Back in March, I was feeling achy all over. I think I must have had arthritis in every joint and I could barely walk up the stairs without losing my breath. I had so much pain in my ankles that I could hardly walk. I don’t do pills and exercise seemed out of the question as the healthful starting point for a healthier lifestyle. I knew that food was the better starting point for me. I was eating all sorts of junk food, too many animal products and processed foods. I knew that a traditional diet plan was not the right move for me, so I decided to simply change some of my food choices and I knew that the easiest place to start was with breakfast, my first meal of the day.
I started by adding what I am now calling Triple K. Kale, Kelp and Krill taken every morning has improved my health exponentially.
The first item K that I include in my breakfast is kale. Every morning I include kale in my morning smoothie. Now, don’t stick up your nose at it until you’ve tried it. This smoothie is delicious. I put kale in a blender and blend it until it is fully chopped, add a little soymilk (men should never use soymilk because of the phytoestrogens it contains so they would be better to use almond milk, coconut milk, or orange juice) a banana and some frozen fruit and blend it until smooth. Then I drink it and take my other nutritional supplements while drinking it.
Kale is super high in fiber. This helps create the bulk I need to fill me up and to keeps me full for a long time. With a combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, kale is a dieter’s dream food. This leafy vegetable is popular since ancient Greek and Roman times. It is low fat, no cholesterol but health benefiting antioxidant rich greens.
Nutrients in kale offer protection from vitamin-A deficiency, osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and colon and prostate cancers.
Kale is high in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Kale is a great detox food. Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.
Kale, like other members of the cabbage family, contains health-promoting phytochemicals, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol to protect against prostate and colon cancers.
Di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol is an effective immune modulator, antibacterial and antiviral agent through its action of potentiating “Interferon-Gamma” receptors.
Kale is also rich in ß-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These flavonoids have potent antioxidant and anti-cancer activities. β -carotene converts to vitamin-A in the human body.
Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions. Thus, it helps prevent retinal detachment and offer protection against “age-related macular degeneration disease” (ARMD) in the older adults.
It is very rich in vitamin-A. Four ounces of fresh leaves carry 9,990 IU of this vitamin, providing 333% of RDA. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy mucosa, skin and vision. Foods rich in this vitamin are known to offer protection against lung and oral cavity cancers. It is also high in vitamin-K. One hundred grams provides about 587% of RDA. Vitamin-K has a potential role in bone health through promoting bone formation and strengthening. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage and it has been used in the treatment of patients who have Alzheimer’s disease.
Four ounces of fresh kale contain 120 mg or 200% of daily recommended levels of vitamin-C. Scottish curly leaf variety has even more of this vitamin (130 mg/100g). Vitamin-C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
This leafy vegetable is notably good in many B-complex groups of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid, which are essential for substrate metabolism in the body.
It is also a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation. Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and B6, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. More specifically, according to the DRV, it contains 684 percent of vitamin K, 206 percent of vitamin A and 134 percent of vitamin C. Its sulforaphane content protects against cancer, as does indole-3-carbinol, which also aids in DNA cell repair.
When it comes to nutrition, kelp is kale’s ocean-loving cousin.
A four-ounce serving of kelp has approximately 43 calories. Kelp consists of 76 percent carbohydrates, 14 percent protein and 10 percent fat. Kelp contains, per weight, more fiber than even brown rice — 6.2 grams of fiber per four ounces of wet weight — without high levels of starchy carbohydrates. Kelp contains significant levels of tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, methionine, cysteine and valine. Kelp also contains lower levels of leucine, lysine, phenylalanine, tyrosine and histidine.
Kelp, aka brown seaweed, contains high amounts of iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron, as well as vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, amino acids, omega-3 fats and fiber, together relaying impressive health benefits that are hard to ignore.
Kelp possesses anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that have provided health benefits to the humans for eons.
It contains vitamins B1, B12, B2, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and iodine. Kelp improves thyroid functioning and helps improve energy levels, weight loss, liver function, brain function, constipation, digestion, functioning of pituitary gland and pancreas, improve symptoms of arthritis and memory loss.
Kelp also has an excellent nutrient density rating for vitamin K, a very good for folate and magnesium and a good rating for calcium, iron and tryptophan. One ounce of kelp gives us twelve calories (just one percent of our dietary need of energy). Kelp is also relatively low in fat (0.2g per 1 ounce serving).
Like other plants, kelp absorbs a great deal of minerals from the sea water and sea soil in which it grows. Kelp contains more than twice as much sodium as potassium, 233 milligrams to 89 milligrams per 100-gram serving. Kelp also contains high levels of magnesium, iron, iodine and calcium. You can also obtain important trace minerals from kelp including phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.
As a green vegetable, kelp contains very high levels of vitamin K, important for blood clotting and bone health. Kelp also contains high levels of folate, or vitamin B9, which is involved in energy production. You can also obtain moderate levels of vitamin A, E, C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid.
