Score one for mom. Turns out those green vegetables you always turned your nose up at when you saw them on the dinner table really are good for you. Packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, leafy greens are an important part of a balanced diet and have a number of health benefits. Here are a few of the best.
A staple in many Southern kitchens, collard greens are a good source of calcium, folate, and vitamins A and C. They’re also loaded with vitamin K, which has been shown to reduce blood clotting and improve bone health.
Less nutrient-rich than its darker-green counterparts, iceberg is the go-to lettuce for many salad eaters and as a condiment for other foods. It also provides significant amounts of vitamins A and K and helps to combat anemia, heart disease and age-related illnesses.
In terms of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, kale is a veritable super food. This dense, green-leafed vegetable helps to support weight loss, lower risk of developing cancer, improve digestion, reduce chronic inflammation and improve eye health.
The crunchy texture of Romaine makes it a popular lettuce choice in produce departments and on Caesar salads. Rich in vitamins A and C, Romaine promotes heart health, helps to lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke.
Although Popeye used this leafy green primarily to pump up his muscles, spinach has been shown to aid digestion, promote heart health, prevent cancer and strengthen bones. The folate found in spinach can also help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida in pregnant women.
Used frequently in Mediterranean cooking, Swiss chard is a colorful vegetable that has an earthy taste. More important, it’s packed with nutrients that reduce blood sugar levels, boost cognitive development, improve circulation and help to reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke and cancer.