Kale Benefits One And All

kale benefits

Kale, sometimes called ‘the king of greens’, is considered as one of the world’s healthiest foods. It’s packed with various nutrients that support healthy hair, skin, and bones. But kale benefits so much more than just that!

Kale benefits cardiovascular health and enhances digestion as it’s a great source of fiber. Furthermore, this leafy winter vegetable is also packed with:

  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin K
  • Chlorophyll
  • Calcium

How To Love Kale?

Whether you like, love or detest vegetables, I bet there is one or another forms of eating kale that you will enjoy such as:

super food

All Hail Kale!

Put Kale in the ring with spinach and broccoli and you have a good fight! However, if we’re taking bets, I’d put my money on kale for its nutrient density! Not sure where you stand? Check out the top 7 health benefits of kale and let’s see who you decide to cheer on!

Eating Kale Everyday Will Do This To Your Body

Top 7 Health Benefits Of Kale

Kale Contains Vitamin K

Vitamin K1 is known as the coagulation vitamin, since it helps the body’s blood clotting mechanism. Clotting is important because it helps prevent your body from bleeding too much when you are injured.

Also, Kale contains vitamin K2, which is known to activate over 17 proteins. For instance, vitamin K2 activates osteocalcin that is required for bone formation. Therefore, vitamin K improves bone strength

Kale Helps Keep Inflammation At Bay

Although known for its potent source of anti-inflammatory properties, kale also contains a variety of antioxidants which help protect our bodies against cellular damage.

Inflammation is a trigger for diseases and premature aging. However, antioxidants help in counter acting our inevitable daily exposure to oxidative stress.

naturally lower blood pressure

Kale Is Nutrient Dense And Detoxifying

First off, it’s no surprise many people have favored this vegetable as one of the top diseases-fighting food. Afterall, kale protects the heart and lowers blood pressure. In fact, studies have indicated that eating kale can lower cholesterol.

Furthermore, the high values of calcium, potassium, and magnesium in kale also help lower blood pressure as the presence of these chemicals helps counter balance the notorious effects of sodium present in the body which can often lead to high blood pressure.

how to protect your vision

Kale Protects Against Vision Loss

The presence of lutein and zeaxanthin in kale help protect the eye lens and retina. Research also indicates that it also helps in fighting the two common eye diseases; cataracts and macular degeneration.

Additionally, it contains beta-carotene that helps shield the ocular eye tissues from harmful ultraviolet light damage.

improve digestion

Kale Helps With Digestion

This leafy veggie is made from fibrous material. Hence, like other leafy greens, is excellent in aiding digestion. However, if you want to get maximum benefits from kale, it is recommended that you also eat the stems which contain a high quantity of prebiotics.

The stem might be appearing rough when taken raw. However, when sautéed in olive oil, it is delicious and can help you in fighting indigestion in addition to acting as a treat to your health.

how to achieve healthy hair and skin

Kale Helps Maintain Healthy Hair And Skin

Kale is known to be high in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A, which is required by the body. The nutrients available in kale enables all body tissues to grow including the hair and skin. Moreover, it’s also essential for the production of sebum; an oil which keeps the skin moisturized.

Human eyesight, immune, and reproductive functions rely on vitamin A which is present in kale. Cooked kale provides 53.3 milligrams of vitamin C which is required to build and maintain collagen. Collagen is a crucial protein which provides structure for our hair, bones, and skin.

how to cook kale

Kale Can Be Served In A Multitude Of Ways

Kale is a vegetable that you can have a lot of fun with. It can simply be:

  • Chopped up and served in a salad
  • Baked
  • Made into kale chips with the flavor of your choice
  • Steamed
  • Fried
  • Stacked in a sandwich
  • Tossed into soup

Including kale in your diet is one healthy and fun way to stack up on nutrients!

Are You Eating Enough Colour?

