Leafy greens benefit every part of your body, especially your skin. The nutrients and antioxidants found within the leafy greens help keep your skin looking soft and young.
But they're far from boring. You'll find numerous leafy greens if you just take a look around you. From the grocery store, we have lots of different choices. And, if you're lucky to get to your local farmer's market, you can get the freshest, healthiest greens. And most likely, the ones with the best taste.
How To Eat Your Leafy Greens To Get The Most Benefit
Leafy greens are wonderful, but they can get boring after a while. In most cases, eating your leafy greens raw will give you the biggest benefit. Tossing your leafy greens in a smoothie is one of the easiest ways to get in a lot quickly. However, cooking doesn't decrease the nutritional value all that much, if you do it correctly.
The biggest thing is don't overcook them. A light steam is your best way, followed by quick roasting and a quick stir fry. One perfect example is braised collard greens, which are very common in the South. Or steamed spinach.
All leafy grains are loaded with vitamin A, C, E, and K, plus one of the super-nutrients, chlorophyll. These help keep your skin from being damaged by the sun.
And they add a lot of biotin and folate, which help repair the damage to the keratin in your skin that keeps it wrinkle-free.
Plus, it has plenty of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron to help support healthy growth and Help you avoid signs of aging.
Leafy greens really are a nutritional superstar.
Go With The Seasons
Yes, you can get your leafy greens in the grocery store at any time of the year. They get shipped in from greenhouses and other growers to keep a supply year-round.
But, you get a little more benefit, and a lot of variety, if you go with the seasons. Spinach tastes fantastic first thing in the spring, followed by the warmer bok choy and collards as summer continues. The final spinach and Swiss chard of the fall give a delightful ending to the season.
The list we have below certainly isn't exhaustive. And there's variety within each of the categories that gives slightly different tastes and textures. In some local areas, you can get other leafy greens not on the list.
Foraging in the northern spring gives you fiddleheads, coltsfoot, and knotweed sprouts. In the South, poke sprouts are very common. In the southwest, young cactus are eaten as leafy greens. Keep an eye out, because you can certainly be surprised by the variety you can get.
This soft leaf has a slightly peppery flavor, provided by glucosinolates. Some research says it may protect you against certain cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers, plus fight inflammation.
Bok choy (Chinese chard)
This light and delicate leafy green, perfect for stir fry, is rich in quercetin and selenium, which helps reduce inflammation.
One of the best leafy greens for the winter, this one stores very well and makes particularly healthy probiotic kimchi or sauerkraut.
Collard greens (collards)
Related to broccoli, collards have vitamin K and ALA, and Omega fatty acid known for helping reduce heart disease.
Dandelion is one of the most nutrient-dense greens you can possibly eat. It's packed with beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc. It contains numerous polysaccharides that can help your digestive system and liver, and taraxasterol that a potent anti-inflammatory.
Any leaf herb is also a leafy green. And, herbs are packed with nutrition, taste, and health benefits!
Kale is particularly rich in fiber, and one of the most popular leafy greens to add to smoothies. It's packed with nutrition, even though it's one of the weaker ones on this list. Still, if you can get young, fresh kale, it's delightful to add to your salads and smoothies. Older kale leaves make fantastic dried chips.
There are hundreds of types of lettuce, from the relatively nutritional poor iceberg lettuce all the way through some exotic types and hybrids. It's a great way to add bulk and nutrition to your salad and keep the taste light and fresh.
The original peppery green, mustard comes in several varieties. It's particularly rich in the flavonoids researched to help cancer and heart disease. The red types contain anthocyanins that are superstars against almost all known diseases.
Rapini (broccoli raab)
A great source of fiber and unusual green taste, broccoli raab is uncommon and most stores, but very easy to grow. It's a great way to add variety to your salads, and wonderful roasted with garlic.
The unique and flavorful spinach! It contains moderate levels of all types of vitamins and minerals, and has high amounts of ALA, chlorophyll, and flavonoids. It contains high levels of vitamin A and iron, both of which are very important to people with anemia.
Sprouts are nutritious, particularly in the winter when it's difficult to get fresh, leafy greens. Each of the sprouts has different nutritional values, depending on what it’s sprouted from. There's a huge variety of different types of sprouts with different flavors, each reminiscent of the leaf they will eventually become.
A sweet and tasty leafy green, Swiss Chard is packed with antioxidants and many vitamins and minerals. It's perhaps one of the easiest leafy greens to grow, and one that has a lot of versatility.
Turnip & Beet Greens
The tops of turnips and beets are good for you, as well. Most people are surprised to learn that turnip and beet greens ranked the highest on Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) score, making these one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet.
We hope you give some of these leafy greens a chance and learn the different flavors you can get from a simple leaf.