Benefits of K2 vitamins
The health benefits of vitamin K2 go far beyond blood clotting, which is done by vitamin K1, and vitamin K2 also works synergistically with a number of other nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D. Its biological role is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-suppl…gredientId=983&activeIngredientName=VITAMIN K

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_K2

Vitamin K2 or menaquinone (/ˌmɛnəˈkwɪnoʊn/) has nine related compounds, generally subdivided into the short-chain menaquinones (with MK-4 as the most important member) and the long-chain menaquinones, of which MK-7, MK-8 and MK-9 are nutritionally the most recognized.

Vitamin K2, the main storage form in animals, has several subtypes, which differ in isoprenoid chain length. These vitamin K2 homologues are called menaquinones, and are characterized by the number of isoprenoid residues in their side chains. Menaquinones are abbreviated MK-n, where M stands for menaquinone, the K stands for vitamin K, and the n represents the number of isoprenoid side chain residues. For example, menaquinone-4 (abbreviated MK-4) has four isoprene residues in its side chain. Menaquinone-4 (also known as menatetrenone from its four isoprene residues) is the most common type of vitamin K2 in animal products since MK-4 is normally synthesized from vitamin K1 in certain animal tissues (arterial walls, pancreas, and testes) by replacement of the phytyl tail with an unsaturated geranylgeranyl tail containing four isoprene units, thus yielding menaquinone-4. This homolog of vitamin K2 may have enzyme functions distinct from those of vitamin K1.

Menaquinone-7 is different from MK-4 in that it is not produced by human tissue. MK-7 may be converted from phylloquinone (K1) in the colon by E. coli bacteria.[1] However, bacterially derived menaquinones (MK-7) appear to contribute minimally to overall vitamin K status.[2][3] MK-4 and MK-7 are both found in the United States in dietary supplements for bone health.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any form of vitamin K for the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis; however, MK-4 has been shown to decrease the incidence of fractures up to 87%.[4] MK-4 (45 mg daily) has been approved by the Ministry of Health in Japan since 1995 for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.[5]

All K vitamins are similar in structure: they share a “quinone” ring, but differ in the length and degree of saturation of the carbon tail and the number of “side chains”.[6] The number of side chains is indicated in the name of the particular menaquinone (e.g., MK-4 means that four molecular units – called isoprene units – are attached to the carbon tail) and this influences the transport to different target tissues.

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What’s New and Beneficial About Kale

  • Kale can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in kale do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw kale still has cholesterol-lowering ability—just not as much.
  • Kale’s risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.
  • Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.
  • Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale’s flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.

WHFoods Recommendations
You’ll want to include kale as one of the cruciferous vegetables you eat on a regular basis if you want to receive the fantastic health benefits provided by the cruciferous vegetable family. At a minimum, we recommend 3/4 cup of cruciferous vegetables on a daily basis. This amount is equivalent to approximately 5 cups per week. A more optimal intake amount would be 1-1/2 cups per day, or about 10 cups per week. You can use our Veggie Advisor for help in figuring out your best cruciferous vegetable options.

Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables around and one way to be sure to enjoy the maximum nutrition and flavor from kale is to cook it properly. We recommend Healthy Steaming kale for 5 minutes. To ensure quick and even cooking cut the leaves into 1/2″ slices and the stems into 1/4″ lengths. Let them sit for at least 5 minutes to enhance their health-promoting qualities before steaming. See our Healthiest Way of Cooking Kale in the How to Enjoy section below.

Kale, cooked
1.00 cup
(130.00 grams)
Calories: 36
GI: very low

NutrientDRI/DV

vitamin K1180%

vitamin A98%

vitamin C71%

manganese27%

copper22%

vitamin B611%

fiber10%

calcium9%

potassium8%

iron7%

vitamin E7%

vitamin B27%

magnesium6%

vitamin B16%

protein5%

phosphorus5%

omega-3 fats5%

vitamin B34%

folate4%

This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Kale provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Kale can be found in theFood Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Kale, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

Health Benefits
While not as well researched as some of its fellow cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cabbage, kale is a food that you can count on for some unsurpassed health benefits, if for no other reason than its exceptional nutrient richness. In our own website food rating system, kale scored 4 “excellents,” 6 “very goods,” and 10 “goods”—for a total of 20 standout categories of nutrient richness! That achievement is difficult for most foods to match.

Antioxidant-Related Health Benefits
Like most of its fellow cruciferous vegetables, kale has been studied more extensively in relationship to cancer than any other health condition. This research focus makes perfect sense. Kale’s nutrient richness stands out in three particular areas: (1) antioxidant nutrients, (2) anti-inflammatory nutrients, and (3) anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates. Without sufficient intake of antioxidants, our oxygen metabolism can become compromised, and we can experience a metabolic problem called “oxidative stress.” Without sufficient intake of anti-inflammatory nutrients, regulation of our inflammatory system can become compromised, and we can experience the problem of chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation—and the combination of these metabolic problems—are risk factors for development of cancer. We’ve seen research studies on 5 specific types of cancer—including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer—and intake of cruciferous vegetables (specifically including kale). As a group, these studies definitely show cancer preventive benefits from kale intake, and in some cases, treatment benefits as well.

Kale’s cancer preventive benefits have been clearly linked to its unusual concentration of two types of antioxidants, namely, carotenoids and flavonoids. Within the carotenoids, lutein and beta-carotene are standout antioxidants in kale. Researchers have actually followed the passage of these two carotenoids in kale from the human digestive tract up into the blood stream, and they have demonstrated the ability of kale to raise blood levels of these carotenoid nutrients. That finding is important because lutein and beta-carotene are key nutrients in the protection of our body from oxidative stress and health problems related to oxidative stress. Increased risk of cataracts, atherosclerosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are three such problems. Also among these chronic health problems is cancer since our overall risk of cells becoming cancerous is partly related to oxidative stress.

Within the flavonoids, kaempferol is a spotlight antioxidant in kale, followed by a flavonoid called quercitin. But recent research has also made it clear that at least 45 different antioxidant flavonoids are provided in measurable amounts by kale. This broad spectrum of flavonoid antioxidants is likely to be a key to kale’s cancer-preventive benefits and benefits that we expect to be documented for other health problems stemming from oxidative stress.