Are you Eating Enough Colour

We’ve all heard the phrase “eat your greens”.  But, what we should really be eating is the rainbow.  Phytonutrients come in all different colours—green, yellow-orange, red, blue-purple, and white.  Different colours contain different compounds.  Each of which have unique healing properties.  In order to promote good health eating a variety of colours is crucial.



What Are Phytonutrients?

The term “Phytonutrients” refers to the several thousand healthful, non-nutritive compounds found in plants. These compounds are referred to as “non-nutritive” because they do not supply calories like proteins, carbohydrates, or fats do.

Despite this, they benefit the body in several ways.  Studies show that people who eat more plant foods have reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

In the plant itself, phytonutrients provide many functions.  They protect the plant from pests and environmental stressors, and impart colour and distinctive tastes and smells.

In the human body, phytonutrients;
  • Stimulate enzymes that help the body get rid of toxins
  • Boost the immune system
  • Improve cardiovascular health
  • Promote healthy estrogen metabolism
  • Stimulate the death of cancer cells

This is all pretty powerful stuff!

The Impact Of ‘Colour’

Organic fruits and vegetables are rich sources of phytonutrients.  Same with legumes, herbs/spices, nuts/seeds, and teas.  Aiming for one to two of each colour per day is a healthy goal to strive for.

Darker-coloured plants are generally higher in phytonutrients.  However, fruits and veggies from the white family do have potent contributions to make.

What Do The Different Colours Mean?

red foods

Red foods contain phytonutrients that may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and protect the brain, heart, liver, and immune system.

Examples of red foods:
  • Beets
  • Bell pepper
  • Blood oranges
  • Cranberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit (pink)
  • Goji berries
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
orange foods

Orange foods help protect the immune system, eyes, and skin.  They also reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Examples of orange foods:
  • Apricots
  • Bell pepper
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Papaya
yellow foods

Yellow foods are beneficial because they contain compounds that are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.  They protect the brain, heart and vasculature.  In addition to your eyes, and skin.

Examples of yellow foods:
  • Apples
  • Asian Pears
  • Bananas
  • Bell Peppers
  • Star Fruit
  • Squash
green foods

Green foods contain compounds that are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.  They too protect the brain, heart and vasculature, liver, and skin.  In addition, green foods that help with liver function also help balance hormones.

Examples of green foods:
  • Avocados
  • Asparagus
  • Green Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Okra
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Cucumbers
purple foods

Blue/Purple/Black foods contain compounds that are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.  They too protect the brain, and heart and vasculature.  It’s interesting to note that out of all the colours, this is the category that most people eat the least of.

Too little blue/purple can result in issues with the brain.  This is because these foods protect the brain from damage.  In addition they also promote healthy cognition and memory.
Examples of blue/purple/black foods:
  • Berries
  • Eggplants
  • Figs
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Raisins

White/Tan/Brown foods – When thinking of white/tan/brown foods, processed foods may come to mind.  Foods such as;

  • Bagels
  • Cereals
  • Breads
  • Pastas
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Crackers

Avoid those and focus on foods that are beneficial to your health such as;

nuts and seeds
  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Spices
  • Seeds

The compounds in these earthy coloured foods are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.  Additionally, like green foods, there are certain compounds that can assist with liver and hormone health.

Examples of white/tan/brown foods:
  • Ginger
  • Apples
  • Cacao
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Coffee
  • Coconut
  • Dates
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Tea

Eating by Colour

Easy Ways To Eat Your Colours

Start by observing the colours you eat.  Humans are creatures of habit.  As such we generally tend to eat the same foods over and over again.  This does our body a disservice.

In order to get more phytonutrients into your diet, you are going to have to mix things up!   It has been estimated that 80% of people are missing one or more of the phytonutrient colours in their diet.  Which sounds likely when you think that most people stick to eating processed foods that are brown, yellow, or white.

Think of a typical breakfast menu – waffles, pancakes, ready-to-eat cereal, sausage, and eggs.  This doesn’t provide very many phytonutrients now, does it?  Opting for a fruit smoothie with blueberries, peaches, raspberries and spinach would be way more beneficial. There’s four of the seven colours done for the day.

