Whether if your goal is to be healthy or slimmer, or both, you should include liberal amounts of leafy green vegetables in your everyday diet. They are packed with dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and age-defying antioxidants. Another wonderful thing about leafy greens is they can be consumed in a number of ways — steamed, boiled, blanched, stir-fried, raw or turned into smoothies. Large ones may even be used as wraps!
Here are the top 12 leafy green vegetables that you should definitely incorporate more in your diet:
Kale. Dubbed as one of the healthiest vegetables on the face of the planet, kale is loaded with vitamins A, C and K. It also boasts of dietary fiber, potassium, calcium and folate. Oh, AND it has sulphur compounds that scientists say can detoxify the body plus considerably lower your risk of having cancer.
Cabbage. Just because the green coloration of cabbage is pale doesn’t mean that it pales in comparison with other leafy greens on this list. Just like kale, cabbage is capable of warding off cancer development. It’s also a wonderful source of immune-boosting vitamin C.
Collard Greens. Although very cheap, collard greens practically share the same nutritional profile with cabbage. They also contain dietary fiber, vitamin K and free radical-fighting antioxidants. By the way, collard greens are popular among raw food aficionados, often using them as wraps.
Watercress. A member of the cabbage family, watercress is packed with vitamin K. Many people love the fact that watercress can help save time because it can be easily added to sandwiches and salads, sans cooking.
Turnip greens. Aside from the roots, it’s also a wonderful idea to consume the leaves of turnip. Actually, the tops can impress more nutrition-wise than the roots, according to experts. The somewhat bitter taste of turnip greens, they add, can be attributed to their impressive calcium content.
Spinach. No one can deny that spinach is one of the most nutritious dark green leafy vegetables around. Iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A and C — you can get all of these from spinach. While popularly eaten raw, scientists say that cooking spinach makes it easier for the body to get those nutrients.
Swiss chards. Consuming Swiss chards lets you obtain good amounts of vision-sharpening vitamin A, immune-boosting vitamin C, and bone-strengthening calcium. It’s a good idea to cook Swiss chards prior to eating in order to get rid some of their oxalate content.
Mustard greens. What’s so amazing about mustard greens is they can lower one’s risk of cancer. Furthermore, they are very good at neutralizing toxins in the body. If you’re not a fan of their peppery flavor, simply add a little vinegar or lemon juice just before they become fully cooked.
Romaine lettuce. A staple in salad bowls, romaine lettuce is an excellent source of dietary fiber and vitamin A. These leafy veggies also contain a little folate. Experts say that the red varieties are slightly more nutritious than the green ones. So when shopping, opt for romaine lettuce with the darkest coloration.
Iceberg lettuce. It may not pack as much vitamins and minerals as the rest, but iceberg lettuce is perfect for those who want to lose weight. That’s because it is loaded with dietary fiber and water. Shred and consume to feel really satiated for a long period of time, keeping you from overeating.
Bok choi. Also known as Chinese cabbage, bok choi is commonly stir-fried or sautéed together with garlic and some ginger. It is very low in calories and fat, making it perfect for those who want to lose weight.
Arugula. Last but not least, there’s arugula — a leafy green that boasts of phenomenal amounts of calcium. Go ahead and include it in your diet on a regular basis to keep your bones strong and to lower your risk of osteoporosis. Are you a gym rat? Then eat more arugula as it’s known to increase blood flow to the muscles.