When you're trying to increase your intake of nutrients, eating real foods is the way to go. They contain a variety of nutrients difficult to find in a single supplement, including plant compounds, vitamins and minerals, as previously mentioned. Here Karen Gill, MD, MedicalNewsToday.com, reviews subject written by Megan Ware, RDN, LD, on facts about kale:
“If you have not tried kale yet, now may be the time. Packed with nutrients, it is one of the world's healthiest foods.
The nutrients it contains support healthy skin, hair, and bones. The fiber content enhances digestion and contributes to cardiovascular health.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods.
The nutrients in kale can help boost wellbeing and prevent a range of health problems.
Even the chlorophyll in kale may have health benefits.
It is also a good source of vitamin C and iron.
The fiber and antioxidants in kale may offer protection against diabetes.
Fiber: Studies have shown that a high intake of fiber may lower blood glucose levels in people with type-1 diabetes. Those with type-2 diabetes may see improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels.
- One cup of chopped fresh kale, weighing about 16 grams (g), providesTrusted Source 0.6 g of fiber.
- A cup of cooked kale (about 130 g) providesTrusted Source 2.6 g of fiber.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 recommendTrusted Source a fiber intake of between 25 g and 33.6 g for adults aged over 18 years.
Antioxidants: Kale contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid.
Studies suggest that this can help lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes. It may also decrease peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy in these patients.
Most studies have used high doses of alpha-lipoic acid administered intravenously, rather than dietary sources. Nevertheless, kale can contribute to a healthy daily intake of this nutrient, which is also produced in our bodies naturally.
The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 found in kale all support heart health.
Increasing potassium intake while decreasing sodium intake is recommended to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
In one study, participants who consumed 4,069 milligrams (mg) of potassium each day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed around 1,793 mg per day.
A high potassium intake is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density, and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
For lowering blood pressure, consuming more potassium may be as important as decreasing sodium intake, because potassium dilates the blood vessels.
The recommended intake of potassium is 4,700 mg a day. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), fewer than 2 percent of adults in the United States (U.S.) meet this recommendation.
Kale can help boost this intake.
- One cup of chopped fresh kale providesTrusted Source 79 mg of potassium
- One cup of cooked kale providesTrusted Source 296 mg of potassium
A high potassium intake is associated with a 20 percent lower risk of dying from all causes.”
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