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The Health Benefits of Kale

Kale is at the forefront of the health revolution, and for good reason. I recommend that everyone consume more of this great green veggie just because it’s so powerful in preventing disease, reducing inflammation and fighting aging. When I started eating kale regularly, I began to see and feel a difference in my body. My strength, energy and immunity increased tremendously. I have to thank kale for that! So, how can kale take your health to a new level?

Benefits of Kale:

Nutritional powerhouse: Kale is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Kale contains manganese, iron, copper and calcium. Additionally, kale contains vitamins A and K, which keep your body healthy, strong and energized.

High in fiber: Kale is high in fiber, which plays an important role in removing waste and toxins from your body. A diet high in fiber can improve skin, regulate blood sugar and assist in healthy weight loss. One cup of cooked kale contains approximately 2.60 grams of fiber and puts you well on your way to reaching the minimum recommendation of 25 grams per day.

Anti-aging: Kale contains powerful antioxidants called carotenoids and flavonoids, which protect your cells from free radicals that cause oxidative damage. A carrot isn’t the only vegetable that will benefit your eyes. Thanks to the high content of vitamin A, kale is said to protect the eyes from macular degeneration as you age.

Healthy fats: Say what? We don’t usually look to greens for healthy fats, but kale is a wonderful source of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). ALA is the omega-3 fatty acid that supports brain health, reduces type 2 diabetes and increases heart health. One cup of kale has 10 percent of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids.

Anti-cancer: Studies continue to prove that kale can fight against the formation of cancerous cells. The same antioxidants that fight aging will help fight cancer caused by free radicals. Additionally, kale, along with cabbage and broccoli, is a brassica vegetable. These vegetables contain large amounts of organic compounds known as glucosinolates, which have proven to be helpful in preventing certain organ-specific cancers.

Strong bones: Kale contains both vitamin K and calcium. This is a great combination because vitamin K ensures that calcium is deposited in your bones where needed, rather than causing calcification which can lead to health problems. Kale also contains vitamin B6, copper and potassium, all of which are important in building strong bones.

How to Incorporate Kale into your meals:

Smoothies – You should be using greens in your smoothies already, if you aren’t already, start using kale!

Salads – Although kale is thicker than mixed greens it is still super delicious in salads and it forces you to slow down chew well.

Sautee – Sauté your kale with a little salt, pepper and olive oil as a side with you lunch or dinner.

Baked – Kale chips are my favorite healthy snack. Try this super simple recipe: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a non-insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Toss kale with olive oil, salt, pepper and your favorite spices and arrange on the baking sheet. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

Make sure its organic kale when possible. Kale is one of those veggies that you'll want purchase organic due to the pesticide, herbicides, and fungicide use. Lastly, when I tell people that they should be eating more greens the reaction is almost always "I don't like eating vegetables, they taste bad". I understand that, however, you get the opportunity to create recipes that work for you. Give yourself some time to get used to eating healthy and you will take yourself later!

Shakera Leigh Halford is a holistic health coach, yoga instructor, fitness instructor and beauty professional. She is passionate about helping women learn how to become the best version of themselves. She teaches women how to balance family, health and beauty though her amazing wellness and weight loss programs.

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