11 Healthy Benefits of Kale

Bunch of organic kale in a woven basket on a rustic wooden background. Selective focus, shallow dof

Since we first called kale the new beef in 2011, we thought it might be time to revisit this nutritionally dense vegetable.

Nutritional Benefits of Kale

If kale has been praised as a super-vegetable in recent years, it’s no doubt thanks to its rich nutritional breakdown. Kale hails from the cruciferous vegetable family, like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, and like other crucifers, kale is extremely nutritionally dense. Here are just some of its nutritional perks (all measurements are for 1 cup (67 g) of chopped, raw kale):

  • 33.5 calories
  • 1.3 g dietary fiber
  • 547 mg Vitamin K (684% DV)
  • 10302 IU Vitamin A (206% DV)
  • 80.4 mg Vitamin C (134% DV)
  • 90.5 mg calcium (9% DV)
  • .5 mg manganese (26% DV)
  • 1.1 mg iron (6% DV)
  • 299 mg potassium (9%)

Given this array of nutritional perks, it’s no wonder that kale offers a host of nutritional benefits.

1. Kale Wards off Cancer

Kale has been highlighted by the National Cancer Institute as one of the best anti-carcinogenic vegetables out there. Thanks to sulfur-containing glucosinolates, which are broken down through chewing and digesting into anti-cancer compounds including indoles and nitriles, kale can actually inhibit the development of cancer in the body. These compounds protect cells from DNA damage and help to deactivate carcinogens in the body.

In addition, kale boasts antioxidant properties, which Alyson Greiter, RD, LND, clinical oncology dietician at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center, says can “protect cells from free radical damage that may lead to cancerous formations in our bodies, thus making it a cancer-fighting food.”

2. Kale Boosts Immunity

Dr. Serena Goldstein, a New York naturopath, attributes kale’s immunity-boosting properties to its richness in vitamins A, C, and K.

Its immune-enhancing effects are also linked to compounds in the vegetable that keep immunoglobulin A, the antibody responsible for maintaining and enhancing the mucus lining of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, from breaking down. This antibody is crucial for keeping the body’s line of defense against bacteria and viruses strong.

3. Kale Can Boost Metabolism

Kale has been shown by some to boost metabolism thanks to its richness in vitamin C, but watch out — vegetables like kale and cauliflower have actually been shown to slow metabolism in some cases, especially if eaten raw in large quantities. Try steaming at least some of your kale to counteract this.

4. Kale Promotes Heart Health

Kale contains bile acid sequestrants, which are compounds that can help lower cholesterol levels in the body, thus, in time, leading to better heart health.

According to Greiter, steaming kale only increases these benefits, as it increases the binding ability of these sequestrants, thus lowering cholesterol levels even more significantly.

5. Kale Helps the Body Absorb Iron

As you probably already know, a food containing healthy nutrients is just part of the battle – our body also needs to be able to adequately absorb them. Luckily, kale brings both to the table. Not only is kale a rich vegan source of iron, it also contains vitamin C, which helps with iron absorption. Some studies have shown that just 100 milligrams of ascorbic acid increased iron absorption by 4.14 times; all the more reason to dress your kale salads with a citrus dressing.

6. Kale Strengthens Bones

While most associate bone health with vitamin D and calcium, those aren’t the only important vitamins and minerals to worry about. According to Annemarie Colbin, PhD, author of “Food and Our Bones: The Natural Way to Prevent Osteoporosis,” green vegetables are just as – if not more – important. She says that the calcium, vitamin K, and potassium combo found in kale makes it an ideal bone health food.

7. Kale Contributes to Skin Health

Kale is also essential for skin health. Its vitamin C content helps create the collagen needed for skin strength, and its richness in copper boosts the synthesis of melanin, protecting your skin from the sun. Add to that vitamin A, which promotes healthy cell growth and helps prevent against skin diseases, and antioxidants, which prevent the effects of ultraviolet radiation on the skin, and kale is a regular healthy skin cocktail.

