6 Incredible Health Benefits of Cauliflower

You're likely familiar with this cruciferous vegetable, but have you heard about the many health benefits of cauliflower? In addition to being a rich source of fiber, cauliflower is known to help fight inflammation and support heart health!

And, believe it or not, cauliflower has even been shown to be effective in supporting weight loss efforts! But what about this common vegetable makes it such a nutritional powerhouse? Where, exactly, do all the health benefits of cauliflower come from?

Let’s learn a bit more about cauliflower and discover exactly what benefits you can expect by adding it into your veggie rotation.


All About Cauliflower

Here’s the interesting thing about cauliflower: It kind of breaks all the traditional veggie-picking rules.

How so? Well, have you ever heard that you should “eat the rainbow” when choosing your foods? Since cauliflower is white, that puts it outside the norm. But don’t let that fool you—cauliflower packs just as many nutrients as its more colorful counterparts!

For starters, cauliflower is rich in fiber, which isn’t only know to support digestive health but also healthy weight management. The truth of the matter is that just one cup of chopped cauliflower contains 2.5 grams of fiber—that’s 10 percent of the average daily requirement! [1]

But that’s not all. You may be surprised to learn that cauliflower is also a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. In fact, that same one cup of cauliflower that delivers beneficial fiber also provides over 75 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C (46.4 mg).

And since we know how vitamin C is for immune health, this is a very big deal. How big? Well, a 2013 meta-analysis revealed that consuming 200 mg of vitamin C each day not only cut participants’ risk of getting a cold by 50 percent!

Moreover, consuming this exact amount of vitamin C daily also reduced cold symptom duration in both adults and children by up to 14 percent. [2]

This means that if you have a seven-day cold, taking this amount of vitamin C could reduce the time you’re sick by a full day! And that’s a big deal when you aren’t feeling your best.

As I mentioned above, the fact that it contains respectable amounts of vitamin K and folate also contribute to the many health benefits of cauliflower. Once again, that very same one cup of cauliflower delivers 20 percent of the vitamin K you need each day as well as 14 percent of your ideal daily folate intake.

So, let’s take a closer look at how these nutrients—as well as others found in this health-promoting vegetable—provide the many health benefits of cauliflower that you’re going to want to take advantage of!

6 Health Benefits of Cauliflower

Here are six of the top health benefits of cauliflower. Read through them and see if it entices you to add some cauliflower to your meals today.

1. Rich in antioxidants

When it comes to the many health benefits of broccoli, one of the most important is that it’s rich in antioxidants. And it’s these antioxidants that provide some incredible benefits.

As you may have suspected, cauliflower is very similar to broccoli because they come from the same variety of cruciferous vegetables. As a result, they contain many important health-promoting phytonutrients know to help fight numerous diseases.

In fact, numerous reports and scientific studies have confirmed that cauliflower, along with many other cruciferous vegetables, contain high amounts of health-promoting carotenoids, tocopherols, and ascorbic acid. And these antioxidants are known to help protect our bodies body from damaging free radicals.

Interestingly, because researchers understand the abundance of antioxidants in cauliflower and acknowledge the importance of preserving them for consumption, a study conducted in 2013 compared how different processing methods impact the antioxidant activity in cauliflower.

The findings revealed that, as suspected, fresh cauliflower “had significantly the highest antioxidant activity,” ranking in at 68.91 percent.

From there, the cooking methods of cauliflower with the highest antioxidant activity ranked as follows: steam-blanched (61.83 percent), steam-boiled (59.15 percent), stir-fried (58.93 percent), and microwaved cauliflower (58.24 percent). [3]

This study is important to keep in mind when preparing your cauliflower, proving that the less alterations done by the cooking process, the more health benefits of cauliflower you can get thanks to its antioxidant status.

2. Contains anti-inflammatory properties

One of the major health benefits of cauliflower is its ability to help fight inflammation. And this comes from a few different components within cauliflower, including fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C.

The fiber in cauliflower has been shown to help feed healthy gut bacteria, which is known to promote digestion and, therefore, help reduce gut inflammation. [4]

Additionally, a 2014 study revealed that eating cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower reduced inflammatory markers by almost 25 percent. [5]

As you can see, consuming cauliflower has been shown to help fight inflammation, which is known to be a major cause of many of today’s chronic diseases.

3. Aids digestion

As we’ve discussed above, many of the health benefits of cauliflower are linked to its fiber content, which is primarily known to support healthy digestion.

But that’s not all. Cauliflower is also rich in inulin, which is a type of prebiotic fiber. How important is inulin? Well, the good bacteria in your gut actually feed on inulin by fermenting it into short-chain fatty acids, which are great for colon health.

