Being healthy is not a walk in the park. It takes a lot of work and dedication, starting with your diet for example. If all your life you've been used to fast foods, instant food products and fatty dishes, then it would be a major challenge for you to stick with the healthier must-haves like vegetables. But you can't forgo vegetables. These are crucial for better health. They are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that help protect you against a wide range of diseases including heart ailments, diabetes and even cancer. Below, you'll find the leafy greens that you should definitely have more in your kitchen and on your plate.
This is a nutritional powerhouse. It has everything that you would want from a vegetable. It's rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, potassium and folate. Before you cook with this leafy green, wash it with water until the leaves are free from dirt. Then rub the leaves in oil or sesame paste then cook for a few minutes with olive oil, broth and garlic.
Popeye was sending the right message to kids eating those cans of spinach. This vegetable is loaded with folate, calcium, and vitamins A and C. It's better to cook spinach than to eat it raw because the heat reduces the oxalate content of spinach and releases the dietary calcium at the same time. You should make it a habit to include this vegetable in soups, pastas and casseroles.
This one has red stems, stalks and some veins on the leaves. It tastes a little like the beet but it has a softer texture that makes it perfect for sautéed meals. It's an excellent source of both vitamin A and C. Add raisins to a sweet and sour chard to up the nutritional power of this leafy green.
Collards are staple in Southern-style cooking. The nutritional components of this vegetable are similar to those of kale. The difference is that this one has a chewier texture and stronger taste. Use collards instead of bread or tortillas for wrapping smoked turkey and other veggie mix.
Buy turnips with the tops on so that you get two vegetables in one. The leaves from the turnips are usually cooked with pork. These vegetables are low in calorie but are packed with vitamins A, C, K and the bone-strengthening mineral calcium.
Broccoli has always been popular as a source of vitamin C. But it's also rich in vitamin A, folate and potassium. They are best eaten raw or steamed and dipped into low fat yogurt or fat free dressing. It's also a good idea to mix broccoli with your pasta. Just do this for the last 3 minutes of the cooking to ensure that the crisp texture and nutrients are preserved.
Whether green or red, this favorite salad ingredient is high in vitamin A. It also provides some folate. Go for darker colored lettuce leaf as this contains more nutrition.