8. Kale Aids in Detoxing

Kale is one of your best allies in detoxing, according to naturopathic doctor Dr. Gabrielle Francis. “The chlorophyll in kale makes it a potent chelating agent, which means it binds to toxins and heavy metals and pulls them out of our cells,” she says.

In addition, kale’s high Diindoylymethane (DIM) content means that kale protects us against toxic estrogens coming from pesticides and plastics and clears them out of our systems.

9. Kale Improves Blood Health

Kale can also help improve blood health, according to Goldstein, thanks to its vitamin K and iron content. Vitamin K helps improve the blood’s ability to clot, while iron is important for the health of red blood cells.

10. Kale Helps with Weight Loss

Kale can be an important tool for weight loss due to its low calorie and fat content and richness in fiber. This makeup, which it shares with other crucifers and leafy greens, means that while kale is very nutrient dense, it is also calorie poor and filling. By including kale in your diet, you are more likely to feel full and thus less likely to overeat.

11. Kale Supports Eye Health

Lutein is more commonly associated with carrots, but kale also contains this important carotenoid, along with zeaxanthin. Together, these carotenoids block against ultraviolet light, helping to keep your eyes from being damaged by the sun.

A Word of Warning

Almost as soon as kale became popular, people started warning against the overconsumption of kale, which has been linked to thyroid problems.

“Kale is a goitrogenic, which means that consumed raw it may inhibit thyroid function, an important gland for metabolism,” explains Goldstein. “However, reported cases tend to be many cups at a time. You can mitigate these effects by cooking, steaming, or another type of heat application for even a few minutes.”

In addition, this warning is really only a concern if you have a preexisting condition, as Lori Kenyon Farley and Marra St. Clair, the co-authors of The Juice Cleanse Reset Diet Book and cofounders of Project Juice, explain. “If you have hypo-thyroidism, you do have to be cautions of consuming kale and other cruciferous vegetables,” they say. “If you have normal thyroid function, there is no danger to consuming kale.”

How to Buy Kale

There are more than 50 different types of kale, but some are far more common than others. Feel free to vary the kind of kale you use in your kitchen; Goldstein says that there is no difference in nutritional benefits amongst the different varieties, so you’ll just be adding flavor and color to your plate..

  • Curly green kale is perhaps the most common variety of kale. It gets its name from the curly shape of its leaves, which are tightly ruffled and need to be washed well. It has a slightly bitter flavor reminiscent of other cabbages.
  • Curly kale is also available in red and white versions, both of which are a bit stronger and more peppery in flavor than green kale, which may be why they are not quite as popular.
  • Lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale, has more textured, darker leaves and a sweeter, nuttier flavor
  • Red Russian kale has flat, fringed leaves and, according to Goldstein, is one of the sweetest kales out there.
  • Redbor kale is dark red and often ornamental, though it can be edible. It is bright magenta in color.
  • Premier kale is a newer variety that stands up quite well to cold.
  • Siberian kale’s big leaves are some of the hardiest out there. While easy to grow, Siberian kale can be a bit tough.
  • Walking stick kale is one unusual variety that can grow up to six feet in height.

Whatever kale you choose, Goldstein says to be sure to pick supple leaves that don’t break easily or show any discoloration. It’s also important to opt for organic kale, especially if you consume a lot of it – while it does not rank on EWG’s dirty dozen, it is in the EWG Dirty Dozen Plus category.

“Leafy greens like kale and collard greens do not meet the traditional Dirty Dozen ranking criteria but were frequently found to be contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system,” explain Farley and St. Clair.

Kale Recipes

Kale can be prepared in a myriad of ways, both raw and cooked. Here are just a few of our favorite ways to prepare kale:

  • This roasted squash is stuffed with farro, feta, and kale for a flavorful vegetarian main.
  • Kale salads are a favorite, particularly this one, with millet, dried sour cherries, and pistachios.
  • This unique granola is flavored with kale.
  • This kale pesto is a great pasta and bruschetta topping.
  • Kale chips are one of America’s favorite kale snacks.
  • Green smoothies are a great way to add kale to your diet — this one pairs kale with ginger.