Interestingly, according to a 2009 review, the changes in gut microbe composition from consuming inulin-rich foods can actually help provide relief to those suffering from gastrointestinal discomfort! [6]

4. Supports healthy weight management

Aside from its digestion-promoting properties, here’s one of the major health benefits of cauliflower I think we all love: its ability to promote healthy weight management.

It’s important to now that this benefit is due to the fact that the fiber in cauliflower helps to slow digestion.

This not only aids your body’s ability to absorb more nutrients from your food but also helps you feel full and satisfied longer—which, in turn, cuts down on unnecessary snacking and poor food choices.

Interestingly, a 2015 analysis of three studies reviewed how cruciferous vegetable intake relates to weight changes over a period of up to 24 years. And the findings were incredible.

The researchers found that increased consumption of both cruciferous and green leafy vegetables were associated with weight loss. In fact, on average, the participants from the three studies weighed 0.68 pounds less per daily serving of cruciferous vegetables and 0.52 pounds less per daily serving of green leafy vegetables.

The most astonishing finding? Increased consumption of cauliflower, specifically, was. associated with a 1.37-pound loss! [7] That’s double the amount of all cruciferous vegetables, showing just how beneficial cauliflower is for healthy weight management.

5. Contains cancer-fighting properties

Here’s some great news we can all appreciate: Studies have found that one of the incredible health benefits of cauliflower is its cancer-fighting properties.

In fact, it’s been shown that cruciferous vegetables can actually help prevent both the growth and spread of cancerous cells. [8]

This benefit comes from the chemical components sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol (I3C) in cruciferous vegetables, which have been shown to help suppress tumor development and growth. [9]

Specifically, I3C has been shown to help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, it been proven to be instrumental in fighting hormonal imbalances, causing it to show promise as an ideal component in helping to prevent prostate and breast cancer! [10]

6. Supports heart health

Finally, we can’t leave out one of the last major health benefits of cauliflower, which is its ability to support heart health.

As I mentioned above, cauliflower contains sulforaphane, which is a sulfur-rich compound found in cruciferous vegetables. In its inactive form, sulforaphane is called glucoraphanin.

Now, glucoraphanin contains enzymes called myrosinase enzymes, and those enzymes are activated when the plant is damaged. So, anytime you cut, chop, or chew cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, you’re activating myrosinase.

It’s amazing how these enzymes work to promote health just by the natural process of consumption, isn’t it?

Interestingly, compared to raw cruciferous vegetables, cooked cruciferous vegetables contain up to 10 times the amount of sulforaphane. [11] And studies have shown that eating foods rich in sulforaphane may increase glutathione and thioredoxin antioxidant systems, which may lessen the risk of developing heart disease. [12, 13]

Additionally, other studies have shown that sulforaphane may act as an anti-inflammatory agent by opening up the artery pathways, which lowers the chances of developing heart disease. [14, 15, 16]


Health benefits of cauliflower - Dr. Pingel


Key Takeaways

The Incredible Trace Minerals Benefits You Need to Know About Now!

If you’ve ever taken a multivitamin or paid attention to food labels, you’re likely familiar with vitamins and minerals. But have you ever heard of trace minerals and, more specifically, the many trace minerals benefits for your health?

To understand trace minerals, it’s important to know there are two types of minerals: macro minerals and trace minerals.

We’ve discussed some of the major macro minerals before. These are the minerals your body requires in large amounts to support optimal health and function. They include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, chloride, magnesium, sodium, and sulfur.

While these macro minerals are incredibly important, you should also know that your body needs trace minerals just as much!

So, let’s take a closer look at what trace minerals are, the nine specific trace minerals you need in your daily diet, and some of the major trace minerals benefits for your health.


What, Exactly, Are Trace Minerals?

Trace minerals are essential minerals found only in your food (or supplements). Amazingly, you only need small (i.e., trace) amounts of them to reap some major benefits!

Interestingly, it’s a good thing you only need small amounts of these minerals because all trace minerals are actually toxic to your body when consumed in excess, or in very high amounts. [1]

When you think about it, it’s truly amazing how intuitive your body is, isn’t it? It only requires the amount you need for optimal function and not any more. Both too low and too high amounts in your body can be harmful.

So, how do trace minerals support your body’s health? Well, they actually help facilitate your enzyme systems, which help to neutralize free radicals in the body.

And while some trace minerals (iron and copper) support energy metabolism, others (iron) also aid in vital body functions, such as transporting oxygen throughout your body.

Let’s take a look at the nine trace minerals your body needs for optimal function.

