Leafy greens are important nutritional foods that you should add to your diet if you are hoping to improve your health and well being. Eaten regularly, they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. Studies have stated that they are able to protect us from diabetes, heart disease and even some forms of cancer.
They are also low in sodium, fat, carbohydrates and can aid with cholesterol levels. Here are 15 leafy greens that you may wish to consider adding to your diet to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
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With small, jagged leaves and long stems, this has a strong peppery taste and is often used in salads. Compared to iceberg lettuce, it has 8 times more calcium, 4 times more iron and has 5 times higher content of Vitamins C, A and K.
Beet Greens –
Don’t just enjoy the sweet bulb of this vegetable, take advantage of those leaves too. They provide a sweet taste but yet has a bitter edge. The leaves are prone to wilting though, so remove them from the root and stem as soon as possible and get them steamed or sautéed and added to your favourite recipe.
Bok Choy –
This is a type of cabbage used widely in Chinese cooking. They are high in Vitamin A and C and a good source of folate. When choosing, look for deep green leaves and bright white stalks to ensure the vegetable hasn’t lost its flavour. The baby variety can be cooked whole, but older types do need to be chopped before cooking. They can be used in salads, steamed, sautéed or stir fried.
This vegetable has a subtle flavour and is usually found smothered with butter or cheese. They can be cooked in many ways, including boiling, steaming or boiled to name but a few. Broccoli is high in fibre, folate and vitamins K, C and A.
Perhaps one of the most versatile vegetables today. They are not only low in calories but consist of many compounds that help to fight against cancer. Used in a variety of ways, from raw in slaw or a salad, or added to a soup, either red or green options contain phytonutrients which are essential in a healthy diet.
Chard, Swiss chard –
These have bright red or green leaves upon a colourful stalk. They are high in Vitamins A and C and are sweet, though with a bitter aftertaste. It is best to steam this vegetable to retain its colour and nutrients.
Collard Greens –
High in vitamins A and C and folate, these can have quite a bitter taste. This can be lessened by blanching them quickly, before steaming. Choose ones with bright crisp leaves and keep them stored in the refrigerator. In traditional Southern cooking they are usually slow cooked with a ham hock for maximum flavour.
Dandelion Greens –
Considered globally as a “weed”, this plant has a variety of uses. The flower can be used to make wine, but the greens have a lot of medicinal properties. The greens are rich in potassium, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are all elements in a healthy diet. Usually used in soups, these leaves can help to detox the blood, aid with digestive problems and is good for the liver.
This vegetable is becoming more and more popular as an ingredient within our recipes. Kale is known for its Vitamin A and C content, as well as containing many antioxidants and nutrients. With a smoky flavour, it is often used in salads or slow cooked with garlic.for more information, read their latest comment.
Greatly used within Asian and European cooking, this is high in fibre and vitamin C. It also contains glucosinolates which can break down compounds within the body that are thought to lead to certain cancers. With an appearance similar to fennel, this vegetable actually tastes more like a mix of broccoli and radish and can be cooked in many ways.
Mustard Greens –
Although these can be tough and maybe a little bitter, they also have a spicy taste. They are full of Vitamins C, K and A, folic acid, phytonutrients and essential minerals. After purchase they can be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week. In Southern cooking, these greens are usually braised or cooked slowly to enhance their flavour.
This is actually a natural sedative, which can also aid to purify the blood. It is a member of the chicory family but has a more delicate flavour than cabbage. This vegetable can be costly as it is imported from Italy, although there are specialist farmers who are trying to cater for the growing American market.
An ultimate superfood that should be added to any healthy diet. Rich in iron, Vitamins A and C and high in folate, it is available all year round. Younger leaves have a mild and tender taste and are found in salads or quickly sautéed. Always look for deep green leaves with no spots or blemishes when choosing the vegetable and ensure you always rinse them thoroughly before use.
Turnip Greens –
When purchasing turnip, don’t discard those leafy greens. Remove them from the stalk and, if opting for tradition Southern cooking, slow cook them with a piece of pork. They are very tasty and have a peppery flavour and are also high in Vitamin C.
An adaptable leafy green that grows wild, and both the leaves and stalks can be used in your new healthy diet. They have a peppery taste and are high in vitamins A and C.
Whichever leafy greens you choose to add to your diet, remember to ensure you reap all those health benefits.