2016-03-01T11:02:09+00:00

Related Questions

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    Q: I read in a health article that Kale may not be the best for people with Gallbladder problems. Is this true, or false? We are taking your Liver and Gallbladder. I works very well. We have started to eat vegan, and raw food diet.

    A:

    Fresh, organic, raw Kale is excellent for the entire body! Eat up and enjoy! Glad you are enjoying our Liver-Gallbladder Formula!

    Article:
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    Q: For the last 2 weeks, I've been eating only raw foods. My daily intake mainly consist of snow beans, green beans (string beans), kale, carrots, a small amount butter and crackers, bananas, apples, pears, lettuce, tomatoes, dates, spinach and filtered water. My question is: Am I getting the required nutrients and how would I know if I were not and specifically, how would I know what nutrient was missing. I also take the MALE HORMONAL FORMULA and JACKRABBIT FORMULA (regardless of whether I intend to engage in sexual activity).

    A:

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    A:

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    A:

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    Q: Good morning. I tried the WEIGHT RELEASE CLEANSE AND REGIMEN and followed the diet. I must say that I am amazed at how good I feel. Energetic and focused but alas, I only lost 3 pounds in the 3 weeks. I am 5'5 and currently at 181 pounds. My body is extremely resistant to weight loss. I have done several different types of detox including the IZO juice cleanse in the last year and had not lost weight. I don't even seem to respond to a very low calorie diet. I do have elevated liver Enzyme levels and a recent blood test showed low B6 vitamin and not proper protein digestion. I exercise 3 times a week and I eat rather health and mostly organic. Please HELP. Thanks

    A:

    This means that your body focused on another area that was of more importance than weight release. your mind wanted weight reduction but your body intelligence focused on something else. Go with the flow of the body intelligence and trust it. You apparently have an energetic block that prevents you from physically releasing weight (since you've tried other programs). Consider scheduling a consultation so we can get at the energetic/emotional root of your problem. Simply stop worrying about "losing" weight. Focus on what you desire (to see yourself in the size you desire). Don't focus on what you don't want (i.e. to lose weight).

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    Q: I am an African American, 70 years old, and in good health and physical condition. I jog/walk 1 1/2 miles 5 days a week, do pushups and sit ups daily. But, I have low bone density, on the following medication: once a month Itake 1 capsule of Ergocalciferl 50,000 mg; once a week I take 1 tablet of Alendronate 70mg (Fosamax) a week (same day), and daily one tablet of calcium 500 with Vitamin D, and a multi-vitamin tablet. My questions are: 1) is there a herbal product to replace each, Ergocalciferl, Alendronate, Vitamin D, and what do you recommend for a multi-vitamin purpose and something to boost my energy level? Thanks, I will wait to receive your response.

    A:

    I would recommend you take KHEMETIAN GOLD, ELECTRIC GREENS CELL FOOD, IRON PHOSPHATE FORMULA, and CALCIUM FORMULA to replace these products you listed that are harmful to you. All of the above will nourish you with the necessary nutrients your body requires.

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    Q: I usually take a few supplements a day.... vitamin E, flax, vitamin c, and calcium/magnesium. I am wondering if they are still necessary to take while on a raw food diet and the anti viral cleanse?

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    NO, you don't need to take anything additionally while on the Anti-Viral kit and regimen.

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    Q: My dog has kidney disease and is ill. The vitamin supplement I use has helped and KD food for kidney. However, he is anemic due to low red blood count hormone in kidney that makes bone marrow produce more red blood cells. I am searching for product to stimulate production of red blood cells soonest.

