Leafy Greens

Green vegetables are the best food you can eat to help improve your overall health. There is a general rule that says you should try to eat 5 servings of vegetable daily, which is about 2 1/2 cups. Leafy greens are packed in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other disease-fighting phyotchemicals that may help protect you from diabetes, heart diseases, and possibly even cancer. Because they are rich in fiber, leafy greens can help you with weight loss and keeps you feeling full and controls your hunger. Leafy greens is high in water content, which will help keep you hydrated and keeps your skin and hair beautiful.

Leafy greens contain antioxidants like Vitamin C which helps your body make collagen. It also contains beta-carotene which contributes to the growth and repair of the body’s tissues. An excellent source of folate, this substance helps reduce cardiovascular disease and prevents memory loss. Folate helps contribute to production of serotonin, which can improve your overall mood.

Here are the top 8 healthiest and best leafy greens to eat.

1. Kale
This rockstar vegetable has been on the rise in the past few years. Rich in vitamins A,C, K, B6, calcium and magnesium, it’s definitely a superfood. There are various ways to enjoy Kale. If you want something simple, try making Kale Chips as a snack!

2. Collard Greens
This awesome leafy green has more calcium than a glass of milk. Full of anti-cancer properties and substances to lowering cholesterol, they’re packed in vitamins K, C & A. Collard greens are popular in Southern cooking, but there’s a healthier alternative. Find a recipe today.

3. Spinach
Popeye the Sailor Man knew a little something when he ate his can of spinach! Spinach is rich in iron, calcium, potassium and has been shown to fight prostate cancer more than any other veggies. Iron and vitamin B in spinach can help maintain a healthy circulatory system.

4. Swiss Chard

Color stems and bright green leaves, swiss chard has a beet-like taste and best when sauteed. Plenty of vitamin A and C, has a hefty dose of iron and fiber.  A good source of antioxidant, it has lutein and zeaxanthin which prevents arthritis and maintains healthy eyes, skin and hair.

5. Mustard Greens
Like most of the other leafy greens, mustard greens also has the ability to lower cholesterol. An excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A and manganese, mustard greens has a high level support for four conventional antioxidant nutrients.

6. Arugula
Arugula normally seen in salads and sandwiches has a peppery flavor like watercress. This leafy green has a good source of calcium. Argula contains more calcium than the other greens on this list. Eating more arugula may also aid you in your daily workouts since it has high levels of natural nitrates. Your body use nitric oxide to increase muscle blood flow.

7. Romaine Lettuce
Romaine lettuce has a crunchier texture compared to red and green leaf lettuces and holds up much better to any vinaigrette you may dress it with. You may recognize the romaine lettuce from Caesar salads. It has a wonderful crunch to it and a nice dose of beta-carotene, folate, potassium, and vitamin C. Women who consume high amounts of vitamin C have a healthier blood pressure number.

8. Watercress
Watercress has a peppery flavor and is often used in salads and sandwiches. This green has an excellent course of antioxidants vitamins A and C, vitamin K which is an essential nutrient to bone health. Rich in natural sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid nutrients which have the ability to protect vision and support cardiovascular health. 

The darker the greens, the more nutrition it has. If some of the greens are too bitter to swallow, try another of the varieties I have listed. Usually one of these leafy greens should have a sister type to it, such as the red and green leaf. If you don’t enjoy the soft texture of the red and green leaf, you can substitute it with the romaine lettuce. Leafy greens contain basically all the alphabets available in the Vitamin list, minerals, and antioxidants, so why not add a little more! If you need more of an incentive to eat them, a daily serving of leafy green vegetables may lower your risk of most diseases, protect your heart, prevent diabetes and even cancer. So we encourage you to put a little more on your plate today. 

Picture credit: http://fillyourplate.org/

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