The 9 Most Nutritious Greens and What They Can Help You With

Blog Nutrition & Recipes The 9 Most Nutritious Greens and What They Can Help You With

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7.29.2023 0 comments

How much green are you eating in your daily life?

While it’s important to eat all of the colors of the rainbow, no color is more important than green.

Greens are the best source of dietary fiber, contain a ton of critical minerals, and aid in every aspect of digestion.

If you want to be truly healthy, no foods are more central to your diet than the green veggies and fruits.

Below, we’ve put together a list of the most nutritious greens, along with the benefits you need to know about.

By the end of this post, you’ll understand just why those natural green foods are absolutely vital for your health.

The 9 Most Nutritious Greens to Add to Your Diet

1. Spinach

Let’s start with an easy one: spinach.

Spinach is one of the healthiest leafy greens on the planet, due largely to its nutritional content. Just one cup of spinach provides [1] 13% of the manganese you need every day, 56% of your daily dose of Vitamin D, and 181% of the Vitamin K your body needs to function.

Spinach is also packed with folate, which is particularly important for pregnant mothers. Folate is also needed for the production of the red blood cells that transport oxygen and nutrients throughout our body.

And, of course, spinach is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that play a critical role in your eye health and skin health.

2. Kale

Not everyone’s going to love kale, we understand. There’s something about the peppery flavor and coarse leaves that makes it less than a fan favorite.

But there's no denying that kale is one of the healthiest, most nutritious of the greens.

Kale’s dark green flavor means it’s packed with chlorophyll and antioxidants (like lutein and zeaxanthin). It’s also rich in nutrients, delivering 684% of your Vitamin K DV, 134% of the Vitamin C your body needs, and 206% of your daily dose of Vitamin A.

Kale is known to have potent anti-inflammatory properties, not to mention a whole lot of dietary fiber that will aid in proper digestion.

It may not be a favorite, but it’s absolutely worth adding to your daily diet!

3. Collard Greens

Collard greens are much beloved in the South, and with good cause: they’re as nutritious as they are delicious.

Their thick leaves are slightly bitter, which is the result of their high antioxidant and nutritional content. Each serving of collard greens contains high quantities of Vitamins A, C, and B9. Collard greens are also the best source of Vitamin K—you get a whopping 1045% of your daily dose from just one serving.

The Vitamin K from collard greens has proven useful for not only improving blood clotting, but also strengthening bones and reducing hip fractures [2].

However you cook them up, trust that they’ll provide you with a hefty dose of the minerals and vitamins your body needs to stay healthy.

4. Microgreens

Microgreens are a lovely alternative to the more common leafy greens.

Instead of waiting until the plants are fully matured, they are harvested in their immature state. While smaller in size, they contain higher quantities of the vital nutrients the plants need to grow—which turn out to be what our bodies need for healthy functioning.

Research [3] has found that microgreens contain up to 4000% more nutrients than mature greens. Specifically, immune-boosting Vitamin C, heart-smart Vitamin E, and blood-clotting Vitamin K.

Grow your own (surprisingly easy to do using the seeds of your favorite herbs and veggies) or eat the store-bought microgreens—whatever you do, just eat them!

5. Watercress

Watercress comes from the same plant family as arugula (see below), and is often added into food thanks to its spicy, slightly peppery and mildly bitter taste. It adds not only a punch of flavor, but also a host of nutrients (including Vitamins A, C, E, and K).

Want to know what makes watercress truly special, though? According to one study [4], this amazing little green has chemoprotective properties, and can not only stop cancer cells from reproducing, but actually target and eliminate cancer stem cells.

Watercress has also been used in herbal remedies and medicines for centuries [5], treating everything from tooth pain to indigestion to blood sugar problems to kidney problems. It’s also often used as a skin and hair tonic. How cool is that?

6. Cabbage

Cabbage is a popular veggie in much of Asia, where it grows in abundance and is added into an immense variety of dishes. And that’s a good thing, because cabbage is incredibly nutritious.

In addition to being very high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, it’s particularly rich in a nutrient called glucosinolates. These glucosinolates not only give the cabbage its slightly bitter flavor, but also play a role in fighting off and protecting against certain types of cancer (including esophageal and lung cancer)[6].

As a bonus, when you ferment cabbage to make delicious dishes like sauerkraut or kim chi, it acts as a powerful probiotic and prebiotic to improve digestion.

7. Swiss Chard

Swiss chard shares a lot in common with kale and other dark, leafy greens, but what makes it unique from so many others is the bright red coloration of its stalks. The antioxidants that turn the stalks this bright color are the same as are found in beets (such as betalains) and purple cabbage (such as anthocyanins and polyphenols).

Swiss chard is rich in both vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, manganese, and potassium. The flavonoid syringic acid in Swiss chard has been known to aid in the management and regulation of blood sugar levels [7], helping to protect against blood sugar spikes following a heavy meal.

Add it into your soups, stews, and casseroles to maximize the nutritional content of every bite.

8. Romaine Lettuce

So many of the best salads are made with lettuce, so of course we had to include at least one type of lettuce on our list of the most nutritious greens.

Romaine lettuce, like all dark, leafy greens, is rich in Vitamins A and K, along with dietary fiber. Research has shown that a diet high in Romaine lettuce can not only increase antioxidant activity in the body, but improve metabolic function [8]. It may even be able to lower blood lipids and combat high cholesterol.

Next time you’re going to whip up a salad, leave the iceberg lettuce in the fridge and opt for Romaine instead.

9. Arugula

Last, but certainly not least, we’ve got arugula.

Arugula comes from the same plant family as watercress, and has the same peppery, spicy taste that comes from a high content of glucosinolates [9].

It’s also rich in nitrates, which your body needs in order to produce the nitric oxide that enables the dilation of blood vessels for healthy circulation.

On the vitamin side, arugula is packed with Vitamin B9, Vitamin K, and Vitamin A. It’s even got carotenoids (like lutein and zeaxanthin) that help to improve eye and skin health.

These leafy greens shouldn’t just be a part of your diet; they should be the foundation of every meal you eat! That way, your body can absorb the nutrients they provide, and which it needs to function.

Incorporate these greens into every dish at every meal, and you’ll begin to see improvements in your health, metabolism, digestion, and longevity in no time.












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