Click here for “Breakfast On The Go – Mixed Berry Smoothie” recipe.

Note: When implementing this way of eating, keep in mind that fruits contain sugar.  Even though it’s a natural form of sugar, fruits can still spike insulin levels.  As such, be sure to load your cart with heaps of colourful vegetables and just a few fruit.

Click here to read, “Is It Time To Stop Eating Fruit?”

Simple Ways To Jump Start A Phytonutrient Diet

First, make it your goal to try one new plant food (fruit, vegetable, nut, seed or legume) per week.  Explore ethnic stores for greater variety.  Second, stock up on organic frozen vegetables for easy cooking or organic berries as they tend to retain their phytonutrients well.  Third, keep fruits and vegetables where you can see them.  This will help you to remember to eat them.

Next, keep a bowl or container of fresh cut vegetables on the top shelf of refrigerator.  Always within easy reach.  If you must eat something sweet after dinner, choose a fruit for dessert (fruit kabobs, berry compotes, fruit salads, etc.)  Have dishes with lots of vegetable variety (e.g., soups, stir-fry).

Try and choose darker vegetables over lighter to maximize nutrient content.  Make the switch from mashed white potatoes to sliced carrots or mashed cauliflower.  Also, toss in red pepper, tomato sauce, garlic, onions or broccoli to omelets.

You can also add rinds of oranges or lemons to your water.  Try a little bit of every colour at a salad bar.  Be generous with your use of herbs and spice.  Devote some time at the start of your week to prepare your meals and recipes.  This will make eating whole foods throughout the week so much easier!

Make It Easy!

To make things easier for myself, I re-arranged my fridge to emphasize the food colours.  Forget separating fruits and vegetables.  I now separate things by colour.  It’s made preparing my meals and shakes so much easier.  I open the fridge and grab at least one or two items from each group.  It’s a good reminder to add variety to my dishes and it looks pretty!

It is also a great way to teach kids about the importance of healthy, colourful foods.  Make them choose which colours they want to eat.  Try making it into a little game.  Have a colour chart that they can check off each day to make sure that they are eating all the colours of the rainbow.

Now go on, eat the rainbow.  Your cells will thank you for it!

This One Thing Has Been Linked To Almost All Diseases

inflammation

“Mommy, I fell off my bike and now my knee is all red and swollen!”  This is what we commonly refer to and understand as inflammation – swelling.  You receive a trauma and your body, specifically your immune system, goes to work.  It causes your body to make it swell, send pain signals, cause redness and protect the area.

Your body then sends in the cleanup crew to repair the tissue, to ensure no bad bugs get into the cuts and scrapes. Lastly your body caps it off with a scab (or just bruising) so it can do the repair underneath.  This is commonly referred to as acute (sudden or immediate) inflammation.

However, what we have learned is that throughout the body, small traumas to our cells are occurring regularly and quietly.  This is due to multiple factors such as stress, infections, toxins, lack of sleep, diet or alcohol.  Your diet plays an extremely important role in removing chronic inflammation.  It is being vigorously studied throughout the medical sphere, in areas from Alzheimer’s (brain) to irritable bowel syndrome (gut) and to cancer (everywhere).

Inflammation – Causes And Contributors

Chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of such serious health conditions as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, Parkinson’s, and cardiovascular disease.  Also, depression, Alzheimer’s, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s, cancer and other less serious conditions such as allergies and acne.

We have environmental and life stressors all around us, but diet is something we can all change.  It’s a lot easier than changing our relationship, job or our hour-long drive to work every day.

One of the biggest causes of chronic inflammation in our diet is refined carbohydrates/sugar which are pro-inflammatory.  There are several foods that can cause inflammation.  I won’t cover them here – rest assured vegetable oils (some types), dairy, fried foods and some others have a role in chronic inflammation.

Suffering With Fibromyalgia? Acute Inflammation VS Chronic Inflammation...Know the difference!

