Kale Makes for a Healthy Snack

In addition to being a great source of potassium and copper, kale is also rich in calcium, beta-carotene, and vitamins C and K. Kale is also rich in dietary fiber, which promotes proper digestion. Because it’s so nutritious, adding kale to your diet can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, plus it tastes great!*

For a healthy, crispy snack, toss some raw kale with a light coating of olive oil and place it on a baking sheet. Set your oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 15 minutes or until crisp. The slightly salty crunch will make you feel like you’re eating nature’s healthiest potato chip!

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*http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270435.php
Photo | “Kale chips” | © Joy | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License

Persimmons Are Power Fruits

1003Persimmons are powerful fruits packed full of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Providing protection from free radicals, persimmons act as disease-fighting detoxifiers that will protect you from early aging, common colds and the flu. In addition to promoting eye health, fiber rich persimmons also promote natural weight loss and a healthy digestive tract.*

Because they act as powerful colon cleansers, be sure to avoid persimmons on an empty stomach. And while they’re very tasty, because of their high fructose content, be sure to enjoy persimmons only in moderation.

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*http://wiki-fitness.com/persimmon-fruit-health-benefits-and-nutrition-facts/
Photo | Persimmon | ©Koshy Koshy | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License

Amazing Health Benefits of Jicama

998Jicama is a white, starchy root that thrives in tropical regions. In addition to providing your salads with a tasty crunch, jicama can also provide your diet with healthy doses of Vitamin C, iron, calcium and phosphorus. The nutrients in jicama promote heart health and weight loss all while lowering your cholesterol and giving your immune system a boost.*

For a fresh salad idea, add one cup of equal parts: chopped mango, strawberry and jicama into a bowl. Squeeze three tablespoons of fresh lime juice and top with some freshly chopped cilantro. Gently mix all of the ingredients together, serve and enjoy!

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*http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/01/jicama-recipes_n_4018561.html
Photo | Hacking Jicama. | ©Ian Brown | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License

Supplement Zinc to Boost Testosterone Level

873If you’re a male, zinc is an essential mineral that you need to feel your best. Zinc helps your body maintain testosterone levels and prostate health. Some signs that you might be deficient in zinc include: poor healing, skin and digestive problems and mental lethargy.*

Zinc deficiencies are actually an easy fix; studies show older men doubled their levels after six months of taking supplements. For all-natural doses try eating oysters, pork, spinach, dark chocolate or mushrooms, all of which are high in zinc.

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Dr. Kim

*http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/07/27/increase-testosterone-levels.aspx
Photo | This health centre had 600 tablets of zinc, but had not prescribed any in over a year! | ©Simon Berry | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license

Take Supplements With Food

857Most people avoid taking nutritional supplements on an empty stomach because they want to avoid a stomachache. But there’s another reason you should be taking your vitamins with food: absorption. The hydrochloric acid that is produced when you eat also helps your body absorb the nutrients from supplements like vitamins B, D, E, A, and K.*

Enhance your body’s absorption of supplements by taking the recommended dosage after a meal. Consider moving your supplements from the medicine cabinet to the kitchen counter as a way to remind yourself of the optimal time to take them.

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Dr. Kim

*http://www.betternutrition.com/how-to-take-supplements/columns/askthenaturopath/1033
Photo | Vitamin Packaging | ©Colin Dunn | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License

Health Benefits of Pine Nuts

1239Pine nuts contain pinolenic acid, which triggers your body’s release of a hormone that suppresses the appetite. For this reason, pine nuts may be a great addition to your weight loss efforts, plus they contain heart healthy nutrients. Snacking on pine nuts can also help you fight fatigue while giving your energy levels a boost.*

Pine nuts can be eaten raw or roasted. Sprinkle some pine nuts over veggie dishes and salads for a healthy added crunch.

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Dr. Kim

*http://www.seedguides.info/pine-nuts/
Photo | Pine Nuts | Stuart Webster | Used under a Creative Commons License

Prepare Beans and Legumes Properly

5683907585_56122ac3fc_zThe naturally-occurring plant proteins, known as lectins, are found in high levels in dried beans and other types of legumes, but excess amounts can leave you with an upset stomach. Dried beans and other legumes are also high in phytates. This plant compound can interfere with the absorption of zinc, iron and some other essential minerals. Luckily, avoiding lectins and phytates is possible by sticking to a specific cooking method: applying moist heat and a high temperature will render lectins and phytates inactive.*

You can avoid lectins and phytates in your beans and legumes by submerging them completely in water and allowing them to soak for at least five hours. Drain and then boil the pre-soaked beans for 10 minutes, then simmer until tender (usually taking between 45-90 minutes).

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Dr. Kim

*http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/foods18.php
Photo | “Black beans” | ©Lisa Risager | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license

Amazing Health Benefits of Coconut Water

coconutsAfter your next workout, reach for some anti-inflammatory coconut water. Not only does coconut water help balance your glucose levels, but it is also packed with electrolytes, vitamins, phytonutrients and minerals. Drinking coconut water will promote a healthy immune system, and you might even notice an improvement in the appearance of your eyes and skin.

You can purchase whole, fresh coconuts at most grocery stores. Carefully push a metal skewer though the “soft eye” found on every coconut, drain it’s sweet water into a cup and enjoy!

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Dr. Kim

*http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-coconut-water-for-skin-hair-and-health/
Photo | fresh-water-coconut | ©Phu Thinh Co | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license

Date Sugar as a Substitute for Sugar

datesMade from dehydrated dates, date sugar is a great substitute for brown sugar. Loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, this sweet substitute is perfect for baking. Because date sugar does not dissolve completely, it will only be suitable for recipes where the sweetener does not need to be in liquid form.*

You can find unprocessed and raw date sugar at your local health store, but don’t stop there! Drop some dried dates into a food processor and make your own date sugar right at home!

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Dr. Kim

*http://happyherbivore.com/2012/01/how-use-date-sugar-syrup/
Photo | Dates | ©DBduo Photography | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license

Health Benefits of Sprouting

sproutsSprouting is a process used by many vegans, in which you extract a sprout from a bean or seed (for example, buckwheat). The spouting process packs a powerful nutritional punch; in fact, sprouts contain over 100 more vitamins, minerals and amino acids than raw fruits and vegetables. Sprouts are also an excellent source of enzymes, high in protein, easy to digest and can even help you lose weight.[1]

There are plenty of tutorials online that can guide you through the process of making your own sprouts. It is very inexpensive to get started; you’ll need a glass jar, a meshed screen and some seeds. In just a few days you will start to see sprouts which you can then add to your salads and sandwiches for a healthy perk.

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Dr. Kim

[1]http://www.sprouts-as-medicine.com/
Photo | Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) : sprouts | ©Stan Dalone | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license