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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

      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

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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 November 20, 2020

            Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits

            Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits

            Benjamin Franklin said it like this: “Early to bed, early to rise, will make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” He knew from his own experiences and watching others that the ones who got up early were healthier and more successful. That’s why a morning workout can be so important.

            One 2017 study found that:[1]

            “after controlling for such factors as age, sex, smoking habits, and others…night owls, were found to have a 10 percent greater risk of dying from any cause compared to morning types.”

            This is a great reason to tap into some morning motivation and get your morning workout done.

            Circadian Rhythm for morning workout

              As you can see in the above graph, your blood pressure begins to rise between 6 and 7 in the morning[2]. That means this is a great time to get your body moving and your heart pumping, even if it’s just for 20 minutes of exercise in the morning. 

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              Here are some tips on how to find the motivation for a morning workout.

              1. Remember Your Why

              It starts with remembering why you want to get up for a morning workout. If you don’t set a goal and establish your reasons for accomplishing a health and fitness goal, then you definitely won’t get up early.

              Getting up early isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would do it, right? Your goal for your health and fitness must be so strong, and the WHY behind it must be so powerful, that nothing will stop you from accomplishing that goal.

              2. Go to Bed Early

              If you want to get up early for a morning workout, it’s going to be important to get to bed earlier. Falling asleep at midnight and trying to get up at six just won’t work in your favor.

              This will likely be very difficult for a few days while you adjust your sleeping habits. However, as you get into an exercise routine in the morning, this will naturally make it easier to fall asleep earlier and faster at night.

              3. Make a Commitment

              I sometimes tell my Facebook community of my plans to work out, and we all keep each other motivated by posting our runs, our workouts, etc. This is a way to develop accountability. By publicly announcing your intentions, you increase your chances of actually carrying out your plans.

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              Another way to do this is to find an accountability partner who has similar goals for morning workouts. You can check in with each other to make sure you’re sticking to your plans. If that doesn’t work, hire a personal trainer for a few weeks to get you started.  

              You can learn how to find a good accountability partner here.

              4. Find a Friend

              If you can find a friend that is motivated like you are, and you can hold each other accountable daily to working out, then you will accomplish your fitness goals. Many people prefer working out with friends to working out alone. Whether it’s a chat while hitting the treadmill at the gym, or having someone to spot you while weightlifting, working out with friends is sometimes just more enjoyable.

              Texting each other the night before with a simple statement is best. Don’t ask: “Are we still working out in the morning?” With this kind of question, if they were thinking about not working out, you just gave them an opt out.

              Make a statement instead: “Can’t wait to see you in the morning!” This implies that they will be there, and they will feel more obligated to show up.

              5. Treat Yourself

              We all have to treat ourselves every now and then. After a morning workout, plan to treat yourself with a colorful, healthy breakfast or a delicious morning smoothie. This will help you look forward to something and push through to the end of your workout.

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              You can learn more on rewards and punishments here.

              6. Change your Mindset

              Many people throw away the idea of a morning workout by simply saying, “I’m not a morning person.”  Instead of using this excuse, decide to try to become a morning person by shifting your mindset.

              When you look into the benefits of waking up early and getting some exercise in before your day starts, you’ll feel more positive about your life overall.

              7. Plan Your Day

              You know you’re going to be busy. Try time blocking to plan all the things you need to do on a given day, and make sure you add in your morning workout[3]. If you have a plan laid out, you’ll be more likely to follow it and get done everything on your list done.

              Time blocking

                8. Reflect on How You’ll Feel After

                Starting a morning workout is hard, but visualizing how you’ll feel after can help you find motivation. Think about the extra energy you’ll have and how proud you’ll feel knowing that you were already so productive. No matter what you do the rest of the day, at least you squeezed in your exercise!

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                For me, I live in an area where there are a lot of runners. When I am heading home in the evening or sitting out on the patio at one of my favorite restaurants, and I see the runners go by, it makes me feel so accomplished that I got mine in that morning and I can enjoy the evening.

                9. Lay out Your Workout Clothes

                Setting out your workout clothes the night before makes it impossible for you to start to run late because you couldn’t find something to wear. Tap into the determination you have before bed in order to convince your less-than-motivated morning self that you need to get up and get your morning workout in. When you wake up and see your outfit laid out next to you, it’ll push you to get up and get moving.

                10.  Set Multiple Alarms

                Many people miss their morning workout simply because they hit the snooze button so many times. In order to make this more difficult for yourself, set a series of alarms. That way, if you keep hitting snooze, you’ll have three or four alarms going off every ten minutes, which will be annoying enough to get you out of bed.

                Also, put one alarm at least a few feet from your bed so that you’re forced to get up to turn it off.

                Final Thoughts

                About three years ago I went from being the person that says I will never be an early riser to a person that loves to get the day started as soon as possible. Without the distractions that begin to come around 8 or 9 in the morning, you’ll find that you’re more productive and more likely to squeeze in that morning workout.

                Take some of the actions above and find the best morning workout routine to start your day and feel good.

                More Tips on Morning Exercises

                Featured photo credit: Tomasz Woźniak via unsplash.com

                Reference

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