Anti-Inflammatory Health Benefits
We have yet to see research on kale’s omega-3 content and inflammation, but we would expect this kind of research to show the omega-3s in kale to be an important part of kale’s anti-inflammatory benefits. It only takes 100 calories of kale to provide over 350 milligrams for the most basic omega-3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA). We suspect that this amount will be plenty to show direct anti-inflammatory benefits from routine kale intake.

We also have yet to see specific research on inflammation and kale’s vitamin K content. But we know that kale is a spectacular source of vitamin K (one cup of kale provides far more micrograms of vitamin K than any of our World’s Healthiest foods) and we also know that vitamin K is a key nutrient for helping regulate our body’s inflammatory process. Taken in combination, we expect these two facts about vitamin K to eventually get tied together in health research that shows kale to be an exceptional food for lowering our risk of chronic inflammation and associated health problems.

Glucosinolates and Cancer-Preventive Benefits
What we have already seen in the health research on kale is ample evidence that its glucosinolates provide cancer-preventive benefits. Kale is a top food source for at least four glucosinolates, and once kale is eaten and digested, these glucosinolates can be converted by the body into cancer preventive compounds. Kale’s glucosinolates and the ITCs made from them have well-documented cancer preventive properties, and in some cases, cancer treatment properties as well. At the top of the cancer-related research for kale are colon cancer and breast cancer, but risk of bladder cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer have all been found to decrease in relationship to routine intake of kale. The chart below presents a summary of the unusual glucosinlate phytonutrients found in kale, and the anti-cancer ITCs made from them inside the body

Glucosinolates in kale and their detox-activating isothiocyanates
GlucosinolateDerived IsothiocyanateIsothiocyanate Abbreviation
glucobrassicin indole-3-carbinol* I3C
glucoraphanin sulforaphane SFN
gluconasturtiian phenethyl-isothiocyanate PEITC
glucopaeolin benzyl-isothiocyanate BITC
sinigrin allyl-isothiocyanate AITC
* Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is not an isothiocyanate. It’s a benzopyrrole, and it is only formed when isothiocyanates made from glucobrassicin are further broken down into non-sulfur containing compounds.

Cardiovascular Support
You can count on kale to provide valuable cardiovascular support in terms of its cholesterol-lowering ability. Researchers now understand exactly how this support process works. Our liver uses cholesterol as a basic building block to product bile acids. Bile acids are specialized molecules that aid in the digestion and absorption of fat through a process called emulsification. These molecules are typically stored in fluid form in our gall bladder, and when we eat a fat-containing meal, they get released into the intestine where they help ready the fat for interaction with enzymes and eventual absorption up into the body. When we eat kale, fiber-related nutrients in this cruciferous vegetable bind together with some of the bile acids in the intestine in such a way that they simply stay inside the intestine and pass out of our body in a bowel movement, rather than getting absorbed along with the fat they have emulsified. When this happens, our liver needs to replace the lost bile acids by drawing upon our existing supply of cholesterol, and, as a result, our cholesterol level drops down. Kale provides us with this cholesterol-lowering benefit whether it is raw or cooked. However, a recent study has shown that the cholesterol-lowering ability of raw kale improves significantly when it is steamed. In fact, when the cholesterol-lowering ability of steamed kale was compared with the cholesterol-lowering ability of the prescription drug cholestyramine (a medication that is taken for the purpose of lowering cholesterol), kale bound 42% as many bile acids (based on a standard of comparison involving total dietary fiber). Amongst all of the cruciferous vegetables, only collard greens scored higher at 46%.

Other Health-Related Benefits
Kale has a definite role to play in support of the body’s detoxification processes. The isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from kale’s glucosinolates have been shown to help regulate detox activities in our cells. Most toxins that pose a risk to our body must be detoxified by our cells using a two-step process. The two steps in the process are called Phase I detoxification and Phase II detoxification. The ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates have been shown to favorably modify both detox steps (Phase I and Phase II). In addition, the unusually large numbers of sulfur compounds in kale have been shown to help support aspects of Phase II detoxification that require the presence of sulfur. By supporting both aspects of our cellular detox process (Phase I and Phase II), nutrients in kale can give our body an “edge up” in dealing with toxic exposure, whether from our environment or from our food.

We have yet to see studies that look directly at kale and its support for our digestive system. However, we have seen studies for kale’s fellow cruciferous vegetable—broccoli—in this regard, and we definitely expect to see future research that looks directly at kale and our digestive function. We predict that one area of digestive support provided by kale will turn out to involve fiber. We feel that 7 grams of fiber per 100 calories of kale is just too much fiber to fail in the digestive benefits category. We predict that a second area of digestive benefits will involve kale’s glucosinolates. The ITCs make from kale’s glucosinolates should help protect our stomach lining from bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori and should help avoid too much clinging by this bacterium to our stomach wall.

Description
The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around. Although it can be found in markets throughout the year, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste and is more widely available.

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts that have gained recent widespread attention due to their health-promoting, sulfur-containing phytonutrients. It is easy to grow and can grow in colder temperatures where a light frost will produce especially sweet kale leaves. There are several varieties of kale; these include curly kale, ornamental kale, and dinosaur (or Lacinato or Tuscan) kale, all of which differ in taste, texture, and appearance. The scientific name for kale isBrassica oleracea.

Curly kale has ruffled leaves and a fibrous stalk and is usually deep green in color. It has a lively pungent flavor with delicious bitter peppery qualities.

Ornamental kale is a more recently cultivated species that is oftentimes referred to as salad savoy. Its leaves may either be green, white, or purple and its stalks coalesce to form a loosely knit head. Ornamental kale has a more mellow flavor and tender texture.

Dinosaur kale is the common name for the kale variety known as Lacinato or Tuscan kale. It features dark blue-green leaves that have an embossed texture. It has a slightly sweeter and more delicate taste than curly kale.

History
Like broccoli, cauliflower, and collards, kale is a descendent of the wild cabbage, a plant thought to have originated in Asia Minor and to have been brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. Curly kale played an important role in early European foodways, having been a significant crop during ancient Roman times and a popular vegetable eaten by peasants in the Middle Ages. English settlers brought kale to the United States in the 17th century.

Both ornamental and dinosaur kale are much more recent varieties. Dinosaur kale was discovered in Italy in the late 19th century. Ornamental kale, originally a decorative garden plant, was first cultivated commercially as in the 1980s in California. Ornamental kale is now better known by the name salad savoy.

