Nutritional Benefits of Leafy Greens
It is common knowledge these days that vegetables are a vital part of a balanced diet, complete with many nutritious benefits. Something that is not inherently obvious, but is beginning to step into the spotlight more and more, is that green vegetables are healthier than most others.
Specifically, leafy green vegetables are the healthiest of all. They are low in both calories and fat, but contain high levels of protein, dietary fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, folate, lutein, and vitamins C and K. These veggies are popular throughout the world, and are a staple in many different types of cuisine. Plus, they can be prepared in various ways or eaten raw, and they go well with just about anything. Below, some of the most notable of the leafy greens are discussed in greater detail.
What Is Kale?
Kale is a vegetable? Really? Yes, it sure is, and one of the best ones out
there, if you’re looking from a nutrition perspective. It comes in several different varieties, including curly leaved, plain leaved, leaf and spear, rape kale, and cavolo nero. Also, one of the forms of kale is always in season, no matter the season, so you can have it fresh year-round. The Vitamin K content of kale is especially high, which contributes to healthy blood coagulation and proper metabolism of nutrients in bone and bodily tissues. Kale is even grown in some parts of the world specifically for its ornamental leaves to give an aesthetic appeal to gardens. Kale is both beautiful and healthy.
Spinach ? It’s Better Than Lettuce
All too often, people decide to go on diets and eat more salads, which consequently means eating more lettuce. While there is certainly nothing wrong with lettuce, it isn’t nearly as healthy as the other common salad mainstay ? spinach. Spinach is just as common raw as it is cooked and creamed. You may not instantly develop sailor-sized arms like Popeye after eating spinach, but it is sure to be beneficial to your health. Particularly, spinach is noted as having very high levels of calcium and iron, and even helps the body to retain levels of iron more regularly. So, the next time you’re craving a salad, skip the iceberg, skip the romaine, and turn to spinach instead. Or, try to add some spinach into your dinner for tonight. Your body will be glad you did so tomorrow.
Swiss Cheese? Nope, Swiss Chard
What is Swiss chard? Most people haven’t ever eaten this leafy green veggie, let alone heard of it. Swiss chard, ironically, is popular in Mediterranean cuisine, but is now becoming more and more popular in the United States. The leaves themselves are dark green in color with bright red stems. Kale is most commonly eaten when cooked, but just like most other greens, it can also be consumed raw as part of a salad.
Mustard Greens, Not Yellow Mustard
The word mustard alone conjures up that yellowy condiment that frequently is used atop hot dogs and pretzels, among many other foods. So naturally, mustard greens have to be related, right? Well, kind of. Brassica juncea, or mustard greens, is the plant from which mustard seeds are extracted. However, these plants are much more useful than just the seeds that give us that condiment.
The leaf part of the plant, though, is not only edible, but of superb nutritional value. Though not as common or quite as nutritious as the other leafy greens described above, mustard greens can be an excellent occasional substitute that allows your taste buds to enjoy a change of pace as well.
Author Bio: Taylor Thomas is an experienced writer who has written for a number of notable publications. As a lifestyle expert, Mr. Thomas is able to offer advice and insight on a multitude of topics, including those pertaining to nutrition and patient education.