Green leafy vegetables are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They are packed with fiber, minerals, and nutrients that improve your overall health. Furthermore, most vegetables are low in calories and are recommended by nutritionists for people trying to control their weight. But here’s the thing. Not all vegetables are created equal. Some stand out from the rest in terms of nutritional value and health benefits. Below, we look at the healthiest green leafy vegetables on the planet.
Spinach is known for its antioxidant properties, which can help reduce the risk of chronic disease. Eating spinach regularly is recommended to lower risk factors like high blood pressure.
One cup of raw spinach supplies up to 56 percent of your daily vitamin A requirements and contains just seven calories. Other nutrients found in plenty in spinach include calcium, vitamin C, iron, and folic acid.
Research shows that spinach also contains plant compounds like lutein and quercetin, with may improve eye health.
Watercress is a bitter leafy green popularly used as a garnish in salads. It contains 95 percent water, making it extremely hydrating to the body. These healthy greens also brim with nutrients like calcium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate.
It’s said to contain up to four times more beta carotene than an apple and a whopping 238 percent of your daily recommended vitamin K per 100 grams. These are the two top ingredients associated with a youthful look.
Additionally, the abundance of antioxidants found in watercress can boost your immunity, promote a healthy gut, and even fight cancer.
Amaranth is a green leafy vegetable commonly grown in gardens and backyards by the Indian community. It’s available in two varieties – green and red (also known as red spinach). Amaranth is a powerhouse of potent nutrients like magnesium, folate, vitamin B6, copper, iron, zinc, and selenium.
It contains a high amount of dietary fiber, which not only improves digestion but also helps promote weight loss. Amaranth is also gluten-free, making it the perfect veggie for people with gluten allergies.
Arugula is a leafy green that also goes by the names rocket and rucola. It’s abundant in dietary nitrates, vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and potassium. Arugula tastes slightly peppery when raw and gains a mellow flavor when cooked.
Its small leaves make it ideal for salads or toppings for sandwiches, toasts, and other breakfast dishes.
Kale is one of the most consumed vegetables anywhere in the world. This dark leafy green is said to be a superfood and considering all the nutrients it supplies, it’s easy to see why.
Top on the list is the high concentration of vitamin K, which promotes blood clotting. It’s also rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, which strengthen your vision and boost immunity. Other notable nutrients that come in plenty in kale include copper, dietary fiber, and manganese.
Mustard greens are a type of lettuce rich in vitamins, A, C, and K. They are used in salads to add a spicy kick to sautéed greens. Also known as Chinese mustard or Indian mustard, they come with heaps of essential nutrients like copper, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin (vitamin B12), and thiamin (vitamin B1).
Both mustard greens and mustard seeds are edible, making them versatile all year round. Mustard greens have a similar look and texture as kales. They have a strong peppery, mustardy flavor when uncooked and a milder taste when cooked.
To enjoy raw mustard greens, consider sautéing them up with olive oil and a pinch of salt or lemon juice to help mellow the flavor out.
Did you know dandelions, the weeds that grow in your lawn, are actually edible? Surprisingly, they are highly nutritious, with a healthy amount of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
You can use the yellow petals from the dandelion flower, along with the leaves, in your salads. You can also cook them and add them to pasta or breakfast meals for extra flavor and nutrition. Dandelion greens have a strong, bitter flavor, so you might want to blanch them and add a few drops of citrus juice before cooking them.
Beet greens are the edible leaves found on the tip of beets. Beetroots have been used since the middle ages for their health benefits and impressive supply of nutrients. However, most people ignore the highly nutritious leaves.
Just one cup (144 grams) of cooked beet greens contains up to 220 percent of the daily recommended value for vitamin A, 17 percent for fiber, and 37 percent for potassium. The leaves also pack the antioxidants beta carotene and lutein, which have been found to reduce eye disorders, like cataracts and macular degeneration.
Beet greens are versatile and can be sautéed and eaten as a side dish or added to salads and soups.
Get Your Leafy Greens
The best part about green leafy vegetables is that they are easily available in grocery stores near you. You have no excuse not to eat them regularly for their tremendous health benefits.
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