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10 Super Health Benefits of Kale You Didn’t Know About

10 Super Health Benefits of Kale You Didn’t Know About

How do you like your kale? Green or purple, curly or straight? This dark, leafy vegetable has lots of varieties, so you are spoiled for choice. It is a distinguished member of the Brassica oleracea family and is a close relative of cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. But more important, there many health benefits of kale you probably do not know about. Here are my top ten.

1. It has loads of iron

Topping the list of health benefits of kale is iron. You might be surprised that kale has been called the “new beef”—it’s because kale has more iron than beef. If you do not have enough iron in your diet, you are at risk of suffering from anemia, fatigue and poor mental function in your teenage years. You can get all the iron you need from kale, and never have to worry about eating all that meat.

2. It helps you reduce LDL cholesterol

It is fascinating to read about scientists who are doing research on how kale and other green vegetables can help reduce LDL cholesterol in your system. The bile acids are a key factor because they are kicked into action when you digest kale. When these bile acids are excreted, cholesterol levels are lowered.

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3. It gives 10% of your daily omega-3

As we know, omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients. There are two elements in the omega-3 mix: DHA and EPA. They help to prevent heart disease and cancer. The DHA component is vital for preventing depression, dementia, and schizophrenia.

You could eat lots of fish, but that can be toxic if it has been polluted with mercury and PCBs. The best alternative is to stock up on kale. You never have to worry about it being toxic.

4. It may help prevent cataracts

I once visited an ophthalmologist for an eye check-up. She told me that it was disconcerting to note how many more cases of cataracts there are in middle-aged people. She did not know the reason for this.

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But a correct diet can help prevent your vision from deteriorating. Did you know that the dark green kale leaves contain both lutein and zeaxanthin? These are important nutrients which may protect you against cataracts and macular degeneration, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

5. It helps you lose weight

The secret to weight loss is to increase your intake of foods which are low in calories and have loads of nutrients.

Kale leads the pack of healthy vegetables because it has only 33 calories in one cup. You also get loads of vitamins, fiber, and vitamin C as a bonus.

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6. It contains 45 flavonoids

Flavonoids get a lot of attention these days. The reason is that they have two important functions. They have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which help prevent most types of cancer. The good news is that kale contains 45 flavonoids.

7. It can help you detox

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, kale contains glucosinolates which are full of sulphur nutrients. These can help the liver function more effectively by activating the detoxification enzymes. These are essential when you need to detox. Kale has 67 of these glucosinolates, just behind Brussels sprouts, which tops the list with 104.

8. Kale recipes are not boring

It was a joy to discover Dr. Drew Ramsey and Jennifer Iserloh’s book Fifty Shades of Kale: 50 Fresh and Satisfying Recipes That Are Bound to Please. You can make kale soup with sausage and white beans, kale smoothies, zucchini and kale bites. If you really want to indulge, you can try the kale and black cherry sorbet!

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9. Kale has the calcium you need

Did you know that kale has more calcium than milk? One study showed that kale was better than milk and other vegetables in helping women absorb their daily dose of calcium.

This is a great boon for those who may be lactose intolerant. Getting the right dose of calcium is so important in preventing bone loss, especially as we age.

10. Kale is the number-one veggie

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C, kale comes out as the top vegetable from a list of 84! We can see why, as it has so many things going for it. One cup of raw kale has 5 grams of fiber, 0 grams of fat, and 3 grams of protein, as well as being chock-full of minerals and vitamins.

Featured photo credit: Homemade Organic Green Kale Chips with salt and oil via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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