The 9 Trace Minerals Your Body Needs

Here are the nine trace minerals you should know about, along with some of the top trace minerals benefits you can expect to get from them.

1. Chromium

You may be surprised to learn that one of our biggest (and growing) epidemics is actually linked to a suspected chromium deficiency. Any guesses?

Shockingly, diabetes, or glucose intolerance, is usually one of the first signs of chromium deficiency! But why? Well, the simple truth is that we don’t have sufficiently sensitive tests to determine chromium deficiency.

Since chromium levels continue to decrease throughout our lifespan, it isn’t too shocking when you consider that type 2 diabetes more often than not manifests in later years. But how are chromium and glucose intolerance connected?

Well, chromium is required for your body to metabolize carbohydrates. Also, most of your bodily reactions that are stimulated by chromium are also dependent upon insulin! [2]

In fact, research has shown consuming anywhere from 200 to 1,000 mcg of chromium picolinate each day can actually help to decrease insulin levels and improve blood sugar metabolism in those with type 2 diabetes. [3]

If that’s not an incredible example of the power of trace minerals benefits, I don’t know what is!

2. Copper

When it comes to trace minerals and, more specifically, trace minerals benefits, we’d be remiss to not discuss copper.

Copper is an essential trace mineral commonly found in many foods and beverages today. Interestingly, copper is known to help facilitate the absorption of iron, while zinc, cadmium, and iron are actually known to hinder copper absorption.

The RDA for copper ranges from 0.5 to 1 mg per day for infants, 1 to 2.5 mg daily for children, and up to 3 mg daily for adults.

While consuming too much copper is associated with poor health outcomes, copper chelation therapy has shown promise in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and more!

Additionally, it’s been shown to help induce cellular death in some cancer cells. [4] Those are some incredible trace minerals benefits to get excited about!

3. Fluoride

If you’ve ever been to the dentist, you’re well aware of this trace mineral. But did you know that fluoride is used for more than just your dental health? In fact, it’s believed to be involved in the growth and maintenance of your entire skeleton!

Studies have shown that fluoride intake can be a tricky thing, though. In fact, researchers have discovered that there’s a very narrow range for safe intake. Believe it or not, too much fluoride can actually cause more cavities! [5]

Because municipal water is known to contain varying degrees of fluoride, it can be hard to make sure you’re not getting too much.

So, to get the right amount of fluoride and take advantage of these trace minerals benefits, I recommend using a high-quality filter for your drinking water, using fluoride-free toothpaste and dental products, and eating moderate amounts of fluoride-containing foods, such as raisins, asparagus, spinach, and carrots.

4. Iodine

Did you know that iodine deficiency is associated with poor thyroid health? It’s true! Because your thyroid requires adequate amounts of iodine to create thyroid hormone, if you’re deficient in iodine, you’re likely to have hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid.

When it comes to trade minerals benefits, though, iodine is responsible for much more than supporting thyroid health. It’s also known to support brain health and cognitive function and even helps treat and heal minor wounds.

The RDA for iodine is 110 mcg for infants, 90 mcg for children ages 1 to 8, 120 mcg for children ages 9 to 13, and 150 mcg for ages 14 and over. Pregnant and nursing women require 220 mcg and 290 mcg, respectively. [6]

5. Iron

Iron is one trace mineral you’re probably familiar with, since it’s actually present in all of the cells in your body.

As I mentioned above, it helps to carry oxygen throughout your body—and this is because it’s actually a component of your hemoglobin and myoglobin.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron for women ages 11 to 50 is 18 mg, while men ages 19 and older require 10 mg. This discrepancy is largely due to iron loss during women’s menstruation. [7]

Interestingly, iron consumption isn’t usually at the forefront of people’s minds until they start to experience some of the symptoms of iron deficiency, or anemia. And, as studies have shown, these symptoms vary but, quite often, include fatigue. [8]

If you’ve ever noticed that you, or a loved one, feels extra run-down during menstruation, this could be the reason why.

6. Manganese

If you’re not very familiar with manganese, you’re going to want to read this section, for sure! When it comes to trace minerals benefits, manganese is one mineral we don’t want to leave out. Here’s why …

In the simplest terms, your body requires adequate amounts of manganese for proper brain function. But, as important as that is, manganese does much more.

This important trace mineral also supports the functioning of your nervous system and many of your enzyme systems.

Amazingly, manganese has been shown to bind to certain neurotransmitters, which is known to improve brain function. [9] It’s also known to support healthy blood sugar levels, fight free radicals, and even help your body absorb other nutrients.

