The Benefits of Eating Kale

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Kale is one of the most overlooked vegetables in the world. People have been using it as garnishes for other dishes for as long as I can remember. Its usually the last thing left in the dish waiting to be disposed of. Kale happens to be a super food. It has been used for over 2000 years in Europe brought to popularity during Roman times and the Middle Ages. It only came to the U.S. in the 17th Century.

Facts about Kale:
1. A serving of Kale has more absorbable calcium than a carton of milk!Who would have thought that this green leafy food would be a calcium powerhouse.

2. Kale give more bang for your buck in the Vitamin department. One cup of raw kale has only 30 calories and contains more than 600% of Vitamin K, 205% of Vitamin A, 135% of Vitamin C, PLUS Iron, Fiber, Magnesium, Copper, Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Folate, Omega 3s, and 2 grams of protein. Yes, I said PROTEIN!

3. Kale belongs to the cabbage family and is related to not only cabbage, but brussel sprouts and collard greens. All of these vegetables possess phytonutrients which reduce inflammation, reduce certain types of cancers, such as: colon cancer and prostate cancer. It improves the livers ability to detox and helps protect your brain cells by reducing stress. Kale is AWESOME for a healthy mind and body.

4. Kale has no fat and no cholesterol. It’s loaded with beneficial anti-oxidants that help protect your cells from free radical damage. Free radical damage is basically daily aging of our bodies. As your cells break down, this process causes us to age. Kale fights against that along with other high antioxidant foods.

5. Kale contains Zea-xanthin, an important dietary nutrient that gets absorbed into the the rental macula lute in the eyes where it provides antioxidant and protect e light filtering functions. It helps prevent retinal detachment and offers protection against age related macular degeneration in the elderly.

6. Kale is best after the first frost when all the starches in this green leafy veggie begin turning into sugar. Although I love it just about anytime of year.

7. Kale comes in a variety of colors and textures. Try them all to see which ones you like best.

Want to add kale to your diet? Here is a good resource for Kale recipes. Enjoy!

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Healthy Diet

A good thing to start practicing is having a healthy diet. When we hear the word “diet” we immediately start to think of weight loss, and fad diets. But with a healthy diet you may not need to think about it in those terms. A healthy diet will keep you healthy and feeling great. I recently watched a show that was telling about all these so-called healthy meals we eat from restaurants may not be as healthy as you think. Always know what you are eating and do your research if you can. Find out exactly what you are eating. Here are a few more things you can do to live healthy and have a healthy diet:

  • Incorporate fish into your diet at least twice a week
  • Choose fat free whenever possible
  • Stay clear of hydrogenated oils
  • Buy lean meats and skinless poultry
  • Know and limit your fats
  • Eliminate the sugary beverages
  • Always read food labels

Food is your source of energy and life. You should think of it like your body is a vehicle and food is your fuel (gas). Put in the best and it runs great! A healthy diet will help your mind, body and soul. Get more information from the American Heart Association and find out how to read food labels.

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What’s your healthy weight?

With so much emphasis on being slim and trim, it is important to remember that you need to maintain a healthy weight. Being fit and healthy doesn’t mean being skinny. Many teens and young adults confuse the two. They will think that healthy means being razor thin and this leads to so many troubles they are having now when dealing with health and nutrition.

This is a great BMI (Body Mass Index) to start off with to give you a general idea of your category.  If you know what you should be weighing it’s a good chance you can reach and maintain your goals. Simply looking in the mirror is not a good determination of when you are healthy. Being too thin can have some negative effects just as being overweight does. I found this great healthy weight calculator from weight watchers. This will let you know where you need be to a healthy normal weight. If you are your normal weight and are still bothered by your body, try toning up. Once you gain some muscle you may start to notice you are happier with your body. Exercising has so many benefits, you are sure to feel and look better in no time!!

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Health and Lifestyle

Over this past weekend, some was talking to me about choices we have in life. They said that the choices we make are rather a forethought that we simply let happen. The analogy they made was that our lives resemble water, it rolls down a hill and takes the path of least resistance where it puddles up at the end. It is in that puddle where we actually stop for a mere second to think about the choice we just made. However when we actually take the time to think about our decision before we meander down the hill (like the water), the results of our choices can be dramatic.