How to Select and Store
Look for kale with firm, deeply colored leaves and moist hardy stems. Kale should be displayed in a cool environment since warm temperatures will cause it to wilt and will negatively affect its flavor. The leaves should look fresh, be unwilted, and be free from signs of browning, yellowing, and small holes. Choose kale with smaller-sized leaves since these will be more tender and have a more mild flavor than those with larger leaves. Kale is available throughout the year, although it is more widely available, and at its peak, from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring.

To store, place kale in a plastic storage bag removing as much of the air from the bag as possible. Store in the refrigerator where it will keep for 5 days. The longer it is stored, the more bitter its flavor becomes. Do not wash kale before storing because exposure to water encourages spoilage.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking
Tips for Preparing Kale
Rinse kale leaves under cold running water. Chop leaf portion into 1/2″ slices and the stems into 1/4″ lengths for quick and even cooking.

The Healthiest Way of Cooking Kale
We recommend Healthy Steaming kale for maximum nutrition and flavor. Fill the bottom of a steamer pot with 2 inches of water. While waiting for the water to come to a rapid boil chop greens. Steam for 5 minutes and toss with our Mediterranean Dressing and top with your favorite optional ingredients. For details see 5-Minute Kale.

How to Enjoy
A Few Quick Serving Ideas

  • Braise chopped kale and apples. Before serving, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and chopped walnuts.
  • Combine chopped kale, pine nuts, and feta cheese with whole grain pasta drizzled with olive oil.

WHFoods Recipes That Feature Kale

Individual Concerns
Kale and Pesticide Residues
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in their 2016 report, Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, conventionally grown kale are contaminated with concentrations of organophosphate insecticides, which are considered to be highly toxic to the nervous system. While they were not among the 12 varieties of produce most concentrated in overall pesticide residues (and therefore not part of the EWG’s traditional “Dirty Dozen”), the EWG felt that this organophosphate concentration was relevant enough to bring attention to kale. They actually renamed their produce category of concern from “Dirty Dozen” to “Dirty Dozen Plus” with kale, collard greens, and hot peppers being the “Plus” conventionally grown produce. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of kale unless it is grown organically.

Kale and Goitrogens
You may sometimes hear kale being described as a food that contains “goitrogens,” or as a food that is “goitrogenic.” For helpful information in this area—including our WHFoods Recommendations—please see our article What is meant by the term “goitrogen” and what is the connection between goitrogens, food, and health?.

Nutritional Profile
Kale is a nutritional standout in three basic areas: (1) antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, (2) much-needed micronutrients (in which the average U.S. adult is currently deficient), and (3) cancer-preventive nutrients called glucosinolates.

Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Nutrients
Kale’s antioxidants are both traditional as well as recently discovered.

In addition to conventional antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese, kale also provides us with at least 45 different recently discovered flavonoids, including kaempferol and quercetin. Many of the flavonoids in kale are also now known to function not only as antioxidants, but also as anti-inflammatory compounds.

Fiber and Anti-Inflammatory Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fiber and omega-3s are two macronutrients largely deficient in the U.S. diet and provided by kale in impressive amounts. It only takes 200 calories’ worth of kale to provide 14 grams of fiber — substantially more than the average U.S. adult gets in an entire day after a diet of 2,000 calories. And while kale is not as concentrated in omega-3s as some of the other cruciferous vegetables—and certainly not in the same category as walnuts or salmon—it still provides us with a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the basic building block for all omega-3 fats. From less than 100 calories’ worth of kale, we can get over 350 milligrams.

Kale and its Cancer-Preventing Phytonutrients
Kale’s special mix of cancer-preventing glucosinolates has been the hottest area of research on this cruciferous vegetable. Kale is an especially rich source of glucosinolates, and once kale is eaten and digested, these glucosinolates can be converted by the body into cancer preventive compounds. Some of this conversion process can also take place in the food itself, prior to consumption.

Also worth noting in kale’s nutritional profile is its vitamin K content. Kale contains nearly twice the amount of vitamin K as most of its fellow cruciferous vegetables.

In addition to the above-cited nutrients, according to our Food Rating System, kale is an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), vitamin C, vitamin K, copper and manganese. It is a very good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B2, iron, magnesium, vitamin B1, omega-3 fatty acids phosphorus, protein, folate and niacin.

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart
In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn’t contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food’s in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients – not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good – please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you’ll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food’s nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling.”Read more background information and details of our rating system.

Kale, cooked
1.00 cup
130.00 grams
Calories: 36
GI: very low
NutrientAmountDRI/DV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating

vitamin K 1062.10 mcg 1180 583.6 excellent
vitamin A 885.36 mcg RAE 98 48.6 excellent
vitamin C 53.30 mg 71 35.1 excellent
manganese 0.54 mg 27 13.4 excellent
copper 0.20 mg 22 11.0 excellent
vitamin B6 0.18 mg 11 5.2 very good
fiber 2.60 g 10 5.1 very good
calcium 93.60 mg 9 4.6 very good
potassium 296.40 mg 8 4.2 very good
vitamin E 1.11 mg (ATE) 7 3.7 very good
vitamin B2 0.09 mg 7 3.4 very good
iron 1.17 mg 7 3.2 good
magnesium 23.40 mg 6 2.9 good
vitamin B1 0.07 mg 6 2.9 good
omega-3 fats 0.13 g 5 2.7 good
phosphorus 36.40 mg 5 2.6 good
protein 2.47 g 5 2.4 good
folate 16.90 mcg 4 2.1 good
vitamin B3 0.65 mg 4 2.0 good
World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating
Rule
excellent DRI/DV>=75% OR
Density>=7.6 AND DRI/DV>=10%
very good DRI/DV>=50% OR
Density>=3.4 AND DRI/DV>=5%
good DRI/DV>=25% OR
Density>=1.5 AND DRI/DV>=2.5%
In-Depth Nutritional Profile
In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, here is an in-depth nutritional profile for Kale. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

Kale, cooked
(Note: “–” indicates data unavailable)
1.00 cup
(130.00 g) GI: very low
BASIC MACRONUTRIENTS AND CALORIES
nutrient
amountDRI/DV
(%)

Protein 2.47 g 5
Carbohydrates 7.32 g 3
Fat – total 0.52 g —
Dietary Fiber 2.60 g 10
Calories 36.40 2
MACRONUTRIENT AND CALORIE DETAIL
nutrient
amountDRI/DV
(%)