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    Q: First off, let me say, I am soooo happy to have caught the DHERBS advertising while listening to WVON radio in Chicago, IL. This is a very professional, informed and wholistic website. Kudos to the DHERBS team! Secondly, I currently don't take a vitamin/mineral supplemant, but was leaning to the Green Vibrance powder product (are you familiar with this brand), as I've talked to several health food reps, and they spoke of it's popularity within the health industry, the need for vitamins/minerals from a natural green source, and it's potency over pills, being that it's a powder and will digest better, versus pills which come from potentially harmful, scientific sources and, since they're in pill form, aren't absorbed by the body 100%. I was hoping to get a DHERB rep's opinion on GREEN VIBRANCE versus your mineral/vitamin supplemants. I hope you'd be unbiased, as you'd be commenting on a competitor product, as I truly am searching for the best product. I thank you in advance for your time and reply!

    A:

    I am delighted you enjoy the Dherbs website. Thank you for your words! Green Vibrance is a pretty good product and would supply you with much needed nutrition as mostly all green foods will. My only concern with the product (Green Vibrance) is the mixing of ingredients. I don't believe in mixing fruits with greens due to the mixture of acids and alkalines. A green food product should be TOTALLY "green foods" only and nothing else. Green Vibrance mixes citrus/acids i.e. grape seed extract, acerola berry juice powder with green foods in addition to bee pollen, royal jelly, wheat germ, etc. Also, as a vegan (strict vegetarian), I object to BEE POLLEN and ROYAL JELLY being used. These are from living entities (insects/animals). I also object to SOY as well which is in the product! Other than this, Green Vibrance is a great product that I would endorse as a source of organic nutrition and dietary fiber. Dherbs MULTI-VITAMINS AND MINERALS FORMULA and other products that are in pill form are in VEGAN capsules that dissolve 100%. At Dherbs.Com, we only use the BEST! Our product is 100% botanical! However, as far as absorption, NOTHING absorbs better than liquid and nothing is better as a source of minerals, vitamins, amino acids than FULVIC ACID which we sell as KHEMETIAN GOLD. This stuff is POWERFUL! 1000% pure nutrition! Do your research on Fulvic and Humic Acid and you'll see why I'm saying what I'm saying! So basically, Beloved, either way (Green Vibrance or VITAMIN B COMPLEX and/or KHEMETIAN GOLD) you'll be getting much needed nutrition! It's your choice! We value and respect free will and we don't believe in competition nor do we have to belittle, negate, or condemn another product or company to make a sale. Our primary concern is that people get what they need nutrition-wise and it doesn't have to come from us. Our goal is not to just sell products, but to properly educate people about human health and that's why we offer 175+ free articles in addition to 100+ products! Peace and Love --- and thank you for your interest in Dherbs.Com! p.s. - read our testimonials on our site and listen to (read about) the American people on what they are experiencing with Dherbs.Com products!

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    Q: I am trying to find an all-organic multi-vitamin to replace the vitamin I?m currently taking. Does your multi-vitamins and minerals include Vitamins A, all B's, D, E, K, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium? Should any of your other formulas be taking along with it?

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    Our Multi-Vitamins and Minerals includes all the nutrients you named below. You may take this formula with other Dherbs formulas.

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    Q: I have white spots over 40 percent on my body and some very dry scaly dark spots on parts of my body. I read some place in one of your articles that with these specific herbs regardless of the skin disorder these herbs will help to reverse the disorder regardless of skin condition. Second I don’t have health insurance so I’m looking to you for help. Please help me. I don’t trust doctors. You go see a doctor for one issue and he prescribes a drug, next thing you know your back with five new problems and more drugs. So is there a combination of herbs for optimum health and well being? Something that will produce excellent health preventing any invader of any kind harming me. Protecting every important organ for optimum health and well being (i.e. colon, heart, lungs, liver). I just want to be 100 percent straight with excellent health

    A:

    Detox (FULL BODY DETOX) and then perform the 10-DAY ELECTRIC GREENS CELL FOOD CLEANSE. these kits should reboot your system.

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    Q: I am taking Electric Green Cell Food Formula, Iodine, Vitamin C Formula, and Vitamin E. Does taking the first three give me all the vitamins, mineral, and protein I need on a daily basis?

    A:

    You are taking all that you need, and getting 100% nutrition!

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    Q: Is it necessary or important to take the Vitamin D formula with the Calcium formula, since the Vitamin D absorbs and utilize the the calcium?