While your body naturally contains manganese, which is mainly stored in your bones, you also need it from your diet. The RDA for adult women is 1.8 mg; for men, it’s 2.3 mg.

7. Molybdenum

Never heard of molybdenum? You aren’t alone! This is one of the lesser known trace minerals and, as a result, includes some lesser known trace mineral benefits.

Unlike the other trace minerals we’ve discussed, you can’t just get molybdenum in a food. Instead, this mineral is found in soil and is transferred into the plants that grow in that soil—typically beans and lentils.

The RDA for molybdenum is 45 mcg each day, and it’s rare to see a deficiency in the U.S. That said, deficiency in this essential mineral is linked to the development of esophageal cancer. [10]

Interestingly, molybdenum is sometimes used as a treatment to reduce the amount of copper in your body, if it gets too high. So, as you can see, when it comes to trace minerals benefits, it really is all about striking the right balance.

8. Selenium

Selenium plays a critical role in many areas of the body, such as supporting DNA synthesis, thyroid health, and reproduction as well as fighting infections. [11]

In fact, a 2015 study showed that selenium levels are higher in large healthy ovarian follicles. As a result, the researchers surmised that selenium could perform vital antioxidant functions for the ovaries during later follicular development. [12]

To help take advantage of these trace minerals benefits, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of selenium for adults is 55 mcg. Meanwhile, pregnant women require 60 mcg while those who are breastfeeding need about 70 mcg each day.

9. Zinc

Zinc is likely another trace mineral that you’ve heard of—especially given the more recent research surrounding its anti-viral potential. Simply put, zinc plays a vital role in the function of your immune system as well as in fight inflammation.

Of the many trace minerals benefits we’ve discussed, this is certainly and important—and timely—one, isn’t it?

According to a 2010 study, zinc activates your body’s T-cells, which are known to not only stimulate and moderate your immune system but also help attack invaders (such as viruses, bacteria, and even cancerous cells). [13]

Given its importance, you may not be surprised to hear that zinc is actually the second most abundant trace mineral in your body. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) ranges from 8 to 11 mg.


Trace minerals benefits - Dr. Pingel


Getting Trace Minerals Into Your Diet

Luckily, by eating a varied diet full in plant-based nutrients, you’re almost guaranteed to get these all of these trace minerals into your diet and—by extension—all of the trace minerals benefits we’ve reviewed!

If you’re concerned, though, you can always make my incredibly delicious No-Bake Energy Bars, which contain the trace minerals we’ve discussed in this article. They’re quick and easy—and perfect to grab and take with you on your busiest days. Click here for the recipe, and enjoy eating for your optimal health!


Key Takeaways

Why You Need More Broccoli in Your Life: 7 Broccoli Benefits

Growing up, odds are that you were often told to “eat your broccoli.” And this common command makes many kids automatically develop a distaste for the food. That’s a shame, because broccoli benefits your health in so many ways.

Fortunately, prepared the right way, you can actually enjoy the taste and reap the many benefits of broccoli. From helping to fight osteoporosis to supporting your memory, broccoli benefits abound.

So, let’s take a closer look at this health food and discuss all the broccoli benefits you need to know about. We’ll also review a few ways you can prepare it so that you (and your kids or grandkids) love the taste!


7 Amazing Broccoli Benefits for Your Health

Here are seven of the incredible broccoli benefits you can take advantage of by regularly incorporating this food into your diet.

1. Helps fight osteoporosis

Perhaps one of the top ways broccoli benefits your health is by helping to fight osteoporosis and poor bone health. And it’s largely thanks the amount of vitamin K contained in broccoli.

Did you know that one cup of steamed broccoli contains about 220 mcg of vitamin K? [1] Considering the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin K (90 mcg for women and 120 mcg for men), this is a huge benefit of eating a relatively small amount of broccoli!

So, want to know more about how the vitamin K in broccoli benefits your bones? Well, research has found that vitamin K actually doesn’t just increase bone mineral density, as previously believed.

Instead, studies have shown that consuming vitamin K (particularly, vitamin K1) increases bone strength.

Accordingly, one study revealed that when 440 postmenopausal women with osteopenia took 5 mg of vitamin K1 each day for two years, their chances of experiencing clinical fractures decreased by more than 50 percent! [2]

2. Supports eye health

Another way broccoli benefits your health is by supporting your vision and overall eye health.

In fact, broccoli is known to contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to decrease the risk of certain eye conditions.

According to a 2006 study, high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin were associated with a significant reduction in the risk of developing age-related maculopathy (a degenerative disease of the retina that leads to visual impairment and even blindness). [3]

Additionally, the same study revealed that beta-carotene, which is also found in broccoli, significantly helped to reduce the risk of developing nuclear cataracts (cataracts that impact the center of the lens).