Carbohydrate:
Starch — g
Total Sugars 1.62 g
Monosaccharides — g
Fructose — g
Glucose — g
Galactose — g
Disaccharides — g
Lactose — g
Maltose — g
Sucrose — g
Soluble Fiber 1.17 g
Insoluble Fiber 1.43 g
Other Carbohydrates 3.09 g
Fat:
Monounsaturated Fat 0.04 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.25 g
Saturated Fat 0.07 g
Trans Fat 0.00 g
Calories from Fat 4.68
Calories from Saturated Fat 0.61
Calories from Trans Fat 0.00
Cholesterol 0.00 mg
Water 118.56 g
MICRONUTRIENTS
nutrient
amountDRI/DV
(%)

Vitamins
Water-Soluble Vitamins
B-Complex Vitamins
Vitamin B1 0.07 mg 6
Vitamin B2 0.09 mg 7
Vitamin B3 0.65 mg 4
Vitamin B3 (Niacin Equivalents) 1.15 mg
Vitamin B6 0.18 mg 11
Vitamin B12 0.00 mcg 0
Biotin — mcg —
Choline 0.52 mg 0
Folate 16.90 mcg 4
Folate (DFE) 16.90 mcg
Folate (food) 16.90 mcg
Pantothenic Acid 0.06 mg 1
Vitamin C 53.30 mg 71
Fat-Soluble Vitamins
Vitamin A (Retinoids and Carotenoids)
Vitamin A International Units (IU) 17707.30 IU
Vitamin A mcg Retinol Activity Equivalents (RAE) 885.36 mcg (RAE) 98
Vitamin A mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE) 1770.73 mcg (RE)
Retinol mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE) 0.00 mcg (RE)
Carotenoid mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE) 1770.73 mcg (RE)
Alpha-Carotene 0.00 mcg
Beta-Carotene 10624.90 mcg
Beta-Carotene Equivalents 10624.90 mcg
Cryptoxanthin 0.00 mcg
Lutein and Zeaxanthin 23719.80 mcg
Lycopene 0.00 mcg
Vitamin D
Vitamin D International Units (IU) 0.00 IU 0
Vitamin D mcg 0.00 mcg
Vitamin E
Vitamin E mg Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents (ATE) 1.11 mg (ATE) 7
Vitamin E International Units (IU) 1.65 IU
Vitamin E mg 1.11 mg
Vitamin K 1062.10 mcg 1180
Minerals
nutrient
amountDRI/DV
(%)

Boron — mcg
Calcium 93.60 mg 9
Chloride — mg
Chromium — mcg —
Copper 0.20 mg 22
Fluoride — mg —
Iodine — mcg —
Iron 1.17 mg 7
Magnesium 23.40 mg 6
Manganese 0.54 mg 27
Molybdenum — mcg —
Phosphorus 36.40 mg 5
Potassium 296.40 mg 8
Selenium 1.17 mcg 2
Sodium 29.90 mg 2
Zinc 0.31 mg 3
INDIVIDUAL FATTY ACIDS
nutrient
amountDRI/DV
(%)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids 0.13 g 5
Omega-6 Fatty Acids 0.10 g
Monounsaturated Fats
14:1 Myristoleic — g
15:1 Pentadecenoic — g
16:1 Palmitol — g
17:1 Heptadecenoic — g
18:1 Oleic 0.04 g
20:1 Eicosenoic — g
22:1 Erucic — g
24:1 Nervonic — g
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
18:2 Linoleic 0.10 g
18:2 Conjugated Linoleic (CLA) — g
18:3 Linolenic 0.13 g
18:4 Stearidonic — g
20:3 Eicosatrienoic — g
20:4 Arachidonic 0.00 g
20:5 Eicosapentaenoic (EPA) — g
22:5 Docosapentaenoic (DPA) — g
22:6 Docosahexaenoic (DHA) — g
Saturated Fatty Acids
4:0 Butyric — g
6:0 Caproic — g
8:0 Caprylic — g
10:0 Capric — g
12:0 Lauric 0.00 g
14:0 Myristic 0.00 g
15:0 Pentadecanoic — g
16:0 Palmitic 0.06 g
17:0 Margaric — g
18:0 Stearic 0.00 g
20:0 Arachidic — g
22:0 Behenate — g
24:0 Lignoceric — g
INDIVIDUAL AMINO ACIDS
nutrient
amountDRI/DV
(%)

Alanine 0.12 g
Arginine 0.14 g
Aspartic Acid 0.22 g
Cysteine 0.03 g
Glutamic Acid 0.28 g
Glycine 0.12 g
Histidine 0.05 g
Isoleucine 0.15 g
Leucine 0.17 g
Lysine 0.15 g
Methionine 0.02 g
Phenylalanine 0.13 g
Proline 0.15 g
Serine 0.10 g
Threonine 0.11 g
Tryptophan 0.03 g
Tyrosine 0.09 g
Valine 0.14 g
OTHER COMPONENTS
nutrient
amountDRI/DV
(%)

Ash 1.13 g
Organic Acids (Total) — g
Acetic Acid — g
Citric Acid — g
Lactic Acid — g
Malic Acid — g
Taurine — g
Sugar Alcohols (Total) — g
Glycerol — g
Inositol — g
Mannitol — g
Sorbitol — g
Xylitol — g
Artificial Sweeteners (Total) — mg
Aspartame — mg
Saccharin — mg
Alcohol 0.00 g
Caffeine 0.00 mg
Note:
The nutrient profiles provided in this website are derived from The Food Processor, Version 10.12.0, ESHA Research, Salem, Oregon, USA. Among the 50,000+ food items in the master database and 163 nutritional components per item, specific nutrient values were frequently missing from any particular food item. We chose the designation “–” to represent those nutrients for which no value was included in this version of the database.

