swapping out the potato chips for some kale chips.

2. Kale helps with vision

You’ve probably been told that eating your vegetables is good for your eyesight, but is it actually true? It is for kale. The vegetable is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two notorious defenders of ocular health. Incorporating kale into your diet can significantly lower your risk of developing age-related eye disorders while also preserving the quality of your vision. Hold the cataracts and bifocals—more kale, please.

3. Kale has tons of vitamins

Because of the way many foods are processed, frozen, and cooked, many minerals and vitamins get filtered out. As a result, most people have a deficiency of at least one vitamin, if not several vitamins. Kale is an excellent source of these vitamins, containing well beyond the recommended daily amount in Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.

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It’s also a great source of calcium, magnesium, and several other nutrients our body needs. When you’re consuming a sufficient amount of these nutrients, your immune system is stronger and your body performs better. Instead of taking a handful of vitamins everyday, just eat kale on a regular basis (it’s cheaper than buying those vitamins!).

4. Kale contains cancer-fighting agents

In an age where almost every product and food is somehow linked to cancer, how can we protect ourselves from getting sick? One of the best things we can do is consume a diet that makes our bodies inhospitable for cancer. Such a diet might include low pesticide fruits, low hormone meat, and kale, kale, kale.

This superfood is packed with compounds, such as sulforaphane, that fight cancer at the earliest molecular level. Many of the same cancer-fighting agents are also found in other vegetables from the cabbage family, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Including one of these vegetables in a meal 4–5 times each week will work to improve your health and prevent future sickness.

5. Kale naturally detoxes your body

If you’ve ever been interested in doing a detox program, you probably know how expensive they can be. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a chemical detox, try eating a large amount of kale for a couple of weeks. Perhaps one of the most compelling benefits of kale is how it detoxes cells within the body. We’re constantly coming in contact with toxins through both our food and our environments, and our body has a natural detoxing process that breaks up and flushes those toxins out.

The high sulfur content in kale as well as the isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from kale’s glucosinolates support that detox regulation function of cells within our body. By boosting your kale intake, you can naturally “rev up” your body’s detox response naturally while flushing out toxins.

6. Kale helps lower cholesterol

One of the main functions of cholesterol within the body is creating bile acids. These help us digest fats after we splurge on that greasy burger or pizza, and our body reuses the bile acids after all the fat from a meal has been absorbed. These bile acids are performing a digestive function and absorbing the fat, but after the bile acids have done their job, they’re returned into the bloodstream, making the cholesterol level within the body rise (this is one reason why a fatty diet leads to high cholesterol).

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Kale has a high number of bile acid sequestrants, which keep the bile acids in the digestive system rather than getting reabsorbed into the bloodstream. This means that eating more kale will result in more bile acid sequestrants to bind the bile acids, which will then result in lower cholesterol over time. Hooray!

7. Kale makes you pretty

Want to achieve that natural glow? Try adding kale into your daily diet—it’ll boost and brighten your appearance from the inside out. Kale is extremely high in beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A. This fuels the production of bodily tissues and sebum, which replenish old cells and keep new ones hydrated.

The end result? Beautiful hair, clear and hydrated skin, and strong nails without having to break the bank on expensive vitamins.

8. Kale is easy to cook with

If you’re new to kale, you’re probably not thrilled at the thought of eating a cold, crunchy leaf. The good news is that kale has incredible cooking versatility! It can be incorporated into nearly every dish, contributes a non-intrusive but full flavor, and is sure to satisfy your hunger.

Enjoy the benefits of kale while tickling your taste buds with one of these easy recipes.

Kale Smoothie with Pineapple

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    Kickstart your day in 5 minutes with this tasty and simple smoothie! The kale in this recipe will provide the fuel you need to make it to lunchtime while satisfying all your taste buds.

    Kale, Potato, and Onion Frittata

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      With less than 150 calories per serving, you can have a guilt-free brunch and go for that second mimosa. Host brunch at your house next weekend and try this easy and delicious recipe!

      Kale Ricotta Dip

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        You’ve heard of spinach artichoke dip, but have you tried kale ricotta dip? You can have just as much flavor and less than half the calories with this recipe. Grab some pita chips and say hello to your new favorite appetizer.

        Sausage Pizza topped with Crispy Kale

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          The easiest fancy pizza you’ll ever make. This dish is as aesthetically pleasing as it is delicious-eating your vegetables never looked so good.

          Kale and Pink Grapefruit Salad

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            This refreshing citrus and kale salad will invigorate your work day. It’s satisfying and simple, and you can make it your own by adding your favorite toppings or pairing it with a side of toast.

            Image Credits: Kale Smoothie, Citrus via Pixabay; Kale Frittata via John Valiant; Kale Dip via Popsugar Photography, Leta Shy; Kale Pizza via Kelli Foster

            Featured photo credit: Kale Varieties via pixabay.com

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            Last Updated on September 18, 2020

            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

            Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

            Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

            1. Exercise Daily

            It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

            If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

            Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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            If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

            2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

            Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

            One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

            This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

            3. Acknowledge Your Limits

            Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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            Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

            Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

            4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

            Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

            The basic nutritional advice includes:

            • Eat unprocessed foods
            • Eat more veggies
            • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
            • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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            Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

              5. Watch Out for Travel

              Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

              This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

              If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

              6. Start Slow

              Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

              If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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              7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

              Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

              My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

              If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

              I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

              Final Thoughts

              Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

              Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

              More Tips on Getting in Shape

              Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

              Reference

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