Dark, leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses. “They’re really high in a lot of nutrients that are most essential for health,” certified nutritionist and cookbook author Gena Hamshaw says. “You’re getting a lot of nutritional bang for your buck.”
But so many of us don’t eat nearly enough of these amazing veggies. “People think if they’re eating a lot of salad, they’re maximizing their leafy green intake, but cooking them is far more nutrient-dense than a big old salad of arugula or baby spinach,” Hamshaw says. Plus, many of us fall into a spinach or kale rut — we aren’t sure what to do with collard greens or even know that we can eat beet greens.
Reinvigorate your eating plan and boost your health with these seven dark leafy greens, then use our cooking tips to help them taste their absolute best. Aim for at least 1 serving daily, which is 1 cup cooked or 2 cups raw.
Some have proclaimed kale the king (while others have declared it a passing fad), and it’s likely because it’s high in many of the nutrients found in all leafy greens, including protein, calcium, iron and vitamins A and K. It’s also the one of the best leafy greens for lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants key for eye health.
Tip: It may sound odd to massage a vegetable, but in this case, it helps break down kale’s tough fibers. Massage yours with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil, then serve it topped with other vegetables, beans and avocado, suggests Sharon Palmer, RDN, author of “Plant-Powered for Life.”