What Are the Benefits of Leafy Greens?
by Lindsay Tigar
Your mom, best friend, and doctor have been reminding you to eat more veggies your whole life. But even if you know it's important to do so, do you fully understand the benefits of leafy greens? This category isn't limited to the Plain Jane iceberg lettuce salad you grab at the local eatery — it extends through the entire produce aisle. Grown in the garden to help us flourish, romaine, spinach, arugula, kale, collard greens, and Swiss chard offer a plethora of perks for digestion, energy levels, and more! In fact, the USDA recommends we consume about 1 1/2 cups of dark green vegetables a week. So, read on to discover some of the tasty goods from Mother Nature you should consider adding to your diet.
When it comes to leafy greens with mega benefits, romaine lettuce can't be discounted. It's super low in calories and it's a mineral superstar, with high volumes of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium. It's also low in sodium and packed with vitamins K and C and folate.
Try this recipe: When it comes to romaine hearts, this garden variety doesn't have to be munched cold! When you prepare romaine hearts with olive oil, salt, and pepper, grill them up! They can provide a tasty base for your favorite salad ingredients.
Popeye knew plenty about the benefits of spinach. While this green does contain carbs, they're mostly fiber, which is great news for constipation or other stomach-related concerns. It also packs vitamins A, C, and K and folic acid.
Try this recipe: Spinach will steal the limelight from your grilled chicken breast when you make this mouthwatering and easy sauteed garlic and spinach recipe. Healthy — and yum!
You'll probably find arugula on the brunch menu since it's grown in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. Because of it's steady amounts of vitamins A, C, K, and even calcium, it's ideal for our bone health; helps to reduce inflammation; cleanses and detoxes; and can even supercharge the brain — talk about the benefits of leafy greens!
Try this recipe: For a refreshing cool-down meal after your workout, mix your arugula pack with watermelon, feta cheese, salt, and pepper. It's tasty, hydrating, and best of all, easy.
The benefits of leafy greens in kale are immense considering it's one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It's packed with vitamins A, K, C, and B6, magnesium, calcium, copper, potassium, and manganese. It's also a great source for antioxidants and can be prepared in a multitude of ways.
Try this recipe: Next time you whip up some scrambled eggs for breakfast, try making a side of bacon and kale for a mega vitamin boost in the morning.
If you're from south of the Mason-Dixon line, you've likely had your fair share of collard greens. But this garden-variety food is healthy in every state, as it can support bone health, aid with digestion, and contribute to your hair and skin health as well. Collard greens also offer a great amount of vitamins C and K; they're rich in calcium and iron as well.
Try this recipe: To cut back on some of the fat that comes with traditionally prepared collard greens, consider this vegetarian recipe that packs in fun spices and other vegetables.
If you have a garden in your backyard and you're looking to include another vegetable to your diet, try adding Swiss chard! This green goodie can support the health of the heart, bones, digestion, and more. Often referred to as a superfood, Swiss chard is packed with calcium, potassium, vitamins C and K, and so much more.
Try this recipe: Roll up your sleeves and slice in — Swiss chard is easier to work with than you might think. This recipe teaches you the basic skills needed to do so and adds garlic and onion to the mix.
With these game-changing benefits, leafy greens can make a great addition to any meal. Happy cooking!