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Over the past few years, kale has become the edible darling of nutritionists, fitness professionals, and certified health nuts. With its versatility and off-the-charts nutrient profile, kale deserves all the “Hail to the Kale” recognition.
Kale is a member of the Brassica oleracea species, along with other well-known members broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and collard greens. With darker, curlier, more textured appearance than lettuce, its superstar powers certainly don’t stem from its looks. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties it brings to the table, however, make it gorgeous on the inside.
There are many varieties out there, but the two most commonly found in your produce section tend to be curly kale, with its ruffled leaves, deep green color, and bright peppery to bitter flavors (best for kale chips); and dinosaur or Tuscan kale, with its narrower blue-green leaves and slightly sweeter, more delicate taste (great for a steamed or sautéed side dish). When making your pick, look for deeply colored leaves without signs of yellowing, browning, wilting, or holes. Bunches with smaller sized leaves also tend to yield tender and mild-tasting finished dishes.
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The nutrient content and health benefits of this low-calorie, high-fiber vegetable are impressive. Kale boasts significant levels of iron, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium (actually better absorbed by your body than from dairy milk), vitamin B6, antioxidant carotenoids and flavanoids (lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and quercetin), and a strong group of natural anti-cancer compounds. Thanks to this arsenal of nutrients, kale has the ability to kick inflammation to the curb while supporting your cardiovascular system, liver detoxification pathways, bone health, vision, and immune function.
The easiest way to use kale is by simply throwing it into smoothies, fresh juices, and salads. You can also steam kale as a side dish at dinner or make oven-roasted kale chips for a snack. Raw kale can take some getting used to, as even the sweeter varieties can be tough and bitter. One way around this, as strange as it sounds, is the kale massage. With or without olive oil—and with the fibrous stems removed—grab bunches with both hands and rub together. A few minutes into this eco-friendly, deep-tissue rubdown, the leaves will begin to appear darker, smaller, and silkier in texture, as well as less bitter in taste.
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Cooking ideas include sautéed kale with fresh minced garlic or braised with chopped apples. Add kale to your scrambled eggs and omelets, hearty soups, bean and quinoa bowls, or as a veggie side with your favorite baked chicken and sweet potato dishes. You’ll be krazy for kale in no time.
1 bunch kale of choice, washed, stems removed, chopped
1 pound apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 sweet or red onion, chopped
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Heat oil in sauté pan. Add onions, and cook until tender (4 minutes). Add apples, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook until apples are just tender (4 minutes). Stir kale into pan. Cook covered until kale is tender (3 minutes).
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Can’t always get your daily does of kale and all of its nutritional benefits? Six Star Vitamin Sport Pack features more than 100 percent of the suggested daily values of vitamins C and E, as well as vitamin B6, riboflavin, selenium, manganese, and thiamin. Plus, Vitamin Sport Pack provides a good source of calcium, zinc, magnesium, and many other vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin K is responsible for proper blood clotting. If you’re on blood thinners, please consult your doctor before adding kale or other vitamin K rich foods to your diet, as they can interfere with your medication.