We all know that salads pack a lot of nutritional bang for their low caloric buck, but incorporating different greens into your meal can give you an added boost. While iceberg lettuce is commonly used in many salads, it had rather low nutritional value. Other greens are just as tasty and have the added benefit of being more nutritionally dense. Here are five green powerhouses to add to your diet today:
Popeye knew what he was doing when he ate this green! Just one cup of spinach packs 20% of the recommended daily value of fiber. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate. Eating spinach can boost your energy levels due to its iron content. Iron helps make up the compound hemoglobin in our blood, which is responsible for carrying oxygen to our cells. More oxygen = greater energy! Spinach is good in all forms but to get the best benefit from it try cooking it. Adding heat frees up the calcium found in the leaves and makes it available to you.
Kale is a slightly bitter green that is full of amazing nutrients. Kale has an abundance of antioxidants that help reduce the cellular damage caused by oxidation. Like spinach, one cup has 20% of the recommended daily value of fiber further promoting digestive health. It also contains glucosinates, which may play a role in preventing cancer. TIP: if adding kale to a salad, try massaging the dressing into the leaves for a few minutes. This makes the kale softer and less bitter.
Romaine lettuce is a good alternative for iceberg due to the similar crispness, however, romaine packs more nutrition. Romaine is a very heart-healthy food due to its vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, fiber, and potassium content. Vitamin C and beta-carotene prevent the oxidation of cholesterol thus lowering plaque buildup in blood vessels. It’s the oxidation of cholesterol that makes it sticky so preventing this reaction promotes cardiovascular health.
These three greens are excellent additions to any diet. Other greens you can also add for more nutritional benefit include cabbage, mustard greens, and collard greens.
What are your favorite greens? Any that aren’t listed?