What Fuels Our Bodies

Let’s step back a second and talk about our body’s energy needs.  Our bodies can run on two energy sources.  Fat (which our body converts to ketones) or glucose.  Glucose is not always bad!  We have been fueling our bodies with glucose for a long time now (and you’ll be surprised to know ketones as well).  It’s how our bodies process the glucose that leads to the problem if we are not mindful.

How Glucose Affects Our Body

We need to give our bodies just the right amount of glucose, in the form of complex carbohydrates, otherwise we will overwhelm the system.  As well, we need to ensure we are not constantly giving our bodies too much glucose (i.e. snacking).  This is because our bodies create insulin to transport that glucose to give energy to our cells.  But insulin’s dark side is that it stores that glucose as fat if we give our body more than it needs.  I say dark side, but this fat storage is what keeps us alive during times of famine – you know, like last week when you had no snacks in the cupboard?

“Anything that raises insulin halts weight loss and stimulates significant inflammation, which is the cause of most diseases of civilization.”

“INSULIN MAKES INFLAMMATION WORSE.  Insulin drives the inflammatory cascade.  It stimulates the inflammatory hormones that cause arthritis, allergic rhinitis, psoriasis, dermatitis, and inflammatory bowel problems to become amplified.”

“The underlying cause of heart disease is high insulin response to carbohydrates, which leads to blood vessel wall damage, inflammation, and blockage; the cause is not the presence of one form of cholesterol.”

The Keto Cure: A Low Carb High Fat Dietary Solution to Heal Your Body and Optimize Your Health.

What Are Ketones?

Ketones manage the inflammatory response systemically and stop production of inflammatory molecules.

“When you take a deeper look at diseases and conditions ranging from diabetes, kidney disease, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS) to Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, one key attribute seen across the board is chronic low-grade inflammation/neuroinflammation.”

“The most common treatments for Crohn’s, anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressants, are aimed at reducing inflammation in bowel tissues.”

““Ketones can limit oxidative stress and inflammation.”

Wilson, Jacob. The Ketogenic Bible: The Authoritative Guide to Ketosis

When you are not eating carbohydrates/sugars/glucose, you do not suddenly die (hopefully).  Your body is designed to recognize that when the readily available source of cheap energy from carbs you eat is unavailable.  It goes to its energy stores of glucose in your body (which can only last a day or so) and if that is depleted it goes to your fat (which was created by storing the excess carbohydrates/sugars/glucose from days, weeks, months, years … you get the picture).  It converts this fat into ketones and runs your body on that better more efficient fuel.

What Is A Ketogenic State?

This ketogenic state, where you are burning your fat, can occur in small amounts if you wait as little as 12 hours after your last meal before you eat again (say you eat supper at 7 p.m. and you don’t eat until 7 a.m. or later).

With ketones running your system even partially, your chronic inflammation has time to reverse.  Going for 12 to 16 hours without eating is often referred to as intermittent fasting (and that’s a whole other topic but so good for you – I do it almost every day).

Athletes and biohackers take it to the next level and not only fast intermittently, they also commit to cutting out nearly all carbohydrates/sugars/glucose.  They then eat what is called a ketogenic diet, which means eating high fat (good fats), moderate protein and very little but only high-quality carbohydrates.  Ketogenic Diet Study Confirms Massive Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Benefits Of A Keto Diet

People doing the diet feel more energy, greater mental clarity, less to no brain fog, more flexibility (especially those with inflammatory conditions like arthritis) and generally a better sense of health.  Science suggests this is because chronic inflammation is reduced, and their bodies are running more efficiently (ketones are a cleaner burning energy source).

And lastly, there is the ability to “drink” your ketones – and studies suggest that these exogenous (outside the body) ketones, which are bioidentical and natural (the ones I recommend, at least) act in the same way as those created by burning your own fat or eating a ketogenic diet.

Whatever you decide to do to take control of your inflammation, I strongly urge you to eat healthy fats, remove as much processed foods and refined sugars from your diet as you can and stop snacking!  And try skipping a meal occasionally, you’ll be surprised at how much you can get done when you are not cooking, eating and then cleaning up! (Just ask Dr. Fung).