Many foods contain iodine, but nowhere near the tremendous amount in kelp. A single tablespoon provides a whopping 500 percent of the DRV. Nothing else comes close — not scallops, nor cod, nor yogurt.
Iodine also helps regulate your thyroid gland to produce strong, healthy hair, skin and nails, as well as to form thyroid hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine.5 It’s also essential for proper formation of your skeletal framework and regulating your body’s energy and brain metabolism in a process regulated by your pituitary gland.
The myelination process in the central nervous systems of newborns is another key function of the thyroid hormone. Balanced iodine in the mother’s body is imperative in pregnancy and breastfeeding for optimal development of the baby’s brain.
However, it’s important to understand that balancing your iodine levels is crucial. Specialists usually recommend around 150 micrograms daily. Consuming too much could lead to either hypo- or hyperthyroidism.
As a food, kelp aficionados laud its flavor as the ultimate, seawater-laced brine that’s the essence of umami. Nori, one of the most popular seaweed species, is dried in sheets to make sushi rolls. Other varieties include dulce, arame, (also called sea oak), deep green wakame, kombu, and spirulina.
Kelp may help prevent breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers by decreasing levels of the sex hormone estradiol. A review showed it induced cell death of prostate, liver, oral, pancreatic and other cancers, inhibits Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers, and targets inflammatory skin conditions.
Further, kelp contains alginic acid, which protects the plants from bacteria, but in your body can reduce radiation exposure and prevent heavy metals from being absorbed.
Alginic acid in the seaweed kombu is known for its positive effects on diabetes, as well as its ability to coagulate blood. It prevents cavities, promotes digestive health, protects against flu, aids digestion, protects vision and maintains heart health.
Sodium alginate derived from kelp reduced radioactive strontium absorption in the intestines by 50 to 80 percent allowing calcium to be absorbed through the intestinal wall while binding most of the strontium, which is excreted from the body.
The iron in kelp helps form healthy blood and prevent anemia and the antioxidants fight free radicals, altogether ensuring the growth of strong bones and optimal muscle function. This iron is accompanied by a measurable amount of vitamin C. Since vitamin C acts to increase the bioavailability of plant iron, this combination creates a synergistic effect.
Because I live in Missouri, kelp is not readily available, so rather than eating fresh kelp, I take kelp supplements in the form of tablets. I take a tablet of kelp every morning when I drink my kale/banana/soymilk/frozen fruit smoothie and another one in the evening with supper.
The final K in my triple K is krill oil. Krill oil comes from krill, a shrimp-like crustacean found in the ocean and proven to be the most effective, powerful way to add omega-3’s into my diet.
Krill oil is more powerful than fish oil because of a little-known antioxidant called “astaxanthin”. Astaxanthin is the strongest antioxidant in the carotenoid family, creating the beautiful shades of red found within shrimp, salmon and krill.
University studies show astaxanthin to be up to 500 times more effective than vitamin E, One time more effective than beta-carotene and four times more effective than lutein in various measures of antioxidant effectiveness.
This antioxidant has a remarkable way of defending cells against the effects of free radicals. It is one of the few antioxidants capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier and able to shuttle essential nutrients throughout your body.
Krill oil is safer than fish oil because fish oil has high levels of mercury and PCBs. Krill is not exposed to these toxins because it is harvested from the Antarctic Ocean, where these dangerous chemicals are virtually non-existent.
The omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil are structured so they are more easily absorbed and broken down by my body. Most fish oils are structured in triglyceride form, making them difficult for our bodies to break down and convert therefore they are less effective.
Incorporating the triple Ks of Kale, Kelp, and Krill is not difficult. I love the flavor of my morning smoothie so much that I have replaced ice cream with this morning drink and feel more than satisfied. (This is a big deal for me because I love ice cream.) I simply drink the shake and swallow a kelp tablet and take a krill capsule in the morning and I find that the superfood nutrition provides me with more than enough nutritional satisfaction that I feel full well up until lunch time. I can eat a salad for lunch and not be starved by suppertime. My body knows it is getting the nutrition that I need so I don’t feel deprived. I am getting all the nutrition I need for a healthy, active lifestyle.
Kelp is one of those lesser known superfoods. To learn more about Kelp, Check out Cygnet Brown’s book Help from Kelp available on Amazon Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0QNN1O
Here’s what a recent reader, Monika Werner said about Help from Kelp:
“I’ve heard about Kelp before, a friend of mine swears by Kelp tea, but I’ve never knew exactly what Kelp is and what it is good for. Cygnet Brown does an outstanding job bringing all the information about Kelp together and how you can incorporate it into your daily diet. I put it into my morning smoothie and love it. I really enjoyed the information how Kelp is not just a nutritional powerhouse for us human beings, but it can be very beneficial for gardening and animals as well. Amazing information everybody should know about if you are interested in taking your healthy lifestyle up a notch.”