The 5 Healthiest Leafy Greens in the World

in Health

We all know that green stuff is good, but not all leafy greens are created equal.  There’s a world of difference between an iceberg lettuce salad and a plate of stir-fried spinach.  If you’re looking to change your eating habits, it’s helpful to know about the most nutritiously potent vegetables out there to help kickstart your healthy lifestyle:

The 5 Healthiest Leafy Greens in the World Are:

5. Rapini (Broccoli Rabe) Photo by naotakem

Although rapini looks a lot like broccoli it’s actually a member of the turnip family.  Until recently, rapini was an uncommon sight in most US produce sections, but is now becoming increasingly popular. Rapini is a big part of many Chinese and Italian dishes and thus can be an easy addition to many stir fry and pasta dishes. Try stir frying rapini with garlic and red peppers and eating it on its own, or add it to an omelet.  You can also adding it as an ingredient to pasta or lasagna.

4.SpinachPhoto by laurelfan

Spinach is versatile and cheap, and can be a key ingredient in many quick delicious recipes.  Spinach goes well with most everything and can be used to add flavor to many dishes. Stir fry-spinach with olive oil and garlic and add a dash of salt and you’re good to go.  Go one step further and you can put this spinach garlic mix on top of pasta with feta cheese or even make a spinach enchilada with verde sauce and Monterrey Jack cheese on top.

3. Bok ChoyPhoto by themarmot

Bok Choy, or Chinese cabbage, like Rapini and Spinach is packed with both vitamin A and C.  It can be wonderful and easy addition to any chinese stir fry dish.  If you want to experiment with it, try sauteing or stir-frying bok choy with chopped garlic and shredded ginger, or sesame oil and soy sauce.

2. WatercressPhoto by wikioticslan

The slightly peppery, sour tasting watercress is handy because it can be added raw to salads or sandwiches without a minute of preparation time.  Like the other veggies on this list, one cup of the stuff has more than your daily value of vitamin K, and is also linked to cancer prevention.

1. Kale / Collard GreensPhoto by Salim VirjiIt’s a tie! Because Kale and Collard Greens are actually very similar vegetables, they’ve tied for the the top spot.  As far as which is more packed with nutrients, it’s probably the collard greens, although the difference is very small. To get the nutritional benefit of either of these vegetables, steaming is recommended.  Not only are the vitamin K, A and C levels off the charts, but Kale and Collard Greens are a good source of minerals.  There are also many complex flavonoids in both vegetables that are linked to cancer prevention and detoxification.  Both vegetables are a prominent part of US Southern cuisine, and can often be found in soups and salads. The veggies on this list are some of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet.  The nice thing about any of these veggies is that they can be supplemental to whatever you normally cook.  Add a little spinach to your omelete, or some watercress to your sandwich.  If you’re making a soup, you might want to experiment with a little portion of it and see how it tastes with some collard greens or kale in the mix.  Needless to say, just a little bit of any of these vegetables any day can go far to help promote your new healthier lifestyle.

Photo by arvindgrover

By TeachStreet.  TeachStreet is a website dedicated to providing local and online classes, including fitness classes and nutrition classes.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Evelyn January 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Hi Shona,

Awesome list!

I’ve tried all except for rapini. I’m glad you shared how to prepare. I can’t wait to try rapini.


Morgan January 25, 2011 at 9:39 am

Hi Shona!

I absolutely love all of these! What a great list! I love that you even add some suggestions on how to use them. 🙂

The Salty Chef February 1, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I am glad you like the article! Thanks for reading!

Tia Peterson January 25, 2011 at 8:59 am

I agree with Marlee – this is an awesome list. I love all of these. I had my first taste of sautéed broccoli rabe a few years ago and decided that would be my favorite sautéed green!

Kale is yummy in hearty soups. They are all yummy in hearty soups, actually.


The Salty Chef February 1, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Broccoli Rabe is great in soups too! Thanks for reading! So many of these great veggies are very under rated!

Marlee January 25, 2011 at 6:49 am

Hi Shona!

What a great list of greens! They are so powerful in their health effects. My husband and I are crazy over Broccoli Rabe and Kale. We actually juice the Kale and drink it. It’s like a miracle green juice. Popeye’s got nothing on Kale! Thanks for sharing the knowledge. 🙂

The Salty Chef February 1, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Thanks for reading, I am glad you like the post!

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