The 10 Best Leafy Greens
Find out if kale really is king and iceberg sinks when it comes to nutrition
Whether it’s walking to work, installing a low-flow showerhead, or recycling more often, it’s important to live a little greener. The same holds true for your diet. Saturated in an alphabet of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, leafy greens are the MVPs of the supermarket produce section. And if you need more incentive to toss bunches of kale into your grocery cart, a daily serving of leafy green vegetables may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent, according to a recent study in the British Medical Journal.
In general, the deeper the green the more nutritional firepower the leaves contain. To help you zone in on the heavyweights, we’ve ranked ten greens from healthiest to least healthy based on their nutrient density and suggested ways to eat your fill without resorting to humdrum salads.
Perhaps Popeye should have been a nutritionist instead of a sailor. Among the greens, spinach harbors the most folate, and according to a recent American Journal of Epidemiology study, consuming more of this B vitamin helps protect against breast cancer development, likely because folate is needed for proper cell division. Spinach is also tops when it comes to potassium, which is necessary for muscle functioning and to keep blood pressure numbers in a healthy range.
Eat outside the bowl: Cook and drain 1 package whole-wheat penne. Place pasta back into saucepan and toss with 2 cans drained albacore tuna, 3 packed cups baby spinach, 2 cups sliced cherry tomatoes, 1 cup sliced roasted red pepper, and 1/3 cup chopped basil. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt, black pepper, and red chili flakes. Toss dressing with pasta.