Just like people, all vegetables are created equal but still some are more power-packed than others. Dark leafy greens are more beneficial to man than other types of vegetables since they constitute those nutritional elements in abundance that are very critical to a person’s well-being. Nutritionist advice that the darker the appearances of a vegetable, the higher the amount of antioxidants like magnesium it contains. Kale is one such miracle vegetable. Though all green leafy vegetables are excellent, kale is especially nutrient dense; it tops Dr. Fuhrman’s nutrient dense chart along with collards. Kale can help in improving vision, metabolism, immune system and elimination of free radicals and preventing osteoporosis respectively.
Yes, kale is one of the healthiest veggies you can put on your plate. One serving, which contains just 30 calories, provides a day's worth of vitamin C, twice the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, and nearly seven times the recommended amount of vitamin K. Add a sizable dose of minerals and healthy fatty acids, and you've got yourself a nutrition powerhouse.
In view of the fact that kale and other greens constitute vital elements, medical doctors recommend aging women to take them in plenty for they help to counteract symptoms brought about by menopause. Menopause is a natural process that’s triggered by approaching old age. During this stage, the body is unable to produce sufficient hormones to keep up with its ability to reproduce. As a result of this inadequacy, women experience hormonal imbalance which often leads to symptoms like hot flashes, reduced menstruation, weight gain, lack of sleep and osteoporosis.
Since menopause is a nature instigated process, the perfect approach to countering its obvious effects is rooted in a woman’s capacity to take balanced diet with greens constituting the large portion. The benefits of eating dark leafy greens are identified through their ability to counter symptoms of menopause.
For example, osteoporosis is a medical condition that involves thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density. Although this condition may be devoid of early signs, the patient ends up suffering from excruciating pain upon its materialization. Vitamin K, which is one of the elements found in Kale, is the appropriate solution to reversing this condition. Vitamin E helps to reduce free radicals which are responsible for causing dread ailments like different forms of cancer. Also, free radicals can cause the bones to become weak and painful nightmare to women of old age. In addition to that, almost all of the dark leafy greens including kale contain Magnesium, and this mineral is known to facilitate the absorption and transportation of calcium to different body parts. Calcium is a primary element in the development of strong yet flexible bones.
Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin naturally produced in the body, and stored in fat tissue and the liver. It is essential for healthy blood cell growth, blood clotting, and coagulation. Vitamin K has also been shown to help in the prevention of osteoporosis.
During menopause, a woman’s body fails to produce adequate estrogen to help vaginal lining get moist. As a result of the dryness, opportunistic infections like yeast thrive causing the affected woman to feel a burning sensation especially when urinating. Fortunately, dark leafy greens contain vitamin C which helps enhance the body’s immune system. When the body’s immunity improves, opportunistic infections are kept at bay because the defense system is all alert to take action against preying pathogens.
Vitamin A (Retinol) helps maintain healthy bones and teeth. With all of the brouhaha over a higher risk of osteoporosis during the post-menopause years, this is good news. Vitamin A is also good for your skin and is a powerful antioxidant when found in “green” sources.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) also like Vitamin A, helps maintain healthy skin and teeth. As we age our skin definitely begins to change. It becomes thinner and loses youthful elasticity. While you won’t be able to stave it off forever, you can at least slow the aging process if you are consuming enough Vitamin C. In addition, Vitamin C helps your brain form vital neurotransmitters such as dopamine (aka the “happy chemical”), and it helps to reduce damage to your body from toxic substances and chemicals.
As a result of hormonal imbalance, menopause causes women to experience hot flashes which are often characterized by sessions of high temperatures than the body finds optimal. Hot flashes are a source of discomfort and the main cause of night sweats. To manage this problem, doctors recommended aging women to eat substantial amounts of kale again because of it being Magnesium rich. Magnesium has the capacity to balance the body’s hormonal requirements. Because of that, estrogen and progesterone levels get enhanced reducing the intensity of the hot flashes.
