How many times in your life have you had to be reminded to eat your greens? Probably a few times by me! 😂
If you just participated in my Green Smoothie Challenge, then you know most people experienced improved energy levels just by adding in more greens every day!
Getting a daily dose of leafy greens is the answer to so many of our health worries, from supporting our immunity to detoxing our body -leafy greens are an essential part of our diet.
But what greens are best for you?
I’ve done a deep dive to find out. Here are a few of my top picks:
1. Kale – The Nutrient Hit
Kale is perhaps the best to showcase that juicy nutrient profile. It’s even considered one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet. It rates as the highest source of nutrients on the ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) scale. The ANDI ranks the nutrient value of many common foods on the basis of how many nutrients they deliver to your body for each calorie consumed on a scale of 1-1000. Kale is a 1000! One cup of raw kale packs 684% of the daily value for Vitamin K, 206% for Vitamin and 134% for Vitamin C.
What? I think that’s incredible.
2. Arugula (Rocket) – The Blood Regulator
Arugula is packed with the incredible vitamins and minerals found in most leafy greens. But one thing that sets it apart from the rest (and not just the distinct peppery taste) is that it’s one of the best sources of dietary nitrates, which is turned into nitric oxide in your body. Some studies have shown that nitrates may help to increase blood flow and reduce blood pressure by widening the vessels, markedly in hypertensive patients.
3. Collard Greens – The Vitamin K Boost
We know that kale offers an impressive serving of Vitamin K, but it really shines in collard greens. One cup of this leafy vegetable offers an overwhelming 1,045% of the DV. But why do we need Vitamin K in our diet? Most importantly, it’s known for its role in the blood clotting process – which is needed for optimal health. More recently, studies have been exploring the role of the vitamin and bone health and have found a strong link between Vitamin K deficiency and increased hip fractures.
4. Spinach – The Pregnancy Support
Spinach, like other leafy greens, is an incredible all-rounder with a pleasantly neutral taste – some would argue even slightly sweet. This makes it versatile and one of my personal favorites. But what makes it truly stand out is the essential folate found in the leaves. Folate is essential for red blood cell production, as well as the prevention of neural tube defects in pregnancy, most notably spina bifida. Increased consumption of this in the first trimester has been linked to decreased risk of the fetus developing this condition.
5. Watercress – The Cancer Fighter
While watercress may have a strong flavor, the potential benefits outweigh any unpleasantness. This green has been used in medicinal tinctures for centuries and we’re only just beginning to understand its powers in the scientific community. There is evidence to suggest that watercress extract may be beneficial in targeting cancer stem cells and impairing cancer cell reproduction and invasion, so here’s hoping the research continues.
6. Bok Choy – The Selenium Booster
Selenium is an essential mineral that’s missing in many diets. We can obtain it through Brazil nuts (a personal favorite), but it’s abundant in Bok Choy – which is incidentally the best green for Asian-inspired dishes. Selenium plays an important role in cognitive function and immunity, as well as supporting regulation of the thyroid gland. Among many functions, the thyroid is responsible for metabolism in the body – so safe to say selenium is needed wherever we can get it.
7. Dandelion Greens – The Detox Support
The greens and roots from these promote detoxification and weight loss, alongside enhanced liver function, making it the perfect detox companion. A few leaves in a salad or brewed into a tea will see you reaping the benefits in no time.
What healthy green will you be picking next? Let me know below!