Many people have heard about the health benefits of beta-carotene, the orange pigment in carrots and cantaloupe. Fewer people have heard about the health benefits of lutein, a yellow pigment that occurs in kale, collard greens, spinach, and other dark green vegetables. Although hidden by the green chlorophyll of these vegetables, lutein is present in abundance (10 mg per half cup of kale, 8 mg in collard greens, and 6 mg in cooked spinach). It acts in combination with other antioxidants to protect eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts, decrease cancer risk, prevent clogged arteries, improve respiratory health, and block arthritis pain. Other good sources of lutein include mangoes, corn, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, orange bell peppers, oranges, corn and honeydew melon.
Everyone should aim to consume 10 mg per day from natural food sources. The value of lutein supplements is undetermined. Kale can be easily steamed or braised in less than 10 minutes. A squeeze of lemon juice or a touch of balsamic vinegar makes for a very tasty, low-calorie side dish. Be sure to not cook the kale or any vegetable too long. It should never be limp or soggy; just heated until the leaves turn bright green.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
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2010-2011 President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
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