For additional reading check out Keto Diet and Chiropractic – What Do They Have in Common?  And as always, if anything I have written resonates with you, leave a comment.  If you have any questions or would like more information about drinking ketones, making ketones or healthy eating, feel free to send me an email at [email protected]

I am here to serve! (I just won’t serve you dessert 😊 )

Follow me on Facebook: facebook.com/therealketojack/ and Instagram @ketojack

Jack Lauzon, B.Sc. Honours Physics, Health Educator

The Ketogenic Bible

“Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease also display elevated levels of inflammation in the brain (Hunot et al., 2003), likely due to energy deprivation and an inability to clear damaged proteins, both resulting in impaired mitochondrial function.”

“Impaired Mitochondrial Function in Alzheimer’s Disease As with Parkinson’s disease, extensive research has shown impaired mitochondrial function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Along with changes in mitochondrial function, individuals with Alzheimer’s tend to have elevated levels of oxidative stress (an accumulation of free radicals that may result in cell damage) and inflammation. When the ability of mitochondria to produce energy is impaired, it causes inflammation, increases amyloid plaque formation, and ultimately results in the deterioration of cognitive function.”

“The direct cause of migraines and headaches is unknown; however, the fact that a ketogenic diet has been found to be beneficial may provide a clue: we don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but as in so many other health problems, mitochondrial dysfunction and its accompanying decreased ATP production in the brain may play a significant role (Roos-Araujo et al., 2014). Ketones would alleviate that issue by providing an alternative fuel that bypasses the problem areas of the mitochondria. The ketogenic diet’s ability to reduce inflammation may also play a role, as migraines may involve neural inflammation.”

 The Ketogenic Bible: The Authoritative Guide to Ketosis

Additional info:

“A recent study published in the  Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrate significant improvement in overall inflammation in type II diabetic patients following a carbohydrate restricted diet versus a low fat calorie restricted diet.  Another bit of proof demonstrating what I’ve been seeing in my office over the last 8 years.  The study reveals significant improvement in glycemic (blood sugar) control in those following a low carbohydrate diet as well as significant lowering of C-reactive protein, IL-1 and IL-6 over those following a low fat diet.”

Dr. Adam Nally, Board Certified Family Physician and Obesity Medicine Specialist

 

Did you get this far down? Great, here’s something funny/serious to finish off:

John Oliver – Tonight with John Oliver

Have you heard of this miracle oil? You should be using it!

essential oil frankincense

Frankincense is derived from the tree sap (or resin) of the Boswellia trees. In ancient times, Frankincense was used as medicine to treat digestive issues and leprosy. The resin would be consumed to promote healthy skin and a healthy digestive system. The majority of the world’s Frankincense comes from the country of Somalia, but can also be found in Ethiopia and Sudan.

More recently, through steam distillation, the tree resin or sap has been produced into an essential oil that can be used topically or diffused into the air.

Touted as the “king of oils,” the benefits of Frankincense essential oil are far reaching. The spectrum of uses range from aromatherapy and relaxation to the eradication of cancer cells in the body. 

Top 5 Everyday Uses of Frankincense Essential Oil

  1. It has beneficial properties that promote good skin health, wound healing and acne healing. It can be rubbed into the skin using a carrier oil such as coconut oil.
  2. Due to it’s calming effect on the body, Frankincense is perfect to add to your bath water or diffuse while doing yoga or meditating.
  3. To improve air quality in your home and eliminate bacteria in the air, diffuse Frankincense essential oil regularly.
  4. During cold and flu season (or anytime of the year to prevent getting sick) it can also be used to boost the immune system due to its antiseptic properties. 
  5. Frankincense is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can be used to reduce joint paint and soreness.

When selecting Frankincense essential oil, or any essential oil for that matter, it is crucially important to select a company that produces therapeutic grade oils, that have been derived from organic, natively grown plants. To determine if an oil is therapeutic, it is important to ensure the extraction process was done at low temperatures, for a long period of time and that no solvents were used in the extraction.