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What’s New and Beneficial About Swiss Chard

  • We’ve become accustomed to thinking about vegetables as great sources of phytonutrients. Indeed they are! But we don’t always appreciate how unique each vegetable can be in terms of its phytonutrient content. Recent research has shown that chard leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, including kaempferol, the cardioprotective flavonoid that’s also found in broccoli, kale, strawberries, and other foods. But alongside of kaempferol, one of the primary flavonoids found in the leaves of chard is a flavonoid called syringic acid. Syringic acid has received special attention in recent research due to its blood sugar regulating properties. This flavonoid has been shown to inhibit activity of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. When this enzyme gets inhibited, fewer carbs are broken down into simple sugars and blood sugar is able to stay more steady. It makes sense to think about chard as a vegetable whose flavonoid phytonutrients are unique and may offer special benefits for blood sugar control.
  • Like beets, chard is a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. In the betalain family are found reddish-purple betacyanin pigments as well as yellowish betaxanthin pigments. Both types can be found in chard! In the reddish-purple stems of chard and the reddish-purple veins in the leaves, scientists have identified at least 9 betacyanin pigments, including betanin, isobetanin, betanidin, and isobetanidin. In the yellowish stems and veins, at least 19 betaxanthin pigments have been identified, including histamine-betaxanthin, alanine-betaxanthin, tyramine-betaxanthin, and 3-methoxytyramine-betaxanthin. Many of the betalain pigments in chard have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. The detox support provided by betalains includes support of some especially important Phase 2 detox steps involving glutathione. So you can see that in the case of chard, beauty is far from just skin deep!

WHFoods Recommendations
Swiss chard is not only one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean but it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around and ranks second only to spinach following our analysis of the total nutrient-richness of the World’s Healthiest vegetables. It is also one of only three vegetables that we recommend boiling to help reduce its concentration of oxalic acid. Slice leaves 1-inch wide and the stems 1/2-inch wide and boil for just 3 minutes. We only recommend eating the stems of varieties with white stems; colored stems are very tough. For more on the Healthiest Way of Cooking Swiss Chard, see the How to Enjoy section below.

Foods belonging to the chenopod family—including beets, chard, spinach, and quinoa—continue to show an increasing number of health benefits not readily available from other food families. The red and yellow betalain pigments found in this food family, their unique epoxyxanthophyll carotenoids, and the special connection between their overall phytonutrients and our nervous system health (including our specialized nervous system organs like the eye) point to the chenopod family of foods as unique in their health value. While we have yet to see large-scale human studies that point to a recommended minimum intake level for foods from this botanical family, we have seen data on chenopod phytonutrients, and based on this data, we recommend that you include foods from the chenopod family in your diet 1-2 times per week. In the case of a leafy food like Swiss chard, we recommend a serving size of at least 1/2 cup, and even more beneficial, at least one full cup.

Swiss Chard, chopped, boiled
1.00 cup
(175.00 grams)
Calories: 35
GI: very low

NutrientDRI/DV

vitamin K 636%

vitamin A60%

vitamin C42%

magnesium38%

copper32%

manganese29%

potassium27%

vitamin E22%

iron22%

fiber15%

choline12%

vitamin B212%

calcium10%

vitamin B69%

phosphorus8%

protein7%

pantothenic acid6%

zinc5%

vitamin B15%

vitamin B34%

folate4%

selenium3%

This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Swiss chard provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Swiss chard can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Swiss chard, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

 

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How The Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html
The sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to play down the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead, newly released historical documents show.

The internal sugar industry documents, recently discovered by a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that five decades of research into the role of nutrition and heart disease, including many of today’s dietary recommendations, may have been largely shaped by the sugar industry.

“They were able to derail the discussion about sugar for decades,” said Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at U.C.S.F. and an author of the JAMA Internal Medicine paper.

The documents show that a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, known today as the Sugar Association, paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to publish a 1967 review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease. The studies used in the review were handpicked by the sugar group, and the article, which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, minimized the link between sugar and heart health and cast aspersions on the role of saturated fat.

Even though the influence-peddling revealed in the documents dates back nearly 50 years, more recent reports show that the food industry has continued to influence nutrition science.

Last year, an article in The New York Times revealed that Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, had provided millions of dollars in funding to researchers who sought to play down the link between sugary drinks and obesity. In June, The Associated Press reported that candy makers were funding studies that claimed that children who eat candy tend to weigh less than those who do not.

The Harvard scientists and the sugar executives with whom they collaborated are no longer alive. One of the scientists who was paid by the sugar industry was D. Mark Hegsted, who went on to become the head of nutrition at the United States Department of Agriculture, where in 1977 he helped draft the forerunner to the federal government’s dietary guidelines. Another was Dr. Fredrick J. Stare, the chairman of Harvard’s nutrition departmen

In a statement responding to the JAMA journal report, the Sugar Association said that the 1967 review was published at a time when medical journals did not typically require researchers to disclose funding sources. The New England Journal of Medicine did not begin to require financial disclosures until 1984.

The industry “should have exercised greater transparency in all of its research activities,” the Sugar Association statement said. Even so, it defended industry-funded research as playing an important and informative role in scientific debate. It said that several decades of research had concluded that sugar “does not have a unique role in heart disease.”

The revelations are important because the debate about the relative harms of sugar and saturated fat continues today, Dr. Glantz said. For many decades, health officials encouraged Americans to reduce their fat intake, which led many people to consume low-fat, high-sugar foods that some experts now blame for fueling the obesity crisis.

“It was a very smart thing the sugar industry did, because review papers, especially if you get them published in a very prominent journal, tend to shape the overall scientific discussion,” he said.

Dr. Hegsted used his research to influence the government’s dietary recommendations, which emphasized saturated fat as a driver of heart disease while largely characterizing sugar as empty calories linked to tooth decay. Today, the saturated fat warnings remain a cornerstone of the government’s dietary guidelines, though in recent years the American Heart Association, the World Health Organization and other health authorities have also begun to warn that too much added sugar may increase cardiovascular disease risk.

Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, wrote an editorial accompanying the new paper in which she said the documents provided “compelling evidence” that the sugar industry had initiated research “expressly to exonerate sugar as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease.”

“I think it’s appalling,” she said. “You just never see examples that are this blatant.”

Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, said that academic conflict-of-interest rules had changed significantly since the 1960s, but that the industry papers were a reminder of “why research should be supported by public funding rather than depending on industry funding.”

Dr. Willett said the researchers had limited data to assess the relative risks of sugar and fat. “Given the data that we have today, we have shown the refined carbohydrates and especially sugar-sweetened beverages are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but that the type of dietary fat is also very important,” he said.

The JAMA Internal Medicine paper relied on thousands of pages of correspondence and other documents that Cristin E. Kearns, a postdoctoral fellow at U.C.S.F., discovered in archives at Harvard, the University of Illinois and other libraries.