Interestingly, broccoli benefits your eyes thanks one of its other nutrients as well: vitamin A. You may be surprised to learn that vitamin A has been shown to help fight night blindness as well as dry eyes! [4]

In fact, a 2019 study revealed that consuming vitamin A improved the quality of tears in patients with dry eyes. [5]

3. Contains anti-inflammatory properties

Broccoli benefits your overall health as well by helping to fight inflammation. As you may recall, inflammation is the root of many of our modern chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, gut-related concerns, and even cancer.

So, how does broccoli fight inflammation? According to a 2014 study of more than 1,000 women, consuming cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli reduced markers of inflammation by up to 24.68 percent! [6]

Meanwhile, another 2014 study examined broccoli florets and confirmed that broccoli benefits the body due to its “potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.” [7]

4. Supports memory and overall brain health

It may be hard to believe at first, but did you know that eating broccoli benefits your brain—and your memory in particular— as well?

In a 2018 study, on 960 patients ages 58 to 99, researchers found that consuming green leafy vegetables rich in nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, beta-carotene, folate, and more once each day helped to slow age-related cognitive decline. [8]

Moreover, those who consumed the most vegetables rich in these nutrients scored at a level that was equivalent to being 11 years younger than their actual age!

5. May help reduce cancer risk

For many years now, you’ve probably heard that eating broccoli benefits your body by helping to reduce your risk of getting cancer. But how true is that?

As it turns out, research shows there is quite a bit of truth to this commonly held belief. According to studies, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli contain natural compounds that actually inhibit and neutralize cancer-causing compounds.

Moreover, they even help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells. [9]

But how does it work? Well, newer research has shown that a compound found in broccoli called I3C actually helps to suppress tumor development and growth. [10] How incredible is that?

This may be one of the greatest broccoli benefits to date!

6. Helps lower risk of heart disease

At this point, it’s probably hard to imagine there are more broccoli benefits, but there are! And this one is another big one: Eating broccoli on a regular basis can actually help to lower your risk of heart disease.

Given the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., this is one benefit we have to discuss. [11]

A 2008 study revealed that eating steamed broccoli actually improves bile acid binding, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol as well as overall risk of heart disease. [12]

Interestingly, the study revealed that consuming steamed broccoli improved bile acid binding by 10 percent!

Moreover, a study published in 2020 revealed that women who consumed more than 45 g of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli each day were 46 percent less likely to have extensive calcium buildup on their aorta. [13]

It’s worth mentioning that 45 g of broccoli equals about one-fourth of a cup. That’s definitely something doable by us all, right?

7. Fights hair loss

Finally, one of the last broccoli benefits worth mentioning is what it can do for your appearance—specifically, your hair.

First, broccoli is  rich in B vitamins, which are depleted during times of stress. And while you know that B vitamins are crucial for helping to decrease your stress levels, you may be surprised to learn that they actually support the strength of your hair follicles as well.

Studies have shown that hair loss is actually a symptom of a deficiency in the B vitamin biotin. [14] Additionally, both vitamins B9 and B12 are believed to play important roles in protecting the integrity of your hair follicles. [15]

Broccoli is also rich in vitamin C, which is known to strengthen your hair follicles. And this happens because this vitamin aids in the synthesis of collagen, which helps to strengthen hair as well as promote the health of your scalp. [16]


Broccoli benefits - Dr. Pingel


Ways to Prepare Broccoli (So You Actually Like It!)

If you're looking for some suggestions on how to cook broccoli and enjoy it, you've come to the right place. Of course you can steam it, season it, and serve it as a side, but there are plenty of other ways to eat broccoli, too!

For starters, I love to roast broccoli with garlic powder and avocado oil. But it's also great served on pizza, in a stir-fry, or even in pasta or tortillas!

Here are a few recipes of mine that incorporate broccoli:

Key Takeaways

Why You Need an Apple a Day (5 Surprising Apple Benefits You May Not Know About)

You know the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But how true is that? Well, as it turns out, eating that daily apple benefits your health in many ways!

From supporting healthy weight management to immune health to lowering your risk of certain neurological diseases, apple benefits really are all-encompassing.

So, let’s learn a little more about all the ways apples support your health and wellbeing.


5 Surprising Apple Benefits for Your Health

Here are five of the top apple benefits for your health.

1. Supports healthy weight management

One of the most popular ways eating a daily apple benefits your health is by supporting healthy weight management.

