Eating so-called superfoods gives you many of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs in one go. Some of the leafy greens you see every day in your supermarket are laden with these nutrients, yet many of us simply walk by on our way to the ready-meal section.
If you’re about to start a healthy eating drive, or even if you just want to make some slight improvements to your lifestyle, there are 10 leafy greens that can definitely be considered a fully fledged superfood.
This is often the leafy green people have heard about but have never tried. Just a single portion of kale gives you your entire daily requirement of vitamins K, C and A. There is also some evidence to suggest that the phytonutrients in kale can help in the fight against cancer and heart disease. There is a plentiful supply of potassium, calcium and iron in this green leaf vegetable. Slightly more calorific than other superfoods on this list, kale is definitely the king of leafy greens.
A large portion of spinach can contain as much as 1.6g of fibre. It is packed with vitamin C and vitamin A, and is also a rich source of folic acid, which is responsible for turning what you eat into energy and producing healthy red blood cells. Spinach has an unmistakable rich and peppery flavour, and it is great in both cooked dishes and salads.
A large portion of watercress can contain up to an astonishing two grams of protein. And just a average-sized serving can give you your recommended daily intake of vitamins K and A, and half your daily intake of vitamin C. A diet that includes lots of watercress will help your body to develop vital blood clotting agents, strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Another leafy green with a powerful, peppery flavour is arugula. This is the perfect base for a healthy salad, as its powerful flavour actually serves as a seasoning. Packed with vitamins A and C, arugula is also a rich source of iron and antioxidants. This green is often used as a mere garnish, but it deserves so much better.
5. Swiss chard
Swiss chard is the almost meaty leaf that has thick, veined leaves and red stems. It is a rich source of oxalates, which are important for the absorption of calcium (also found in abundance in Swiss chard). Along with a huge range of antioxidants, this filling leafy green is rich in vitamins K, C and A. Swiss chard contains many of the things that fight against coronary disease and inflammatory conditions. And if all that isn’t impressive enough, it can play an active role in maintaining a healthy immune system.
6. Romaine lettuce
If you ever buy a prepackaged salad at the supermarket, there’s a very good chance it has Romaine lettuce as its base — or something very similar. This particular leaf has a softer texture than Iceberg lettuce, but it packs a lot more vitamins and minerals. Rich in calcium, vitamin D, thiamine, magnesium, selenium, potassium and zinc, this is a great all-rounder that protects against osteoporosis, boosts the immune system and promotes good cardiovascular health.
7. Bok choy
If you like a nice chow mein or stir fry, there’s a good chance you’re eating bok choy regularly. Also referred to as Chinese cabbage, bok choy is packed with immunity-boosting beta-carotene and carotenoids, which are important for eye health. A single serving of bok choy also contains around half your daily recommended intake of vitamins A, C and K.
These seven leafy greens together deliver almost every type of major nutrient the body needs. Eat at least one portion of them a day, and your body should start reaping the rewards fairly quickly.