Make Room for this Super Food in Your Diet

 

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Kale – Deliciously Healthy Salad

We know…there’s a new “super” food every other day, but kale is one that you should certainly add to your grocery list.

One of the healthiest vegetables on the planet, kale offers an incredible array of benefits.  And it has a benefit that you may not think of at first: it’s tasty.  At least it is when you prepare it well!

So why eat kale?  Why not stick with your old iceberg lettuce?  Unlike lettuce, which is  mostly water, kale is packed with an impressive list of nutrients.  It has over 45 different flavonoids, with include kaempferol and quercetin.  It’s not important to necessarily know these specific flavonoids – but you’ll want to know about the benefits to your health.  They combine the power of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.  Green leafy kale has been shown to have the following benefits:

•It lowers cholesterol, especially if you steam it.
•It lowers the risk of at least five different types of cancer, including cancers of the bladder, colon, ovary, breast, and prostate.
•It detoxes the body at a genetic level.  Everyone can use a good cleanse, and besides being good for the body itself, it is excellent for a healthy appearance.  Yes, kale can help your natural beauty shine a little brighter.
•Kale can help prevent chronic inflammation.
•It can help us avoid oxidative stress, which is a factor in things like heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

An added benefit: kale is very easy to grow and is a hardy plant. Some varieties even take a frost or two and keep producing wonderful leaves.  Whether you plant it or buy it, though, cooking it properly is essential.  As mentioned, steaming it is great.  Add a little butter and you have an excellent side dish.  You can eat it raw, chopped small, in salads.  You can eat it
in soups or baked dishes where you would use spinach.  You can sauté it in butter and garlic…the list is endless and delicious.

This recipe for kale chips will get you started.  You will need:

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Curly Leaf Kale

•    A bunch of kale.
•    A tablespoon of olive oil.
•    A teaspoon of seasoned salt.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.

Get rid of the stems (the stems can be a bit tough and woody) and tear the leaves into pieces that are just bite-sized.  Wash the kale, and dry it with a salad spinner or paper towel.  Then drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Bake them for about 10-15 minutes or until the edges are brown.  They’ll satisfy a need for crunch, like a potato chip, but your body will like it a whole lot better.

Garlic has made a name for itself by fighting off vampires. Whether or not there is any truth to that legend, garlic contains

Pictured is the garlic plant in full bloom with its delicate white flowers

Garlic Plant in Full Bloom

properties that may provide heart benefits, protection from cancer and defense against viral infection. Known as “the stinking rose” because of positive attributes that come with a pungent odor through the skin and on the breath, garlic has enormous healthful advantages and there are ways to deal with the odor.

First, garlic makes a flavorful addition when chopped and included in pasta meals, vegetable dishes, beef, poultry, fish and other food choices. Its pleasant taste is immediately noticeable and its powerful ingredients apparent. Indeed, if you’ve ever finished off a nice Italian meal that featured garlic rolls or bread, you can sometimes just feel the garlic ooze out of your blood and into the skin. Its strength may explain the powers it has to fight disease.

This strength may help keep blood vessels open. Garlic holds the promise of preventing arterial damage with age to combat hardening of the arteries that leads to heart disease. Garlic may reduce the so-called “bad” cholesterol, known as LDL cholesterol, in the blood that forms plaques in the arteries. It may also improve levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, which cleans the bloodstream of excess cholesterol, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Garlic contains allicin, a compound that may have antiviral properties. People who include garlic in their regular diets often avoid common colds or recover from colds faster than others. Garlic also provides antioxidants that fight free radicals, which cause cell damage to leads to cancer and other diseases. The ingredients in garlic may boost immunity to protect the body.

Because it tastes great and offers wonderful health benefits, how is a person supposed to enjoy garlic while worrying about bad breath or body odor? Fresh parsley may be one remedy that gets rid of the breath. Garlic recipes often include parsley, including garlic butter used to spread on garlic bread. Chewing on cardamom seeds has been known to avoid bad breath from garlic. Gargling or sipping lemon juice is another

Pictured is a partially opened pod of garlic full of medium to large size cloves

Fresh Garlic Pod with Separating Cloves

method. Of course, mouthwash and brushing and flossing your teeth after a meal also help.

Lemon juice may also work when rubbed on your hands to reduce the odor that comes from the skin. Some people preparing garlic in meals wash their hands with soap and water afterwards and rub them along stainless steel faucets or utensils. The sulfur in garlic is believed to rub off on the steel.