Leafy green vegetables are an essential part of a balanced diet. They’re high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, yet they’re also low in calories.
Obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental decline can all be minimized by eating a diet rich in leafy greens.
Here are some of the healthiest leafy green veggies to eat.
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1. Beet Greens
Beets have been touted as having health benefits since the Middle Ages. They do have a high nutrient profile, however, while beets are regularly utilized in recipes, the leaves are sometimes overlooked.
It’s a shame because they’re edible and high in potassium, calcium, riboflavin, fiber, and vitamins A and K. Cooked beet greens offer 220 percent of the daily value for vitamin A, 37 percent of the daily value for potassium, and 17 percent of the daily value for fiber in just one cup (144 grams).
They also include the antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein, which may help to minimize the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Beet greens can be used in salads, soups, or as a side dish when cooked.
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2. Swiss Chard
The leaves of Swiss chard are dark green, while the stalk is red, white, yellow, or green. It is from the same family as beets and spinach and is commonly used in Mediterranean cooking.
It has an earthy flavor and is high in minerals and vitamins like potassium and manganese, as well as vitamins A, C, and K. Syringic acid, a flavonoid found only in Swiss chard, may help reduce blood sugar levels.
Oral syringic acid therapy for 30 days improved blood sugar levels in rats with diabetes in two minor investigations. The stems of the Swiss chard plant are crisp and nutritious, even though many people throw them aside. Toss all sections of the Swiss chard plant into soups, tacos, or casseroles next time.
For its many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, kale is regarded as one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables in the world. One cup (67 grams) of raw kale, for example, has 684 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 206 percent for vitamin A, and 134 percent for vitamin C.
It also contains antioxidants like lutein and beta-carotene, which lessen the risk of oxidative stress-related disorders. Kale is best taken raw to get the most out of what it has to offer, as cooking can diminish its nutritious profile.
4. Collard greens
Collard greens, like kale and spring greens, are a type of loose-leaf green. They have large, slightly bitter leaves. Collard greens are high in calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B9 (folate), and vitamin C.
When it comes to leafy greens, they’re also one of the top suppliers of vitamin K. One cup (190 grams) of cooked collard greens contains 1,045 percent of the daily value for vitamin K.
The importance of vitamin K in blood clotting is well understood. Furthermore, more study into its ability to improve bone health is being conducted.
One research of 72,327 women aged 38 to 63 revealed that those who consumed less than 109 micrograms of vitamin K per day had a substantially higher risk of hip fractures, implying a relationship between this vitamin and bone health.
Cabbage is made up of bunches of thick, green, white, or purple leaves. Like Brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli, it’s a member of the Brassica family. Glucosinolates are bitter compounds found in this plant family’s vegetables.
Foods containing these plant components have been shown to have cancer-preventive qualities in animal trials, particularly against lung and esophageal cancer.
Another advantage of cabbage is that it can be fermented and made into sauerkraut, which has a variety of health benefits including improved digestion and immune system support. It could even help you lose weight.
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Watercress, like arugula and mustard greens, is an aquatic plant belonging to the Brassicaceae family. It has long been used in herbal medicine and is thought to have therapeutic effects. However, these advantages have yet to be proven in human research.
Watercress extract has been discovered to be effective in preventing cancer stem cells from reproducing and invading cancer cells in test tubes. Watercress is an excellent accent to neutrally flavored recipes because of its bitter and slightly peppery taste.
7. Turnip greens
The leaves of the turnip plant, which is a root vegetable similar to beetroot, are used to make turnip greens. These greens are higher in calcium, manganese, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K than the turnip itself.
They have a pungent, spicy flavor and are more commonly eaten cooked than fresh. Turnip greens are a cruciferous vegetable, which has been proven to reduce the risk of health problems like heart disease, cancer, and inflammation.
Gluconasturtiin, glucotropaeolin, quercetin, myricetin, and beta-carotene are all antioxidants found in turnip greens, and they all help to reduce stress in the body. In most recipes, turnip greens can be substituted for kale or spinach.
8. Romaine Lettuce
Romaine lettuce is a popular leafy vegetable with thick, dark leaves and a robust central rib. It’s popular lettuce, especially in Caesar salads, because of its crunchy texture.
It’s high in vitamins A and K, with one cup (47 grams) supplying 82% and 60% of the daily value for these vitamins, respectively. Furthermore, lettuce improved blood lipid levels in mice, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease. More research into these advantages in people is required.
Immature greens made from the seeds of vegetables and herbs are known as microgreens. They are usually 1–3 inches (2.5–7.5 cm) in length. They’ve been employed as a garnish or decoration since the 1980s, but they have a lot more functions.
They’re packed with color, flavor, and nutrients despite their small size. Microgreens contain up to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts, according to one study. Vitamins C, E, and K are examples of these nutrients.
Microgreens may be cultivated all year in the convenience of your own home, making them immediately accessible.
Arugula, also known as rocket, colewort, roquette, rucola, and rucoli, is a leafy green that belongs to the Brassicaceae family. It has a somewhat peppery flavor and little leaves that can be used as a garnish or added to salads. It can also be utilized for cosmetic and medical purposes.
It’s high in minerals like pro-vitamin A, carotenoids, and vitamins B9 and K, just like other leafy greens. It’s also a good source of dietary nitrates, a molecule that your body converts to nitric oxide.
Though the effects of nitrates are disputed, some research suggests that widening blood arteries may assist increase blood flow and lower blood pressure.
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Leafy green veggies are high in nutrients that are necessary for optimum health. Most leafy greens are available all year and can be easily included in your meals in a variety of ways.
Include a variety of leafy green vegetables in your diet to get the many outstanding health advantages of these vegetables.