According to one study on 49 overweight women ages 30 to 50, those who ate apples over a period of 10 weeks lost just over an average of 2 pounds. Moreover, they ate fewer calories each day than those who ate pears or cookies. [1]

Additionally, a 2009 study revealed that when people ate apple slices once a week for five weeks, they consumed an average of 15 percent less calories during lunch than those who didn’t eat apple slices. [2]

Interestingly, eating apple slices were found to be more filling and satisfying than drinking apple juice or eating applesauce. As a result, the researchers stated that eating solid fruit provides greater satiety than consuming pureed fruit or juice and can help reduce calorie intake.

2. May reduce asthma risk

Another great way eating an apple benefits your health is by helping to reduce your risk of developing asthma.

In fact, in one study on 68,535 adult women revealed that eating at least 15 percent of a large apple each day reduced the risk of asthma by 10 percent. [3]

Likewise, additional studies have shown that greater consumption of apples is associated with less wheezing and asthma symptoms in children and young adults. As a result, the researchers stated that eating whole foods such as apples may be beneficial in preventing or improving asthma. [4, 5]

3. Supports immune system health

This is one of the apple benefits that will be most familiar to you based on the adage I mentioned above about keeping the doctor away. But what makes this old saying true?

Well, as it turns out, an animal study has found that it’s actually the fiber in apples that provide the major health benefits to your immune system.

According to the study, the soluble fiber found in apples has been shown to reduce inflammation and, as a result, strengthen the immune system. The mechanism? Soluble fiber increases the production of an anti-inflammatory protein known as interleukin-4. [6]

So, the next time you want to support your immune system health, consider eating an apple each day. It’ll help to cool the inflammation in your body that may be keeping your immune system from functioning optimally.

4. Contains anti-diabetic properties

When it comes to apple benefits, its ability to fight diabetes is an important one to keep in mind.

According to a 2017 meta-analysis of more than 228,000 participants, consuming apples reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by an incredible 18 percent. [7] Moreover, the analysis revealed that eating just one serving per week reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 3 percent.

Additional studies have also confirmed that consuming whole fruits such as apples significantly reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. [8]

Interestingly, the study also revealed that consuming fruit juice increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, showing that eating the whole fruit is most beneficial.

5. May lower risk of Parkinson’s disease

Finally, apple benefits extend to lowering your risk of major neurodegenerative disorders as well. In fact, certain studies have found that eating apples regularly can help to lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

For years, research has shown that damage to the mitochondria (the small parts in your cells responsible for producing the energy you need to sustain life) in brain cells is largely responsible for the development of Parkinson’s.

Basically, when the mitochondria become damaged, it causes your brain cells to die prematurely. But there’s good news!

Research has also shown that consuming flavonoids regularly can help protect your cells from mitochondrial damage. [9] And one of the foods richest in flavonoids is the mighty apple!

In fact, in a study of more than 50,000 men, researchers found that, thanks to the positive effects of flavonoids on brain cells, eating apples decreased the risk of developing Parkinson’s.

According to the study’s findings, compared to those who ate less than one apple per month, men who ate five or more servings of apples each week had a substantially decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease.

So, how substantial was the decrease in risk? Those who ate the most flavonoid-rich foods were 40 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who ate the least amount of flavonoids! [10]

That’s one of the apple benefits I think we can all get behind!

Apple benefits - Dr. Pingel


Key Takeaways

How to Pick a Good Multivitamin in 4 Steps

If you’ve ever tried shopping for a multivitamin, you know that finding a good multivitamin is sometimes easier said than done. After all, not all vitamins are created equal.

But with all the options out there, how do you know what to choose? The shelves are lined with so many different brands that it can be overwhelming. You want to make sure you’re spending your money wisely, right?

The whole point of choosing a good multivitamin is to make sure you’re getting the benefits you’re after—and that all starts with picking a quality product.

So, let’s review what multivitamins are, how they work, and the steps you can take to make sure you’re picking a good multivitamin that will work best for you!


All About Multivitamins

One of the most things to know about multivitamins is that the name is a little misleading: Most multivitamins don’t just contain vitamins but also contain many essential minerals as well.

These key vitamins and minerals are known as micronutrients, and they’re critical for optimal health. In fact, it’s the amount of micronutrients in your food that determine your food’s nutritional value.

Some of the most common micronutrients you may be familiar with include vitamins A, C, D, E, and K along with the B vitamins (there are actually eight different B vitamins!).

Additionally, micronutrients include several minerals that you may see in standard multivitamins. These include calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, potassium, iron, selenium, strontium, boron, and more.

Now, it’s important to note that the best sources of micronutrients are whole foods, simply because that’s how you get them in their naturally occurring environment. Basically, your multivitamin is not intended to replace nutritious foods missing from your diet.

