4 leafy greens better than kale

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | General Health | Saturday, June 06, 2015 - 12:00 AM

green leafy better then kaleLeafy greens are the mascot for good health. Salads, sautees or smoothies, we should all be eating them in all their varieties to stay healthy.

Kale has been getting the most buzz because of its high nutritional content. It’s packed with vitamins such as C, A and B-6, it also contains iron and magnesium. It’s low in calories. With all of its benefits, it’s no wonder that kale is constantly praised for its ability to improve our health.

But maybe you’re starting to get tired of kale – or don’t even enjoy the slightly bitter taste – either way, there are many other options in the leafy green family that you should try that provide even more nutrition than kale.

So why stick to the same old green when there is a large variety on offer? Here are 4 other leafy choices to sample:

Watercress

natural remedies for diabetesYou may see watercress as a garnish, but the pungent, yet delicate leaves are starting to pick up in popularity as a superfood. Part of the same family as kale and broccoli, watercress grows in natural spring water and was believed to be a staple of Roman soldier’s diet.

You can enjoy two cups of watercress with only consuming seven calories. Better yet, it contains dietary nitrate which can help in circulation as well as blood pressure. It can also provide your daily allowance of vitamin C, E, K, A, potassium, riboflavin and magnesium.

Benefits of enjoying watercress include a boost in energy, improved bone health and maintenance of blood sugar levels because of the plant’s antioxidants.

Watercress can be blended in smoothies, blanched for a few minutes and added to soups and omelets or, of course, incorporated in a salad or sandwich. The possibilities are many and the benefits are well worth it.

Swiss chard

Cousins to kale, Swiss chard will exceed your daily requirements of vitamin K and A in just one cup. Swiss chard also contains powerful antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and choline – all beneficial for eyesight and overall good health.

Similar to watercress, Swiss chard can assist in maintaining healthy blood pressure and glucose in the blood. Further, its vitamin K can assist in bone health.

With its bitter, pungent and slightly salty taste, Swiss chard is one versatile green. The hearty leaves can hold up well without wilting in salads much in the same way kale does.

Dandelion

You may never have thought this common lawn weed was edible let alone nutritious, but many cultures have been enjoying the benefits of dandelions for decades.

The beauty of the dandelion isn’t actually in the flower, but rather the leaves. Dandelion leaves provide protein – more than spinach! – vitamins A, C and B, fiber, potassium, iron and magnesium.

Dandelions are also high in antioxidants which can fight off free-radical damage. They’re reported to boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, maintain healthy blood pressure, and improve liver function by removing toxins. With all these benefits you’ll never look at this lawn-weed the same way.

Given its rise in foodie circles, you’ll start seeing it more commonly in stores. Even the kind you pick from your back yard is safe as long as pesticides have not been sprayed.

Parsley

herbs for brain healthParsley is often hidden in dishes to add flavor, so sadly it never appears as the star of the plate. But no matter how you use it, your health will benefit.

Parsley is low in calories, fat and sugar but packed with vitamins K, C and A. Parsley is also high in chlorophyll and research has shown that chlorophyll is effective in blocking carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic aminos – this happens when you’re grilling and the food becomes charred. For safe grilling, enjoy a leafy green salad with parsley on the side.

Parsley can be added to any meal to brighten the flavor. Even though it doesn’t need to take the lead, it’s still working hard to keep you healthy.

Nutritional Facts
Leafy
Greens
Serving
Size
Energy
(kcal)
Protein
(g)
Fiber
(g)
Carbs
(g)
Minerals
(mg)
Vitamins
Amount per serving
Dandelion 1 cup, chopped
55g
25 1.48 1.9 5.06 Calcium 103
Iron 1.70
Magnesium 20
Phosphorus 36
Potassium 218
Sodium 42
Vitamin A 5589 IU Vitamin K 428.1 µg Vitamin C 19.2 mg
Swiss Chard Value per 100 g 19 1.8 1.6 3.74 Calcium 51
Iron 1.80
Magnesium 81
Phosphorus 46
Potassium 319
Sodium 213
Vitamin A 6116 IU Vitamin K 830 µg Vitamin C 30 mg
Parsley 1 cup chopped
60g
22 1.78 2 3.8 Calcium 83
Iron 3.72
Magnesium 30
Phosphorus 35
Potassium 332
Sodium 34
Vitamin A 5054 IU Vitamin K 984 µg Vitamin C 79.8 mg
Watercress 1 cup, chopped
34g
4 0.78 0.2 0.44 Calcium 41
Iron 0.07
Magnesium 7
Phosphorus 20
Potassium 112
Sodium 14
Vitamin A 1085 IU Vitamin K 85 µg Vitamin C 14.6 mg

Ref USDA Basic Report:  11207, Dandelion greens, raw, USDA Basic Report:  11147, Chard, swiss, raw, USDA Basic Report:  11297, Parsley, fresh, USDA Basic Report:  11591, Watercress, raw

Eat your greens for good health

If you’re getting bored with kale but still want the benefits, swapping in these other leafy greens are great ways to maintain proper health. Really, though, any leafy green will be good for your health and the darker the better.

Be creative with your leafy greens. Having a salad every day can get quite boring and you may not want to eat them anymore. By incorporating greens into all meals in some form – sautéed, boiled – you can enjoy health benefits in a variety of ways.

 

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