Kale. You either love it or hate it. (I guess a third possibility is you’ve never tried it!) Anyway, for some people kale elicits a negative response while for others it is the number one cure-all, the healthiest food one can have in the fridge. This week’s challenge is to eat leafy greens, one of the most concentrated sources of nutrients on the planet. Kale tops the list, but you may be surprised by the variety of healthy greens available. Try a green that is new or one you don’t eat often. Eating a diet full of rich leafy greens offers numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and mental decline.
The top 14 healthiest leafy green vegetables and their benefits have been outlined by healthline.com
Kale: considered one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet
Microgreens: immature greens produced from the seeds of vegetables and herbs
Broccoli: part of the cabbage family; a single cup has 135 mgs of vitamin C
Collard Greens: loose leaf greens, related to kale.
Spinach: one of the most popular leafy greens with 181% of your daily vitamin K
Cabbage: cluster of thick leaves that come in green, white and purple
Beet Greens: the leafy tops of beets
Romaine Lettuce: common leafy vegetable good, source of vitamin A and K.
Watercress: an aquatic plant used in medicine for centuries
Swiss Chard: dark-green leaves with a thick stalk that is red, white, yellow or green; often used in Mediterranean cooking and belongs to the same family as beets and spinach
Arugula: slight peppery taste packed with vitamin A, B9 and K
Endive: less known because it is difficult to grow; crisp texture, sweet, nutty flavor with a pleasantly mild bitterness
Bok Choy: thick, dark green leaves, mostly used in soups and stir-fries
Turnip Greens: the greens of a turnip plant which have a strong and spicy flavor
A few questions answered:
Raw or cooked? It’s a heated debate out there in the health world—should veggies be eaten raw or cooked? The answer is both, depending on which veggie you’re eating and what nutrients you’re trying to get out of them. Vitamin C, for instance, oxidizes almost immediately in cooked foods, but other nutrients can become more bioavailable when lightly steamed. Kale’s health-promoting properties are enhanced when lightly steamed for five minutes, especially its ability to lower cholesterol. The fiber-related components in steamed kale do a better job of binding together with bile acids in the digestive tract, making it easier for bile acids to be excreted, thereby reducing cholesterol levels.