At some stage in menopause, women gain weight at a faster rate than they are able to manage. And that is why, for most women, weight gain and menopause seems inseparable. If not checked, this situation can lead to obesity or other unhealthy conditions like cardiovascular ailments. However, with dark leafy greens, you don’t have much to worry about. One thing is that they, while overflowing with nutrition, are still very low in calories. And the other thing is their Magnesium content. As an element, Magnesium has been established to help metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It’s also identified as a key element in synthesizing of important hormones like cortisone and testosterone to produce energy that keeps the body active. They also are rich in Vitamin B, which assists in improving metabolism. When the two elements are combined, the body gets power to breakdown excess carbohydrates and fats before they can be stored as cell fat. That ability helps the body to remain healthy and youthful in nature.
I am sure you would be convinced by now to include a generous portion of greens in your daily diet; however, if you are wondering how to go about that, note that there are many ways to do so. You can boil or steam them and have then in lunch and dinner, or you can even take them raw. Raw? Yes, in the form of green smoothies. And eaten in that form, kale and other greens would supply your body with much more nutrients than a cooked version would be ever able to provide. Raw kale contains generous quantities of anti-oxidants and anti-cancer nutrients along with beaucoup chlorophyll, calcium, manganese, and B-vitamins. Here is my favorite recipe for green smoothie. You can take it anytime of the day, but it serves as an excellent breakfast and evening snack.
Recipes with kale
1. Green Smoothie recipe
– 2 cups kale
– 2 cups spinach
– 1 scoop [green powder supplement]
– 1 medium banana
– 1/2 cup blueberries
– 1/2 cup raspberries
– 1/2 cup dark sweet cherries
– 1/2 peach
– 1/2 cup baby carrots
– 2 tablespoon flax meal
– 2 tablespoon chia seeds
Add all the ingredients to a blender. Blend for 20-25 seconds, until everything has perfectly blended, and you are ready to go. To give your body the best is that simple.
2. Nutty Kale Salad with Apples and Onions
Many people do not think of eating kale raw but when you rub it with the tahini (sesame seed paste) and a bit of miso or soy sauce, the kale softens and has a firm but silky texture that combined with the apples and onions is quite pleasing.
Greens, walnuts, and hemp seeds are all great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Tahini is a good fat and miso has soy phytoestrogens and beneficial bacteria.
This salad is highly adaptable and you can include other vegetables if they are available. Add them after the kale gets its massage. Serves 4.
2 bunches kale, collards or other greens, washed and spun dry
2-3 teaspoons raw tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons miso (my favorite is South River Miso – brown rice or mellow white works well), tamari, soy sauce or Bragg liquid aminos
½ to 1 teaspoon lemon zest from an organic lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave, or more to taste (optional)
1 apple, sliced thin, julienned or grated
¼ cup thinly sliced onion
¼ cup walnuts, toasted
3 Tablespoons shelled hempseeds
Remove leaves from large ribs and slice thinly. Put into a large bowl. Add the tahini, lemon juice and miso. Put your hands into the bowl and massage the greens until they are wilted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the agave syrup, apple and onions. Stir well to combine. Garnish with the nuts and hempseeds. This tastes best when eaten immediately.
Note: you can also add dried fruit to this salad, or go more savory by adding crushed garlic and omitting the apple.
3. Two-Bean Soup with Kale
This hearty vegetarian soup warms up chilly nights. Use any type of canned beans you happen to have on hand, and add rotisserie chicken or Italian sausage for a heftier dish, if you prefer.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Emeril's), divided
7 cups stemmed, chopped kale (about 1 bunch)
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups vegetable broth and kale. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until kale is crisp-tender.
2. Place half of cannellini beans and remaining 1 cup vegetable broth in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Add pureed bean mixture, remaining cannellini beans, black beans, and pepper to soup. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, and rosemary.
Kale and other greens constitute numerous benefits that women should strive to get way before menopause come calling. It’s important for women to recognize that; by dealing with a problem long before it appears, you are actually building a strong foundation to forever prevent it from taking control of your wellbeing. In that case, you must make dark leafy greens your number one selections or wait to deal with consequences that manifest later in life.
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