    A:

    Because it's herbal - not really! But it helps to take these 2 formulas together.

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    Q: I had my annual physical in November 2008, where it was determined that my Vitamin D levels were low (17). I did the Full Body Detox in January, which was great. I ordered and started taking the Vitamin D pills after the detox. I went to the Dr. in March, and was retested for the Vitamin D deficiency. My levels had dropped even lower to 8. Was there something else I should have been taking with the Vitamin D?

    A:

    When working on the blood you should never isolate (like only be concerned with Vitamin D levels). The body is holistic, and so is the blood. Focus on the entire blood. You should take (in addition to the Vitamin D) Blood and Lymphatic Formula, Iron Phosphate, and Vitamin C Formula. These help cleanse, purify, and rebuild the blood.

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    Q: Can I take the Moringa Formula instead of the Vitamin C formula, and still get the necessary nutrients that my body needs from Vitamin C? My daily regime will goes as follows: Electric Green Combo, Iodine, and Moringa Formula or/and Vitamin C based on your answer. Thanks.

    A:

    You sure can! Ounce per ounce it contains 6 to 7 times the amount of Vitamin C in orange juice. Although moringa will provide you with a plethra of vitamins and nutrients, you still must eat foods that also bring you these nutrients. Supplements are just that, something added to help complete a diet or dietary needs.

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    Q: I have completed FULL BODY DETOX and the ANTI-VIRAL CLEANSE AND REGIMEN. I have ordered the ELECTRIC GREENS CELL FOOD. How many do I take per day? Can I also order theBLOOD AND LYMPHATIC FORMULA ? IMMUNE SUPPORT and VITAMIN C FORMULA to take each day along with the green capsules? Will this help me to maintain my optimum health to avoid illness?

    A:

    TAKE 3-6 CAPSULES A DAY. YOU MOST CERTAINLY CAN!!! YOU BET IT WILL!

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    Q: I recently received my order for several vitamin supplements suggested. I am taking all of them except the IRON PHOSPHATE FORMULA. I had a concern about it causing constipation. After two days I stopped taking it. Either it was a coincidence or maybe not but I had trouble having a bowel movement. 2) After I stopped that second day, I heard from Dr. Oz on Oprah that post-menopausal women should not take iron.

    A:

    Our IRON PHOSPHATE FORMULA could never cause constipation. It is 100% natural! It appears you have created constipation through your mind. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read our MENTAL SCIENCE MANUAL! so you can use your mind to heal and not make yourself sick!

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    Q: I would like to know if that was you on the Al Sharpton show, Monday morning. The show is called “keeping it realâ€. My second question is, do you have any products that would help melasma. So many black women and men suffer with this [facial] hyperpigmentation. The only product that I know that really helps is hydroquinone that many women use today to lighten [bleach] their skin tones. I do not want to use it for that purpose; I have a beautiful skin tone. I just need to lighten the pigmentation that has changed my complexion. The darken colorations make me look older than what I am. I see a lot us blacks with this problem. It is unfortunate that the only product that seems to alleviate the problem is not safe. By the way, I do use sunscreen, only on my face; I allow the rest of my skin to get some sun for its great vitamin D benefits. Thanks

    A:

    Work on cleansing your blood, as the skin manifests the condition of the blood. Try our Blood & Lymphatic Formula.

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    Q: I am on day 17 of the Full Body Detox. It has been wonderful, although I have slipped up and made some bad food choices I have been able to stick to eating salads and Fruit and nuts. I have lost 5 pounds overall. I have Cogan's Syndrome. I stopped taking my azathioprine, Iron pill, and fish oils while on the Detox. I feel great aside from my Tinnitus in my left ear is ringing tremendously loud. Other than that I feel great. My skin looks so much better. My prednisone steroid hump in my back has gone away. My teeth look whiter. My eyes are whiter. Blemishes are gone. I just don't know what to do after I am done with this detox. I know that I need to continue with this particular diet because it is good to & for me. I can do that, however I just don't want to have low iron, tinnitus, or vertigo spells. What would you recommend I take after the full body cleanse. My mother has seen a difference in me and so has my husband. I love this, I can't wait to see my rheumatologist so he can tell me that my Cogan's Syndrome is in remmission. What should I do next?

