In a world of primarily raw, plant-based eating, leafy green vegetables have quite the reputation. They're loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants that give your body the strength it needs to reduce your risk for developing chronic conditions – such as heart disease, osteoporosis and certain cancers – while also helping you maintain a healthy weight, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Essentially, these natural gifts from God have the power to aid your body back to health, allowing for longevity and overall satisfaction of life.
What makes some of the most beneficial leafy greens so rich and nutritious? Read on to learn more about your best options:
Loaded with calcium, folate, potassium and vitamins A,C and K, The Science of Eating calls kale a powerhouse of nutrition, dubbing it the best leafy green available. Its high source of antioxidants gives it anti-cancer properties, among many other benefits in regard to overall health and longevity.
According to Dr. Mercola, spinach is another great leafy green that's beneficial to essentially every part of the body. It's low in fat and cholesterol and high in niacin, zinc, protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E, K, B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. These nutrients help to protect the cardiovascular system, lower high blood pressure, maintain brain function and more.
One serving of Chinese cabbage, better known as bok choy, contains 9 calories, 1 gram of protein, 1.5 grams of carbohydrates, 0 cholesterol and 0.1 grams of polyunsaturated fat when raw, according to Medical News Daily. A single cup of the stuff have 5 percent of your daily potassium, 62 percent vitamin A, 52 percent of vitamin C, 3 percent of vitamin B6 and 3 percent of magnesium. It also harbors phosphorus, zinc, sodium, copper, manganese, selenium, beta-carotene and more nutrients that aid bone and heart health, reduce inflammation, regulate blood pressure and boost immunity.
Turnip greens are low in calories – at only 20 per cup – but they're high in flavor, calcium and vitamins A, C and K. It's vitamin A content promotes healthy eyesight, preventing age-related macular degeneration and other eye-related disorders risk. Turnip greens are also great for bones and teeth due to its calcium content, keeping bones strong and reducing your chance of experiencing fractures or developing osteoporosis down the road.
Swiss chard has an impressive abundance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, according to Organic Facts. It's loaded with vitamin K, C, A, E and B6, as well as riboflavin, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, sodium, copper and fiber. Due to its nutrient content, Swiss chard has the ability to help regulate blood pressure, improve digestion, boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, increase bone strength, maintain brain function and even reduce cancer risks.
Other highly beneficial leafy green vegetables that should show up in your primarily raw, plant-based diet include arugula, cabbage, mustard greens, watercress and collards. Add a variety of these vegetables to salads, use them as the base for a vegetable wrap or add them to your favorite raw soups and juices for optimum nutrition.
We believe all leafy green vegetables are beneficial to overall health and longevity, and variety is key when it comes to following a plant-based diet. Make sure to mix things up and prioritize a new leafy green during every meal. To keep your breakfast, lunch and dinner interesting, be sure to refer to our database of recipes to stay inspired in the kitchen.