The documents show that in 1964, John Hickson, a top sugar industry executive, discussed a plan with others in the industry to shift public opinion “through our research and information and legislative programs.”

At the time, studies had begun pointing to a relationship between high-sugar diets and the country’s high rates of heart disease. At the same time, other scientists, including the prominent Minnesota physiologist Ancel Keys, were investigating a competing theory that it was saturated fat and dietary cholesterol that posed the biggest risk for heart disease.

Mr. Hickson proposed countering the alarming findings on sugar with industry-funded research. “Then we can publish the data and refute our detractors,” he wrote.

In 1965, Mr. Hickson enlisted the Harvard researchers to write a review that would debunk the anti-sugar studies. He paid them a total of $6,500, the equivalent of $49,000 today. Mr. Hickson selected the papers for them to review and made it clear he wanted the result to favor sugar.

Harvard’s Dr. Hegsted reassured the sugar executives. “We are well aware of your particular interest,” he wrote, “and will cover this as well as we can.”

As they worked on their review, the Harvard researchers shared and discussed early drafts with Mr. Hickson, who responded that he was pleased with what they were writing. The Harvard scientists had dismissed the data on sugar as weak and given far more credence to the data implicating saturated fat.

“Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind, and we look forward to its appearance in print,” Mr. Hickson wrote.

After the review was published, the debate about sugar and heart disease died down, while low-fat diets gained the endorsement of many health authorities, Dr. Glantz said.

“By today’s standards, they behaved very badly,” he said.

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Amazing Health Benefits of Alfalfa : The Father of All Foods: Grow Alfalfa Sprouts in Your Home

Father of All Foods

In the west, it is mainly known as alfalfa sprouts, but the leaves of the mature plant are edible and fine just like the seeds. The alfalfa sprouts are well known for their healing power. Alfalfa cures a wide spectrum of diseases. It is a performance enhancer for athletes, its has power to improve impaired thyroid function. It can be used against menopausal hot flashes, strengthens the heart and prevents night blindness, just to name a few.

How did it get that name?

In Latin, it is called Alfalfa Medicago Sativa. The most suggested explanation for the word Medicago is descended from medication because it is a medicinal herb against many diseases. Yet there are those who argue that it grew mainly in the wild around the North African city of Medea and that is why it has got that name. Alfalfa is derived from the Arabic word “al-fac-facah “which means ” Father of All Foods “which refers to the many phytonutrients including a large variety of vitamins and minerals contained in these sprouts.

A little History

In the Bronze Age, in Iran, Alfalfa was given to horses to make them faster. In China in the 6th century BC, alfalfa used as a remedy for digestive diseases and kidney stones.In Ayurveda, the Indian medicine, its written that alfalfa is good against arthritis. From about 400 BC alfalfa was grown as a medicinal food crop in Europe. The American Indians used alfalfa after processing seeds into flour. In folk medicine, it is used as medicinal vegetable: loss of appetite, anemia, digestive problems such as indigestion, stomach pain and promoting breast milk. Nutritionists confirm that alfalfa the most nutrient-rich food in the world.

The Storehouse of Vitamins and Minerals

For the medicinal properties, the whole alfalfa plant can be used or germinated seeds or leaves. Alfalfa contains more vitamins and minerals than any other plant. In the germinated sprouts the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B17, C, D, E, K and U are in plenty. It contains the minerals potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, selenium, zinc, boron, silicon, chromium, cobalt,manganese, molybdenum, sodium and aluminum.

14 Amino Acids

There are 14 different amino acids in these vegetables, including eight essential: leucine, Isoleucine, phenylalanine, Valine, tryptophan, methionine, threonine and lysine.

Alfalfa Nutritional Facts
Alfalfa Nutritional Facts

Good for Mental Performance

This medicinal herb is a tonic for the pituitary and thyroid. The combination of vitamins, minerals and amino acids provides an increased TRH hormone and works revitalizing, uplifting and invigorating adaptability. By merging these healing forces in the alfalfa sprouts, it can be prescribed as a phytotherapeutic drug in:

  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy, weakness, loss of energy, reduced performance
  • Weakness of memory, decreased alertness
  • Recovery from illness
  • Decreased thyroid function
  • Elevated prolactin

Alfalfa Health Benefits

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CmqFDqShoc?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

Good for Physical Health

This medicinal plant can be used for :

  • Sagging skin, wounds
  • Split hair, brittle nails
  • Osteoporosis, weak bones, cartilage wear
  • Prevention of dental caries
  • Night blindness
  • Increased need for phytonutrients for athletes, young people and pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding: increases both production and quality of milk
  • Malnutrition, impoverished diet, protein deficiency
  • Prevention and cure of scurvy

Alfalfa against Bleeding

Vitamin K, iron and chlorophyll provide extra blood production, it increases the hemoglobin level. Therefore Alfalfa can be used as a medicine for:

  • Anemia
  • Bleeding gums
  • Poor blood clotting
  • Nosebleeds
  • Recovery after bleeding

Alfalfa against Rheumatism and Poisoning

Alfalfa is a mild diuretic. That is, it has a dehydrating effect, excess fluid is excreted rapidly. In addition, it can clean the blood of impurities. In particular, chlorophyll is hereby the active substance. It ensures that heavy metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium, and toxic hydrocarbons, such as PCBs and dioxins are discharged from the body more quickly. It is also deacidifying. Through the combination of these facts, it is an anti-rheumatic agent. Rheumatic diseases are in fact caused by toxins that accumulate in the blood. In herbal medicine the use of alfalfa may be noted as:

  • Edema, prevention of kidney gravel and stones
  • Arthrosis, arthritis, gout
  • Allergy
  • Varicose ulcers
  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • Acidity

Alfalfa against Menopausal Symptoms

Menopausal Symptoms can be countered with phytoestrogens. This bio-identical hormones are healthier than synthetic hormones. There are three types of phytoestrogens found in alfalfa: genistein, and coumestrol biocanine. In addition, it contains a lot of minerals, which also assists against menopausal symptoms. These medicinal properties make it a good medicine against:

  • Menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness
  • Postmenopausal osteoporosis
  • Lack of menstruation
  • Too low estrogen levels

Alfalfa Recipe which you can try

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VztZhsL9ZVc?feature=player_embedded&w=640&h=360]

