Which Leafy Greens Should You Add to Your Diet?

Your mom has probably been telling you to eat your leafy greens since you were a kid and there’s a really good reason why.

Leafy green vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  They’re also low in calories making them essential to our daily diet.  

Since there are several of them, you may be wondering which leafy green should you be taking more of?

Here are 8 of the best leafy green vegetables you should look out for.

1. Spinach

While it won’t give you superhuman strength as it does with Popeye, spinach is one of the most popular leafy greens because of the array of nutrients it comes with.

This leafy green is packed with vitamin A, vitamin K, and manganese among others, and plays an important role in red blood cell production as well as in pregnancy.

2. Kale

It’s not surprising why kale is always on top of anyone’s green leafy list.

Apart from being one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables, it also comes with antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein which can help reduce the risk of diseases due to oxidative stress.

It’s important to take note that to be able to take advantage of its benefits, kale is best consumed raw because subjecting it to heat can reduce its nutrient profile. 

3. Cabbage

Though cabbage comes with a bitter flavor because it contains glucosinolates, there’s no denying the health benefits it has to offer.

One such benefit is that it can be fermented and turned into a sauerkraut which provides loads of health benefits such as a healthy immune system, weight loss, and improved digestion.

4. Collard greens

Collard greens are loose-leafed greens that come with a slightly bitter taste and belongs to the same family as that of kale and spring greens.

Similar in texture to kale and cabbage, collard greens are packed with nutrients like Vitamins A, B9, C, and K.

Because of its vitamin K content, collard greens are believed to help reduce blood clots as well as promote good bone health.

5. Watercress

As the name implies, watercress is an aquatic plant that comes with a bitter and slightly spicy taste.

This leafy green is believed to have healing properties and has been used for centuries as a herbal medicine though further studies are still needed to confirm this claim.

Studies have shown that watercress extract can have beneficial effects on people with cancer by holding off cancer cell invasion and reproduction.

6. Romaine Lettuce

Known for its sturdy, dark leaves, romaine lettuce comes with a crunchy texture and is popularly used in Caesar salads.

This leafy green is packed with vitamins A and K and has been shown to reduce heart disease in rats though further studies are still needed to confirm its effects on humans.

7. Arugula

Also known as colewort, rocket, rucola, rucoli, and roquette, arugula is packed with several nutrients like pro-vitamin A carotenoids, vitamin B9, and vitamin K.

Known for its small leaves and slightly peppery taste, studies suggest that this leafy green may help increase blood flow and reduce blood pressure though some of its other benefits are still up for debate.

8. Bok Choy

Bok Choy is a type of Chinese cabbage characterized by thick, dark-green leaves that makes it an ideal addition to several soup and stir fry recipes.

More importantly, Bok Choy contains selenium which comes with several health benefits like improved cognitive function, immunity, and cancer prevention to name a few.

Studies have also shown that it can help improve thyroid gland function.

Final Thoughts

Leafy green vegetables come in many kinds.  They also come in different sizes, shapes, and tastes but no matter which of them you prefer more, one thing is certain.

You are bound to get dozens of health benefits you won’t find in any other food source making it a must-have in every meal.