When it comes to greens, can you really go wrong?
Eating a diet rich in greens is one of the best things you can do for your health – of course, you already knew that, right?
But what you may not know, is which of those green veggies offer the most powerful punch when it comes to nutrition.
Odds are, the first thing that comes to mind is kale.
And while you’re right in that it’s certainly a “superfood,” it still doesn't top the list for most nutritious.
You might be surprised to learn that the Centers for Disease Control actually ranked it as the 15th healthiest on a list of 47 “powerhouse fruits and vegetables.”
While kale certainly deserves its place in the spotlight – packed with vitamins A, B6, C and K, along with calcium folate and potassium – there are many other greens that are even better.
Which means that eating kale is still a great idea, but you may want to add some of these even more nutritious greens on your grocery list.
Watercress actually tops the list when it comes to nutrition density. It scores a perfect 100!
That means you get 100% of essential vitamins and minerals from just one 100-gram serving (about 3 cups, chopped).
While many people simply use it as a garnish, you might want to consider adding it to your salad or tossing a handful into your smoothie.
This mild-tasting green contains an incredible
- 312% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin K per 100 grams
- more vitamin C than oranges
- four times more beta-carotene and vitamin A than apples, tomatoes and broccoli.
It’s great for your skin, helping to keep it dewy and youthful looking, and is the richest dietary source of phenylethyl isothiocyanate, a compound that’s been found to help fight cancer, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
2. Chinese cabbage
This Asian green was found to be the second most nutritious in the 2014 CDC report.
Chinese cabbage, sometimes referred to as Napa cabbage, is rich in calcium and iron.
Even more amazing is its ability, similar to other cruciferous vegetables, to “turn off” inflammation markers that are believed to contribute to heart disease.
Chinese cabbage is commonly used in coleslaw and it’s also great to use in a stir fry.
Chard comes in at a powerful No. 3 on the list.
It contains a whopping 13 different polyphenol antioxidants!
This includes anthocyanins, which are anti-inflammatory substances that have been found to lower insulin resistance and improve the regulation of glucose in the blood.
Yes, it’s equipped to battle type 2 diabetes – a common and increasingly prevalent illness that is largely preventable through proper diet.
Saute it, braise it, or even eat it raw. Its hearty leaves tend to hold up well without wilting in salads.
4. Beet Greens
Many people just throw out beet greens, but that’s a shame, because they’re loaded with fiber – nearly 5 grams – plus they look gorgeous in a salad!
You can also use them in a stir fry or toss them in a smoothie.
Spinach is renowned for its iron content – one of the reason’s Popeye managed to build such strong muscles.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 180 gram serving provides 6.43 mg of the “muscle mineral.”
Spinach may even help with weight loss too!
A study out of Lund University in Sweden discovered that the compounds in its leaf membranes known as thylakoids was able to stave off cravings and promote weight loss.
- Boil it
- use it as a base for a salad
- boost your smoothie’s nutritional value – with its mild flavor, you won’t even notice it’s there.
Try changing things up by adding more of these fabulous greens to your diet. You'll be on your way to better health and a fitter you!
Yours in Health,
P.S. Please share this list with your friends and I welcome your feedback below.