Instead, your multivitamin is intended to supplement an already nutritious diet. Think of it as a way to support your nutrient intake and retention that could otherwise suffer due to lifestyle factors such as psychological or physical stress.

And here’s the problem with the stress we all experience each and every day: It’s known to not only deplete your nutrient supply but also impact your ability to absorb the nutrients in your food.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization, more than 2 billion people worldwide are deficient in essential micronutrients. [1] That’s more than a quarter of the world’s population!

Fortunately, studies have found that taking a multivitamin or multimineral not only lowers your risk of becoming deficient but also may reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer and even cardiovascular disease. [2]

So, now that you know how multivitamins work (as a supplement, not as a replacement for nutritional food) and how they can help benefit your health, take a look at the steps you can take to pick a good multivitamin that will work for your unique needs.

How to Pick a Good Multivitamin in 4 Steps

Follow these steps to make sure you’re choosing a good multivitamin that will work for your body and support your health.

Step 1: Make sure it’s easily absorbable.

The first step in choosing a good multivitamin is to make sure it's highly absorbable by your body. This largely comes down to making sure that the minerals in your multivitamin are in their chelated forms.

Basically, chelated minerals are minerals that are bound to an amino acid, which makes the mineral more easily absorbed by your body. And when your body can absorb them easier, it can use those minerals to support critical functions.

For example, according to a 2014 study on zinc, which is a key mineral for immune health, chelated zinc was absorbed approximately 11 percent more effectively in participants’ bodies than non-chelated zinc. [3]

Unfortunately, non-chelated zinc, which is also known as zinc oxide, is the most common form of zinc you’ll see in many “immune-boosting” supplements on the market.

So, when looking for chelated zinc, for example, look for names such as “zinc bisglycinate” and “zinc picolinate.” This will ensure that you’re getting more of the zinc carried into your body, meaning you’ll get more benefits!

And one last note: Easily absorbable ingredients will typically be listed clearly. So, for example, if a multivitamin simply lists “zinc” without classifying the form of zinc, steer clear.

Instead, choose a good multivitamin that clearly lists the ingredients so you can quickly decide if it’s the right fit for you. There should be no guesswork required.


A good multivitamin - Dr. Pingel


Step 2: Avoid “fillers.”

When it comes to choosing a good multivitamin, think of it like you would choosing the healthiest food: avoid fillers.

What are “fillers” in supplements? Anything that is unnecessary to the supplement itself. So, you’ll want to check the ingredients list and avoid multivitamins that list ingredients such as:

So, this means that, when possible, avoid those artificially colored and sweetened gummy vitamins. In fact, let’s look at Step 3 to learn about the optimal form of a good multivitamin!

Step 3: Kick the tablet; embrace the capsule.

When picking a good multivitamin, the form it comes in is absolutely critical—and here’s why: As we discussed, gummy vitamins are typically full of artificial colors and sweeteners that you want to avoid.

Not only that, but in order to make them taste good, they also contain less vitamins and minerals (as they don’t always have a favorable taste). So, you get less bang for your buck with gummies.

And even though tablets typically don’t contain the same additives as gummies, they are formed using heat, which can break down the nutrients in the pill. Also, it’s harder for your body to break down and absorb the remaining nutrients in a tablet (the only caveat being whole-foods based tablets).

So, what’s left? Use a capsule! Not only do they typically have longer a shelf life, but they’re also easier for your stomach to break down and digest—meaning you’ll be able to absorb more nutrients from it. And that’s the whole point of choosing a good multivitamin, right?

Step 4: View the RDA as a minimum.

I know—this step may sound a little odd, right? But stick with me for a minute. When choosing a good multivitamin, try to find one that contains more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of each nutrient.

Here’s why: The RDA isn’t an exact perfect number you should shoot for each day. Instead, it should be viewed as the bare minimum amount of each nutrient your body needs to prevent nutritional deficiency!

Plus, you need to account for any nutritional losses from stress, the occasional poor dietary choice, etc. So, keep this in mind when looking for a good multivitamin: The higher the RDA, the better!


The next time you're out looking for a good multivitamin, follow my four steps above to help you discern how to spend your money and get a quality product you can trust.


Key Takeaways

Bone Health, Heart Health, and More: The Vitamin K Benefits You Should Know

When it comes to vitamins, most people are familiar with the benefits of vitamins A, C, D, and E. But did you know there are some incredible ways vitamin k benefits your health as well?

Believe it or not, vitamin K benefits your bones, heart, blood sugar, and even cellular health. And it’s readily available in many of the plant-based foods you already know and love.