    A:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. We're so happy to hear that the cleanse is going well for you. We suggest trying the Ear Oil to help bring relief from tinnitus. You can also try the Joint Aid and the MSM Sulfur to help specifically help address arthritis. If you're experiencing eye issues from Cogan's Syndrome we suggest using the Eye Formula. Continuing with a balanced diet is best as it is responsible for some of the success you were able to achieve with the cleanse. We suggest consuming two raw meals a day and one of your choice to help continue the healing process.

    Please take the time to read the article:

    Arthritis-http://www.dherbs.com/articles/causes-arthritis-34.html

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    MSM Sulfur -http://www.dherbs.com/store/msm-sulfur-p-49.html

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    Q: My question is regarding fibroids. I have been told I have had fibroids about the size of someone 3 months pregnant. I have been told there are two in clusters. They gave me the diameters, but I don't have that information at this time. My OB/GYN has told me he believes it is causing me to be slightly anemic. I have been trying some remedies on my own like more exercise and a change in diet. My primary physician does not recommend surgery she has me taking iron ferrous sulfate supplements twice per day to help with my iron count. It seems to be helping. The only problem I have with taking the iron supplements is that it sometimes causes constipation and I am normally pretty regular. I usually eliminate 2 times per day sometimes 3. My OB/GYN on the other hand keeps pushing for me to having surgery.& amp; nbsp; They had me take BC pills, however I took myself off of them because they made me sick. I took them only for 6 months. I'm 45 and have never taken BC pills ever and I don't want to start now. I've never been pregnant. I flow heavy on my 2nd and 3rd day heavy and after that it is manageable. My cycle has improved however I want to reduce the flow on those days if possible and of course dissolve the fibroid if at all possible. Doctors tell me they won't go away unless removed. I used to be on my cycle for 7 days and 4 of those days were heavy. Now I'm normally on for 4 days and only the 2nd and 3rd day are heavy. I know that as I reach menopause they may shrink in size, however I'm still aways off from that. I eat no red meat however I do eat fish and poultry. I eat a pretty good balance of vegetables and fruits, mostly raw and steamed. I drink lactaid milk. I don't eat much dairy except cheese and eggs occasionally. I do have a weakness, I love potato chips. I know this is not good. I can feel the fibroid get bigger when I eat them. When I stop for a period of time it decreases in size. At least I feel like it does. I'm not a sugar craver, however during the week before my cycle I'll crave sweets. I usually resist. I feel it's my diet that has caused the fibroids as well as every female in my family has had a hysterectomy due to fibroids. I think it is also hereditary as well. Whatever the case I'd like to know what regimen can you put me on that will help me? The goal is to reduce or dissolve the size of the fibroid so it is not affecting my iron level. I'm also starting to see my abdomen get bigger when I've always had a flat stomach. Perhaps this is me just getting older, however I think it's the fibroids. Constant low levels over time can't be good. I hope I have provided you enough information to give me your recommendation. If not please feel free to e-mail me for any additional information you need. I'm looking for a natural cure. Outside of this condition I'm in very good health. No problem with weight, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. I'm pretty athletic and active as well. Please advise. I look forward to your recommendation.

    A:

    I remember just recently e-mailing you on this inquiry. Your diet MUST CHANGE! Consider full fledged RAW FOODS and VEGAN diet during your healing transition. Lactaid milk is HORRIBLE for you. Did you read our â€FIBROID TUMORS†article?????? You need to keep on performing FULL BODY DETOX followed by Fibroid Buster kit and regimen, back to back! Continuously! Detoxing must become a lifestyle for you! For iron, consider Dherbs.Com IRON PHOSPHATE FORMULA and MOON CYCLE FORMULA. Also, consider a telephone consultation because time is greatly limited in writing back in response to inquiries. There is much healing for you, Beloved!