It is also important that the essential oils you are purchasing are derived from the first extraction because some companies re-use old plant materials which produces a lower quality end product. In some instances, to improve the aroma of the oils, synthetic chemicals are added to the finished product, which again, have a negative impact on the quality of the oil.

When considering the purchase price of essential oils it is important to understand that to produce pure essential oils, it requires a large volume of plant material to make each specific oil. For example, to produce one 15ml bottle of lavender essential oil, it takes 30 pounds of lavender flowers. A very inexpensive bottle of lavender oil is a good indication that it isn’t from a pure source.

How to Apply/Use Oils

For best results, use three or four drops of Frankincense essential oil in a diffuser or apply one or two drops topically to the skin. It is recommended that a carrier oil is used to dilute the essential oil and to avoid potential skin irritation. A carrier oil, for example, could be sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, or any other oil of your choice. Put a dollop of carrier oil in your hand and add the drops of essential oil to it, then rub on your skin.

How many times per day do you shut down your laughter?

How many times per day do you shut down your laughter?

I’ve heard it said many times in life that “laughter is the best medicine”.

Do you know that it’s impossible to frown, be sad and in the state of stress at the same time as smiling and laughing? Even though this makes perfect sense, how many of us actually take the time to leave our stress behind in favour of the free life-giving, health-promoting joy that is available to us in smiling and laughing in the moments of our daily lives.

While sitting at my desk in front of my computer, contemplating what health subject to write about for this article, my little 6 pound maltese-poodle-chihuahua is barking at me incessantly while the baby is upstairs having a nap.

Like most mothers who see naptime as precious as gold, my initial response is stress… stress that I only have so much time to write this article, stress that her barking will wake the baby up from her much needed nap and I won’t get this done and that I’ll have an overtired cranky baby. If she doesn’t stop barking, mama’s gonna get really mad if she wakes the baby up!!

I decided to get up to see what all the barking was about and my annoyed scowl turned to a smile and my stress turned to laughter as the little yappy barking machine proceeded to play her favourite game of chase around the basement. I take a step in one direction and she runs around the sofa at mach- speed until she almost bumps into me again and then quickly runs the other way in the opposite direction. This game continues until I decide to walk away or until the dog is so tired she collapses, usually it ends because of me. This time I couldn’t help but laugh and smile as I realized that she just wanted to play. My mood changed in an instant.

How many of these free joy-giving moments are we letting pass us by in life in favour of stress?

The stress response in our bodies leads to the release of cortisol, our natural anti-inflammatory made in- house. Too much cortisol leads to the breakdown of our cells and tissues and is not good for our health.

Life insurance companies know that the effect of negative stress in a person’s life destroys health more effectively than almost anything else. What do most people do to deal with stress? Usually dis-engage from life through the use of alcohol, drugs, anti-depressants, overeating, TV, computers, and a multitude of other addictions.

What are you doing to deal with your stress? I challenge you to see the situations in your life from a different perspective. I could’ve continued to get annoyed with the fact that my little loving dog wouldn’t stop barking. Instead I played her game for a while, laughed and smiled, then picked her up and put her on my lap. Now she’s keeping me warm, the baby’s still napping and my article is finished.

I hope you can find something to laugh and smile about today and every day. Don’t believe me? Try it.

__________________________________

Blog by Guest Author:

Dr. Bernadette VecchioDr Bernadette Vecchio, DC
Dr Bernadette Vecchio is a Chiropractor in Collingwood alongside her husband, Dr David Vecchio. In practice she is passionate about serving families and helping restore their health through Corrective Chiropractic care. Currently on maternity leave, Dr Bernadette is enjoying raising their daughter and getting to know the other new moms in the Collingwood area.

Find Dr. Bernadette and Dr. David at www.innerharmonychiropractic.com and https://www.facebook.com/Inner-Harmony-Family-Chiropractic-790997060930616/