So, let’s take a closer look at this powerful vitamin so you can take advantage of its many health benefits.


All About Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it’s mainly metabolized in your liver. It’s necessary for your blood to be able to clot and prevent hemorrhaging.

In fact, the “K” in vitamin K refers to the German word “Koagulation,” which refers to the solidification of blood. [1]

Interestingly, there are two types of vitamin K: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Here’s what you need to know about each.

Vitamin K1 is also known as phylloquinone and makes up about 75 percent of the vitamin K people consume. It’s the part of vitamin K that helps prevent hemorrhaging by activating the proteins responsible for blood clotting.

Food sources of vitamin K1 include leafy greens such as spinach and kale as well as cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

Meanwhile, vitamin K2, also known as menaquinones, makes up about 25 percent of the vitamin K people consume. [2]

It’s responsible for regulating calcium in your body by supporting the calcium in your bones and also preventing calcium buildup in your blood vessels and kidneys. [3]

Food sources of vitamin K2 include natto (fermented soy), sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha, and some animal-based products such as egg yolks, chicken, and dairy.

Just keep in mind that plant-based options are always preferable to animal-based foods since they’re more easily digested and less likely to cause inflammation.

Amazingly, the good bacteria in your gut also synthesizes and activates vitamin K2 in your body—and that’s why it’s so important to maintain the good bacteria in your gut!

In fact, studies have shown that vitamin K2 synthesized by gut bacteria plays a “significant role in contributing to vitamin K requirements.” [4] This is one reason why I recommend taking a quality probiotic on a daily basis.

Now that you know a bit more about vitamin K, let’s take a look at some of the top ways vitamin K benefits your health.

Top 4 Vitamin K Benefits

Here are four of the top vitamin k benefits you can expect from eating more vitamin k-rich foods.

1. Shown to reduce bone fractures by up to 50 percent

One of the most amazing and well-known vitamin K benefits is its ability to help reduce bone fractures by supporting bone health.

In fact, researchers found that when 440 postmenopausal women with osteopenia took 5 mg of vitamin K1 each day for two years, they reduced their chances of experiencing clinical fractures by more than 50 percent! [5]

Additionally, the researchers discovered that the vitamin K benefits to bone health weren’t due to increasing bone mineral density, as previously assumed. Instead, the vitamin K1 was found to increase bone strength.

Likewise, a meta-analysis confirmed that taking 45 mg per day of vitamin K2 reduced hip fractures by 77 percent, vertebral fractures by 60 percent, and non-vertebral fractures by 81 percent! [6]

2. Contains anti-cancer properties

Another one of the incredible vitamin K benefits is the fact that it’s known to contain anti-cancer properties.

Interestingly, in the same study above where participants took 5 mg of vitamin K1 each day for two years, researchers found that those who took the supplement experienced an astonishing 75 percent reduction in cancer incidence than those who took a placebo! [7]

Another study published in 2010 found that when people consumed vitamin K2 consistently over a period of 10 years, they had a reduced risk of developing cancer. Moreover, if they did develop cancer, they were less likely to develop fatal cancer. [8]

3. Supports cardiovascular health

Vitamin K benefits extend to supporting heart health as well. And you can credit this benefit to the fact that a protein in your body that plays a role in preventing vascular calcification is actually dependent on vitamin K for optimal functioning!

And research shows just how much vitamin K matters for heart health! According to a study on more than 560 postmenopausal women, regularly consuming vitamin K2 was associated with a 30 percent decrease in coronary calcification. [9]

Meanwhile, another study on 4,807 men and women aged 55 and over revealed that consuming 21.6 mcg or more of vitamin K2 each day reduced participants’ risk of coronary heart disease death by up to 57 percent! [10]

An interesting note here is that taking probiotics is also linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. [11] And since we know that probiotics synthesize and activate vitamin K2, it makes sense that it’s all connected, right?

4. May help improve insulin sensitivity

Finally, another one of the great vitamin K benefits is its effect on blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.

According to one study, consuming vitamin K1-rich foods significantly reduced the progression of insulin resistance in older men. [12]

Additionally, a 2011 study revealed that when young men (ages 24 to 31) supplemented with vitamin K2, insulin sensitivity was significantly increased. The researchers stated that this effect was achieved due to vitamin K’s known ability to help regulate glucose metabolism in the body. [13]


Vitamin k benefits - Dr. Pingel


As you can see, vitamin K benefits your body in many ways. And while you can supplement with this incredible vitamin, more often than not, studies have shown that you can reap its incredible benefits simply by including some of the delicious and nutritious foods rich in vitamin K.


Key Takeaways