All leafy greens are not created equal. And, sadly, the most popular greens in the United States aren’t even close to being the most nutritious. So what should you replace your iceberg lettuce with? Click through to read about some of the healthiest greens around.
Nutritional Information: Rising star kale certainly deserves its place in the spotlight. Rich in vitamins A, C, K, B6, as well as calcium and magnesium. It definitely earns its title as a “superfood” — it’s packed with anti-cancer and cholesterol-lowering antioxidants. These antioxidants also promote heart and eye health.
Serving Suggestions: As such a popular veggie, there are so many ways to make kale, from raw in salads to sauteed in olive oil. Check out 17 ways to cook with kale here.
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Nutritional Information: Collard greens are a true leafy rockstar. For one thing, a serving of collard greens has more calcium than a glass of milk! They’re also packed with several potent anti-cancer properties, and are perhaps the best leafy green for lowering cholesterol. They’re also rich in vitamins K, C, & A.
Serving Suggestions: The traditional Southern way may be to cook in pork fat, but for a healthier alternative, simmer simmer in olive oil, onion, and garlic for about 30 minutes.
Nutritional Information: Popeye isn’t the only one raving about the greatness of spinach. This leafy green is rich in iron, calcium, and a whole alphabet of vitamins. One property in spinach has been shown to help combat prostate cancer more than any other popular veggie!
Cooking Tip: If you’re going to boil spinach, don’t do so for any longer than a minute. Any longer, and the nutritional content will wane. But who needs to cook spinach anyway?! Replace spinach with romaine in your next salad.
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4. Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)
Nutritional Information: Don’t be confused by the name — broccoli rabe, or rapini, isn’t related to that famous veggie of the name name, it’s actually related to turnips! Rapini has plenty of vitamin C, as well as K, A, iron and calcium.
Serving Suggestions: Here’s a great recipe for goat cheese rapini toasts. Yum!
5. Dandelion Greens
Nutritional Information: Dandelions are often thought of as a pesky weed. But the greens of dandelions aren’t pesky at all — in fact, they’re nutritional powerhouses! Some even consider dandelion greens to be one of the most nutritious vegetable around! In addition to so many of the nutritional perks and antioxidants that other leafy greens give you, dandelion greens are great for digestion and combating viruses.
Serving Suggestions: Dandelion greens are bitter. They’re tasty raw if paired with a rich goat cheese. You can also sautee them like you would with other greens.
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Nutritional Information: Hundreds of studies have shown that cabbage is an excellent cancer-combating veggie. It’s also great for your digestive track and your heart. Bok choy, a Chinese cousin of cabbage, is also a nutritious — and delicious — leafy green.
Serving Suggestions: Took get the most nutrients out of cabbage, try steaming it. Check out this recipe.
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7. Turnip Greens
Nutritional Information: The greens on top of the turnip roots are discarded all too often. And it’s a shame, really, because the greens are nutritional powerhouses! They are exceptionally bitter, a taste that has been linked in part to its abundant calcium content. Like so many leafy greens on this list, turnip greens are high in vitamins A, K and C. They have plenty of antioxidants and contain plenty of fiber.
Serving Suggestions: Braise them in oil and garlic. Here’s a great recipe.
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Nutritional Information: With colorful stems and bright green leaves, chard is definitely one of the prettiest greens out there. And, with plenty of vitamins A and C, as well as hefty doses of iron and fiber, its nutritional value is nothing to sneeze at, either.
Serving Suggestions: Steaming chard is a great way to go. In a steamer, let chard cook for about 3-5 minutes.