Health and Wellness Fridays: Importance of Sleep

Thank God it is Friday! Although every day we get to walk the earth is a blessing, there is just something extra special about Fridays. 🙂  I hope you all have a great day and a wonderful weekend.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has given the undermentioned guideline for appropriate sleep durations for specific age groups below:

  • Newborns (0 to 3 months): 14 to 17 hours each day
  • Infants (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours
  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years): 11 to 14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours
  • School-age children (6 to 13 years): 9 to 11 hours
  • Teenagers (14 to 17 years): 8 to 10 hours
  • Adults (18 to 64 years): 7 to 9 hours
  • Older adults (over 65 years): 7 to 8 hours

However, for many of us, sleep feels like a stranger to us because we just aren’t getting nearly enough of it.   Today, we’ll examine why sleep is important and how lack of sleep can harm us.

sleep-2603604__340
Image Credit:Pixabay.com

What is sleep?

Sleep refers to the condition that occurs when the mind and body is at rest.  During this state all voluntary movements and full consciousness are temporarily suspended. 

What can cause sleep loss?

There are many factors that can contribute to lack of sleep some include:

  • Family obligations
  • Exam preparations (where you’re up burning the midnight oil),
  • Sleep disorder
  • Demanding job
  • Type of job (shift work)
  • Excessive gaming
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Feelings of stress
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Chronic illness
  • Depression

 

people-2572172__340
Image Credit: Pixabay.com

Some possible consequences of lack of sleep include:

 

woman-2197947__340
Image Credit: Pixabay.com

Some possible benefits of sleep include:

Sleep therefore, is more than just the body needing to rest.  Sleep allows for restoration, healing and balance.  It is literally, the body’s reset and refresh buttons.

However, it should be noted that although too little sleep can be harmful to health, too much sleep can also be just as damaging.  Some side effects of over sleeping include: higher risk for heart disease, more likely to struggle with weight issues, may develop diabetes, trouble concentrating and even increased risk of dying prematurely although no specific correlation has been determined.

Going forward, we should not simply see sleep as an option on your To- Do-List but make it a priority.  Of course, keeping in mind that it is not something that should be regularly abused by taking more than we need. We need to strive for balance and use the sleep guide above to help us and those we love get the rest that we need.  Adequate sleep could mean the difference between a healthy, happy life and an unhealthy and unhappy one.

Good health and overall wellness is not just limited to good nutrition and exercise but clearly our sleeping patterns as well.

Have a wonderful day and an amazing weekend. Don’t forget to get enough sleep. 🙂

God bless each of you.

Thank you for making this blog one of your stops on this journey called life.

 

 

Health and Wellness Fridays – Kale

Welcome back to Health and Wellness Fridays!

Today, centre stage we have kale.  Some say it is the king of all the super greens, others call it the “queen of greens” but whatever name you give it at the end of this post hopefully we’ll agree that it is definitely one of the world’s healthiest foods.

Image Credit: Pixabay.com

Kale is a vegetable and it’s a member of the Brassica family along with cabbages, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.  There are so many varieties of kale.  If you didn’t know you might probably mistake it for just another beautiful flower.

Let’s take a look at some below.

Image Credit: Pixabay.com
  • Common kale: is the most common type found in supermarkets. It has large, frilly edged leaves and long stems. The colour can range from light to dark green with a slightly bluish hue at times. It has a slightly sweet taste.
  • Lacinato Kale also known as Dinosaur Kale or Tuscan kale: is an Italian variety of kale. It has crinkly leaves and is dark purplish and green. It has a sweet but slightly spicy flavour.
  • Ornamental kale:  although referred to as “ornamental” is actually edible but be warned the leaves are somewhat coarse and bitter in taste. It has a frilly and fluffy appearance.  Its colour can range from pink to purple to magenta. This colourful variety because of its beauty is often used for displays.
  • Red Russian Kale:  have bluish-green leaves with a red rib. They have frilly edges but they are not as frilly as those of common kale. It is also more tender and sweeter than common kale.
  • White Kale: has frilly white leaves and is slightly peppery in taste.

What’s in it?

Kale is packed with nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese and copper.  It’s a very good source of vitamin B6, fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamin E and vitamin B2.  If that was not enough, you’ll also find iron, magnesium, vitamin B1, omega 3 fats, phosphorus, protein, folate, vitamin B3 and 45 different flavonoids.  Kale is clearly not a super green to be taken at face value.

Now that we have gotten the nutritional profile out-of-the-way let’s get into the good stuff that is, what is it good for? 

Some benefits of kale include:

  1. Anti-aging
  2. Anti-oxidant
  3. Anti-inflammatory
  4. Anti-cancer
  5. Lower cholesterol
  6. Detoxification
  7. Supports vision health
  8. Supports brain health
  9. Good for skin and hair
  10. Good for bones
  11. Support weight loss
  12. Support immune system
  13. Help with depression
  14. Control blood sugar

Kale has the potential to do amazing things but what is the best way to use it?  Some people like to eat kale raw others prefer to cook it. Whatever method you choose, be sure to wash it thoroughly before consuming.

You could add them to salads, sandwiches or as a side to a dish whatever you feel inspired to do. Cosmopolitan.com has offered 19 ways to cook kale that would blow your mind. Feel free to check them out if you’re looking for inspiration in the kitchen or just want to try something new.

Some possible side effects

Kale has come under suspicion as being goitrogenic, a substance that can lead to swelling or dysfunction of the thyroid gland.

Recent studies, however, show that kale and its cruciferous cousins do not interfere with thyroid function in healthy people.

One article has stated that even those suffering from hypothyroidism can eat as much kale as they want as long as it is cooked.

I suggest talking to your doctor to be safe. What might be okay for me, might not be okay for you – so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Additionally, persons who use beta-blockers need to exercise moderation when consuming foods high potassium, especially if your kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, it could be fatal.

People taking blood thinners should also be particularly careful because kale’s high content of vitamin K promotes clotting.

Kale contains oxalates which have been identified as a contributor to the formation of kidney stones. However, according to University of Chicago kidney specialist Dr. Fredric Coe, although kale does contain oxalates it has very small amounts unlike spinach which has large amounts of oxalates which can cause the formation of kidney stones.

All in all, kale is a great food that has a lot to offer but moderation is advised.  For safety consult your health care provider.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great weekend!

Sources: