The more mindful we live, the better off we are. Whether walking to work, installing a low-flow showerhead, or recycling just a little more often. The same holds for the nutritious foods you eat in the supermarket produce section. Due to their abundant source of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, leafy greens are one of the MVPs of the supermarket produce section. If you need more incentive to buy leafy vegetables, there is the possibility of lowering your type 2 diabetes risk by 14 percent with a daily serving of leafy greens, according to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal.
Generally, the deeper the green, the more decent the nutritional profile is. Using a nutrient density ranking, we have uncovered ten staple green vegetables that have the highest nutritional punch, which can be used to make healthy food without resorting to a humdrum salad.
Great things do come in small packages. Plants such as baby kale, broccoli, swiss chard plant, and arugula that are harvested shortly after planting, are considered an important source of vitamins and minerals. According to a 2012 study led by scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, microgreens such as cabbage and cilantro contain nutritional content six times greater than those found in mature plants or their mature counterparts. To support their growth, vegetables need tons of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber in the early stages of development, so they’re stocked with these essential nutrients. You can use microgreens to boost your potato salads, soups, pasta dishes, and sandwiches with their peppery flavor or punch them up with tangy flavor.
In contrast to the plain-looking leaves of a mustard plant, the lacy leaves can appear spiky. It has a milder flavor and is slightly more peppery than kale or Swiss chard, and has more beta-carotene than kale. Our bodies can use beta-carotene for eye and bone health by converting it to vitamin A. Mustard greens also contain potent antioxidants called glucosinolates, which can enhance depurative enzymes and protect against free-radical damage to our cells and organs.
As one of the healthiest vegetables around, kale is deserving of its superfood title. When it comes to lutein, a powerful antioxidant proven to prevent macular degeneration, and beta-carotene and vitamin C, it takes the cake. Kale is also a cruciferous vegetable, just like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and brings sulforaphane to the table, an antioxidant that can help lessen the risk of cancers. The bitter flavor of raw kale can be counteracted by steaming or sautéing the leaf. If you can tolerate the bitterness, a glass of kale juice can make a difference.
A popular Southern favorite, these leafy greens have large, leathery leaves. Its tough texture which is similar to cabbage means it will take longer to cook than other greens. Besides being a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, collards contain high amounts of dietary fiber which can be good for your digestive health. According to a 2012 survey conducted in Sweden, fiber intake has a near 25 percent effect on improving the heart health of women. To keep things on a healthy side, try bringing a side of cooked collard greens to a barbecue next time.
Surely Popeye should have been a nutritional expert instead of a sailor. Human studies have shown that spinach contains the most folate of all the greens and that eating more of this B vitamin helps in breast cancer prevention and other chronic diseases. Folate, a nutrient essential for healthy cell division, is likely to be implicated here. Also, spinach is loaded with potassium, which is necessary for muscle function and for keeping blood pressure levels within healthy ranges. It can be used to enhance a variety of dishes, including sauces, smoothies, salads, and soups.
One variety of Swiss chard has multi-colored stems and veins, called rainbow chard, and another has white stems and veins. They both carry a mildly bitter taste that vanishes when cooked. In a cup serving, chard has a more impressive nutrient profile than any other green and contains more vitamin K than any other green vegetables. A recent review by Dutch researchers concluded that reaching the daily vitamin K requirement can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity, in addition to its role in blood clotting.
Even one of America’s popular vegetables is not nutritionally ideal. Iceberg lettuce’s essential vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidant content pale in comparison with darker greens, which contain more water. A single shredded cup comes in at just 10 calories, which means it won’t do much harm to your beach bod, and its crunchy crunch can enliven sandwiches and tacos or mixed green salads. Iceberg lettuce can take on the role of butter lettuce in a salad, as a sandwich topping, or even as a sandwich bread replacement.
Its pungent, peppery flavor helps it make its way into many top chefs’ recipes. Arugula is commonly found alongside baby spinach at the grocery store. Arugula is an excellent source of calcium, with more of this bone-builder than the other greens on this list. So, vegans, lactose-intolerant people, and anyone who does not wish to consume dairy should pay attention to this. Since arugula contains a high level of nitrates, it can help you speed through your workouts. Increased muscle blood flow results from the conversion of nitrates into nitric oxide. Researchers found this could aid your muscles during exercise by allowing them to work efficiently.
Raw Boston lettuce leaf often seems more appetizing than robust darker greens because of its delicate light green leaves. Use the large, pliable leaves when making wraps instead of carb-heavy tortillas or flatbreads for a daily dose of manganese and vitamin K, essential minerals for carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Its low-calorie count is also one of the reasons it is so popular especially for those seeking help in weight loss. A cup has just seven calories.
This popular type of lettuce is a good alternative to bitter dark greens. A variety of powerful nutrients can be found in green leaf lettuce, including beta-carotene, folate, potassium, and vitamin C. Studies have shown that women with high blood pressure who consume higher amounts of vitamin C are more likely to be in good health. Only one cup provides almost three-quarters of your daily requirement of vitamin K. It may also help reduce the risk of heart disease. Romaine lettuce just has a shorter shelf life than heartier greens, so take care to wrap the heads in a damp paper towel and store them refrigerated for up to three days.