Alfalfa against Heart Disease

Arteriosclerosis is virtually the beginning of any cardiovascular disease. Chlorophyll helps prevent calcium from adhering to the walls of the blood vessels. Lime or calcium indeed plays a role in atherosclerosis. In addition to calcium deposits, it can oxidize cholesterol and together with calcium adhere to blood vessel walls. This can be avoided by many antioxidants. Alfalfa is a vegetable that is relatively one of the most antioxidant-rich: it actively helps to prevent arteriosclerosis. In addition, alfalfa is a natural blood thinner, strengthens the rutin present the blood vessels. These medicinal properties make alfalfa to be used against:

  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Poor circulation
  • Weak Heart
  • Increased blood pressure

Good for Digestion

Methyl methinine protects and restores damaged liver, intestine and stomach mucosa. It is a digestion-promoting agent in that it contains enzymes. Chlorophyll has a laxative effect and also deodorizing. Moreover, the germinated alfalfa sprouts are an antispasmodic agent. These medicinal properties of alfalfa helps to get rid of:

  • Anorexia
  • Dyspepsia or difficult digestion
  • Weak stomach, prevention of gastric and duodenal ulcers
  • Constipation, bad breath
  • Stomach cramps

Alfalfa to Increase Immunity

The many phytonutrients and especially chlorophyll and L-canavanine provide a resistance increasing effect which alfalfa is a vegetable that virtually keeps all diseases at bay. It not only prevents disease, but fights diseases which already leads. In particular, infectious diseases can be combated with the help of these culinary responsible sprouts. It can be used to lower blood sugar, the probability is very high that you need less insulin if you regularly eat alfalfa. For these reasons, the medicinal sprouts are used against:

  • Infection
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Adult-onset diabetes
  • Type II diabetes
  • Prevention of tumors

The protein content in alfalfa is among the highest of any plant, 18.9%. Milk contains only 3.3%, wheat 13.8%, eggs, 13.1% and beef 16.5%. Alfalfa also contains good amounts of calcium, phosphorus and iron.

DIY: Growing Alfalfa Sprouts in Your Home

Buy seeds and grow them yourself, it takes 3-4 days before they are ready and it is much cheaper . Grow in a in a plain large glass jar. It’s super easy! Plus, homegrown is always the best.

You will need about 1/3 cup seeds. Start by rinsing them a couple times. Use a thin kitchen towel, linen if you have.

Drain. Always hold the jar upside down so that all the water runs out. Repeat about 2 times a day.

The sprouts after two days, start to grow a little tail. Continue pouring in a little water and place the jar upside down. The sprouts grow best in the dark.

After 4 days the sprouts will be ready. When the sprouts start to get big, you should take them out of the closet and let the sunlight make them green. Then you can eat them.

Storing the seeds in the refrigerator. They stay fresh for about 4 days.

 

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Appendix A: Is trigger point therapy too good to be true?

Trigger point therapy isn’t too good to be true: it’s just ordinary good. It can probably relieve some pain cheaply and safely in many cases. Good bang for buck, and little risk. In the world of pain treatments, that’s a good mix.

But pain is difficult and complex, no treatment is perfect, and there is legitimate controversy about the science of trigger points. Their nature remains somewhat puzzling, and the classic image of a tightly “contracted patch” of muscle tissue may well be wrong. What we do know is that people hurt, and it can often be helped.

The Perfect Spots are based on a decade of my own clinical experience as a massage therapist, and years of extensive science journalism on the topic. Want to know more? This is the tip of the iceberg. I’ve written a whole book about it

Picture of the cover of my ebook, Save Yourself from Trigger Points and Myofascial Pain Syndrome.

Not too good to be true.

Just ordinary good. Trigger point therapy isn’t a miracle cure, but it is a valuable life skill. Practically anyone can benefit at least a little, and many will experience significant relief from stubborn aches and pains. The first several sections are free.

Appendix B: Quick Reference Guide to the Perfect Spots

1Perfect Spot No. 1 — Massage Therapy for Tension Headaches

Under the back of the skull must be the single most pleasing and popular target for massage in the human body. No other patch of muscle gets such rave reviews. It has everything: deeply relaxing and satisfying sensations, and a dramatic therapeutic relevance to one of the most common of all human pains, the common tension headache. And no wonder: without these muscles, your head would fall off. They feel just as important as they are. (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: almost anywhere in the head, face and neck, but especially the side of the head, behind the ear, the temples and forehead related to: headache, neck pain, migraine muscle(s): suboccipital muscles (recti capitis posteriores major and minor, obliqui inferior and superior)

2Perfect Spot No. 2 — Massage Therapy for Low Back Pain

This Perfect Spot lives in the “thoracolumbar corner,” a nook between your lowest rib and your spine — right where the stability of the rib cage and thoracic vertebrae gives way to the relative instability of the lumbar spine. It consists of trigger points in the upper-central corner of the quadratus (square) lumborum muscle and in the thick column of muscle that braces the spine, the erector spinae. (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: anywhere in the low back, tailbone, lower buttock, abdomen, groin, side of the hip related to: low back pain, herniated disc muscle(s): quadratus lumborum, erector spinae

3Perfect Spot No. 3 — Massage Therapy for Shin Splints

Perfect Spot No. 3 is in your shins — seemingly an unlikely place for muscle knots! But there is meat there, and if you’ve ever had shin splints then you know just how vulnerable that meat can be. Even if you’ve never suffered so painfully, your shins probably still suffer in silence — latent trigger points in the upper third of the shin that don’t cause symptoms, but are plenty sensitive if you press on them. (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: in the shin, top of the foot, and the big toe related to: shin splints, drop foot, anterior compartment syndrome, medial tibial stress syndrome muscle(s): tibialis anterior

4Perfect Spot No. 4 — Massage Therapy for Neck Pain, Chest Pain, Arm Pain, and Upper Back Pain

Deep within the Anatomical Bermuda Triangle, a triangular region on the side of the neck, is the cantankerous scalene muscle group. Massage therapists have vanished while working in this mysterious area, never to be seen again. The region and its muscles are complex and peculiar, and many lesser-trained massage therapists have low confidence working with them. (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: in the upper back (especially inner edge of the shoulder blade), neck, side of the face, upper chest, shoulder, arm, hand related to: thoracic outlet syndrome, lump in the throat, hoarseness, TMJ syndrome muscle(s): the scalenes (anterior, middle, posterior)

