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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 September 10, 2019

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

1. Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

Gratitude-Quotes

    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

    write down goals

      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

      6. Rise Earlier

      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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