Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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).

Advertising

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

Advertising

green-682620_1280

    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

    363789_frittata_1x1

      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

      kale dip

        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

        Advertising

        sausage-pizza-kale1

          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

          citrus-1150025_1280

            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

            More by this author

            15 Signs You’re Not the Same 20-Something Anymore 8 Benefits Of Kale That Will Surprise You (+Healthy Recipes) Quick And Easy Banana Bread Recipe For Busy Days 5 Popular Hair Color Tones For Spring 2016

            Trending in Food and Drink

            1 15 Flavorful and Healthy Family Meals That are Perfect for Picky Eaters 2 15 Most Effective and Nutritious Healthy Foods to Lose Weight 3 Stock up on These 9 Healthy Snack Foods to Boost Your Brainpower 4 15 Brain Foods You Should Be Eating Regularly to Keep Your Mind Sharp 5 25 Ideas for Delicious and Healthy Lunches You Can Take to Work

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on October 16, 2018

            The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

            The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

            It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

            If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

            One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

            Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

            In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

            Why you can’t sleep through the night

            The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

            Advertising

            Stress

            If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

            Exposure to blue light before sleep time

            We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

            While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

            Eating close to bedtime

            Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

            Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

            Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

            Advertising

            Medical conditions

            In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

            The vicious sleep cycle

            The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

            Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

            You get a bad night’s sleep
            –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
            –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
            –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

              You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

              Advertising

              How to sleep better (throughout the night)

              To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

              1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

              What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

              Here are a few suggestions:

              • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
              • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
              • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
              • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
              • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

              2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

              What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

              • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
              • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
              • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
              • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

              3. Adjust your sleep temperature

              Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

              Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

              Advertising

              Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

              Sleep better form now on

              Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

              I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

              As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

              Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

              Reference

              Read Next