5Perfect Spot No. 5 — Massage Therapy for Tennis Elbow and Wrist Pain

Just beyond your elbow, all the muscles on the back of your forearm converge into a single thick tendon, the common extensor tendon. At the point where the muscles converge, in the muscles that extend the wrist and fingers, lies one of the most inevitable myofascial TrPs in modern civilization: Perfect Spot No. 5. It is constantly and greatly aggravated both by computer usage today and by the use of a pen in simpler times — and by the occasional tennis match, then and now. (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: in the elbow, arm, wrist, and hand related to: carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis), thoracic outlet syndrome, and several more muscle(s): extensor muscles of the forearm, mobile wad (brachioradialis, extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis), extensor digitorum, extensor carpi ulnaris

6Perfect Spot No. 6 — Massage Therapy for Back Pain, Hip Pain, and Sciatica

When you have back pain, buttock pain, hip pain, or leg pain, much or even all of your trouble may well be caused by trigger points in the obscure gluteus medius and minimus muscles, a pair of pizza-slice shaped muscles a little forward of your hip pocket. Other muscles in the region are usually involved as well, such as the gluteus maximus, piriformis, and the lumbar paraspinal muscles. However, the gluteus medius and minimus are a bit special: their contribution to pain in this area is particularly significant, and yet people who have buttock and leg pain rarely suspect that much of it is coming from muscle knots so high and far out on the side of the hip. (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: in the low back, hip, buttocks (especially immediately under the buttocks), side of the thigh, hamstrings related to: sciatica, trochanteric bursitis, low back pain muscle(s): gluteus medius and minimus

7Perfect Spot No. 7 — Massage Therapy for Bruxism, Jaw Clenching, and TMJ Syndrome

Your masseter muscle is your primary chewing muscle — not the only one, but the main one — and it covers the sides of the jaw just behind the cheeks. It’s also the main muscle that clenches your jaw and grinds your teeth, unfortunately, and it’s one of the most common locations for trigger points in the human body. It is probably an accomplice in most cases of bruxism (that’s Latin for “grinding your teeth”) and temporomandibular joint syndrome (jaw joint pain), plus other unexplained painful problems in the area. (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: in the side of the face, jaw, teeth (rarely) related to: bruxism, headache, jaw clenching, TMJ syndrome, toothache, tinnitus muscle(s): masseter

8Perfect Spot No. 8 — Massage Therapy for Your Quads

A lot of quadriceps aching, stiffness and fatigue emanates from an epicentre of “knotted” muscle in the lower third of the thigh, in the vastus lateralis, a huge muscle — one of your biggest — that dominates the lateral part of the leg. Stretching it is effectively impossible, but massage is an option: although often shockingly sensitive, Perfect Spot No. 8 can also be quite satisfying. It also often complicates or contributes to other problems in the area, especially runner’s knee (iliotibial band syndrome). (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: in the lower half of the thigh, knee related to: iliotibial band syndrome, patellofemoral pain syndrome muscle(s): quadriceps (vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis, rectus femoris)

9Perfect Spot No. 9 — Massage Therapy for Your Pectorals

The “pecs” are popular: of 700+ muscles, the pectoralis major is one of just a dozen or so that most people can name and point to. It also harbours one of the most commonly-encountered and significant trigger points in the human body, and can produce pain much like a heart attack in both quality and intensity. (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: anywhere in the chest, upper arm related to: “heart attack,” respiratory dysfunction muscle(s): pectoralis major

10Perfect Spot No. 10 — Massage Therapy for Tired Feet (and Plantar Fasciitis!)

The tenth of the Perfect Spots is one of the most popular of the lot, and right under your feet — literally. It lies in the center of the arch muscles of the foot. This is one of the Perfect Spots that everyone knows about. No massage is complete without a foot massage! (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: in the bottom of the foot related to: plantar fasciitis muscle(s): arch muscles

11Perfect Spot No. 11 — Massage Therapy for Upper Back Pain

This “spot” is too large to really be called a “spot” — it’s more of an area. The thick columns of muscle beside the spine are often littered with muscle knots from top to bottom. Nevertheless, there is one section of the group where massage is particularly appreciated: from the thick muscle at the base of the neck, down through the region between the shoulder blades, tapering off around their lower tips. There is no doubt that this part of a back massage feels even better than the rest — even the low back, despite its own quite perfect spots, cannot compete. (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: anywhere in the upper back, mainly between the shoulder blades related to: scoliosis muscle(s): erector spinae muscle group

12Perfect Spot No. 12 — Massage Therapy for Low Back Pain (So Low That It’s Not In the Back)

At the top of the buttocks lies a Perfect Spot for massage: a sneaky but trouble-making brute of a trigger point that commonly forms in the roots of the gluteus maximus muscle. It’s below the lowest part of the low back, but it often feels like low back pain. This is the kind of spot that the Perfect Spots series is all about: not only does it tend to produce a profound, sweet ache when massaged, but the extent of the pain that spreads out around it is almost always a surprise. It feels like a key to much more than expected. (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: in the lower back, buttocks, hip, hamstrings related to: low back pain, sciatica, sacroiliac joint dysfunction muscle(s): gluteus maximus

13Perfect Spot No. 13 — Massage Therapy for Low Back Pain (Again)

Some of the Perfect Spots are perfect because they are “surprising” — they aren’t where you thought they’d be, and it’s delightful to discover the real source of pain. Others are perfect because they are exactly where you expect them to be — and what a relief it is to be able to treat them. Perfect Spot No. 13 is perhaps the ultimate, the quintessential “right where I thought it was” trigger point: right at the very bottom of the thick columns of muscle, in the “pit” of the low back. (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: in the low back, buttocks, hamstrings related to: low back pain, sciatica, sacroiliac joint dysfunction muscle(s): erector spinae muscle group at L5

14Perfect Spot No. 14 — Massage Therapy for Shoulder Pain

I avoided adding Spot 14 to this series for many years, because it’s a bit tricky to find. But precision is not required: although there is one specific spot that’s especially good, nearly anywhere under the ridge of bone on the shoulder blade is worthwhile, and often a surprising key to pain and stiffness everywhere else in the shoulder, especially all the way around on the other side, facing forward. (Click/tap heading to read more.)

for pain: any part of the shoulder, and upper arm related to: frozen shoulder, supraspinatus tendinitis muscle(s): infraspinatus, teres minor

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