Physical well being is a matter of concern to everyone I know, and if it is not it should be. The level of health we enjoy largely depends on the lifestyles we lead. Insufficient activity and poor eating habits can, and often do, lead to to a variety of health issues, making our lifestyle change, usually not for the better. The key to not allowing this to happen lies in us actually taking the time to make those small everyday decisions and making good healthy choices, knowing that they will indeed impact our lives down the road, if not today.

Ways of making a difference in your life and getting yourself on the track may be adding more physical activity into your life, eating foods that are good for you, and eating them more often, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Getting more physical

If you are anything like me, you barely have enough time to run to the bathroom when you need too, so squeezing physical activity into your daily routine may seem unlikely. Taking advantage of small opportunities can make a big difference.

  • Park farther back in a parking lot so you have to walk further.
  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator in the mall or at the office.
  • Standing at your desk for short periods instead of sitting helps increase circulation in the lower part of your body.
  • Invest in a pedometer. A pedometer measures the the number of steps you take during your day. Take a count each day of how many steps you take each day and mark it on your calendar and then try to increase that each day.
  • Aerobic exercise gets your heart pumping and increases your blood oxygen level. It also will help you control your weight. Studies have shown that all you need is 30 minutes per day to provide amazing health results. Walking, biking, dancing, swimming and gardening are great choices.
  • Change your thought pattern, housework/yardwork = exercise. Think about the calories you burn pushing around that vacuum cleaner or lawn mower.

Eating better

Eating healthier has so many benefits that I can hardly touch on them in this short post. Eating better will make you feel healthier, fuller faster, and increase years to your life! There are so many healthy options now for those of us on the run that really is no excuse to grab that bag of chips.

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the USA. Eating healthier can help lower your chance of being part of those statistics. For an easy guideline to a healthy diet follow the USDA’s guidelines or the American Cancer Societies Diet. They are both quite similar to one another and they focus on a balanced diet loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. These diet guidelines limit fats, sodium and high calorie foods.

While going “cold turkey” on a diet filled with healthy choices is probably not the best way to go, substitute foods that are unhealthy for better choices, but do it slowly. While we have been trained over the years of our lives on how to eat, we cannot expect to change our entire daily menu overnight. The results in health and weight loss and healthy lifestyle will come. From all my research, when we do go “cold turkey” from all those “bad” foods we eat and convert to a better diet we tend to cheat more often and eat more of the bad foods, because we fell we are forbidding ourselves from those foods. If we incorporate those healthy foods slowly, our diets will last longer and we will start feeling better and even shed those unwanted pounds.

Some helpful links and what you may find there

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

  • guide for behavioral changes in lifestyle on their website.
  • BMI calculator that calculates how much fat your body has on it and where you should be based on your age and height.
  • Portion Distortion, how food portions have changed in 20 years.
  • Guide to physical activity, what works and how much of it do you have to do.
  • Educational tutorials, topics include heart and vascular, cholesterol, heart attack, high blood pressure, overweight and physical activities, and sleep disorders
  • Recipe collections, find lots of heart healthy recipes including special collections for Latino cooking, homestyle African American cooking, and the DASH Eating Plan for lowering high blood pressure.

American Heart Association

  • Food Certification Program, build your grocery list online as well as view lists of products screened and proven to meet the AHA’s certification criteria for being low in saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over age 2.
  • Children’s health, information about keeping your child healthy, games and activities for kids to learn more about how their heart works, and resources for children’s exercise and nutrition.
  • Shake your Salt habit, sodium recommendations to help reduce or avoid high blood pressure.
  • Use seasoning instead of table salt, guide to using spices and herbs.

Mayo Clinic

  • Healthy Living, a collection of individual centers addressing the health of babies, children, teens, men, women and seniors, additional canters on pregnancy, stress, fitness, food and nutrition, and weight loss.
  • Healthy recipe Center
  • Dietary Supplements, using Vitamin and mineral supplements wisely.
  • Ingredient substitution, make a switch for healthier eating
  • Fast food, 6 ways to healthier eating and information on how to fit fast into a healthy diet.

American Academy of Pediatrics

  • How common behaviors affect your health.
  • What you can do to keep your health

Across the board, a multifaceted approach is needed in your life to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a manageable weight. Adopting all, or part, of these suggested items will improve the quality of life overall.

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