One of the easiest, low-maintenance types of plants to grow in your garden are leafy greens.  Leafy greens thrive when nitrogen in the soil is high but can do jut as well in average soil.  These types of plants do best when watered regularly and receive around 4 hours of sunlight per day.

Besides coming in different colors and textures, leafy greens also have different nutrient ratings.  Some varieties such as lettuce are high in fiber and rich in vitamins, while spinach is a fantastic source of iron.  Kale is a great addition to your diet if you’re looking for antioxidants, and arugula can help satisfy your hunger without widening the waist.  Here is The-Urban-Farmer’s  list of healthiest leafy greens.

“Arugula is rich in folate which studies has shown can help prevent mental defects in newborns.”

#1.  Kalehealthiest leafy greens

This powerful green comes from the Brassica family which also includes cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.  Kale is recognizable through it’s curly, ruffled leaves, and a layer of epicuticular wax on the leaves causing liquids to seemingly bead off.  Kale also comes in many colors and variations of it’s curly texture.

Benefits of Kale:

  1. Cancer fighter – Absolutely filled with flavonoids and carotenoids these powerful antioxidants help fight free radicals (cancer).
  2.  Great for bones – Sky high calcium content.  Kale has about 101mg of calcium per 1 cup
  3. Excellent source of vitamin A, C, and K – more than 2,000% (combined) than the recommended daily intake.
  4. Decent source of Iron – Although not kale’s strong point it does have about 12% of the iron you need daily.
  5. Low in calories, high in fiber – In one cup there is about 33 calories and 2.5 grams of fiber.

#2.  Turnip Greens

healthiest leafy greensWhen most people imagine a turnip they view a purplish-red bulb.  Although this is pretty spot on, turnips should also be known for their leafy tops.  Although technically not a leafy green, turnip tops are just to good to not talk about.

Benefits of Turnip Greens:

  1. Improves eyesight – the most notable nutrient in turnip greens is vitamin A.  Vitamin A acts as a antioxidant but also helps with overall eye health.
  2. Mineral rich – Iron, potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium are also abundantly housed in the turnip tops which help to regulate a wide-range of functions in your body.
  3. Low calories – In 1 cup of turnip greens, there is about 29 calories; you can burn it off just by staying awake for an hour.
  4. Energy booster -Rich in B-Complex vitamins; these vitamins help regulate metabolism and aid in energy.

#3.  Spinach

Ah yes, the good ole’ Popeye power snack.  Spinach has probably been made most popular by it’s regular appearance on the hit cartoon show Popeye.  But spinach is so much more than just a complimentary TV-series actor.  Popeye wasn’t lying about the power of spinach, it sure does pack a mean punch when it comes to nutrition.

Benefits of Spinach:healthiest leafy greens

  1. Antioxidant rich – Spinach contains a wealth of carotenoids and flavonoids which help fight free radicals and prevent cancer.
  2. Packed with vitamins – Spinach is high in vitamin A, C, K, and folate (great for individuals with anemia).
  3. Lowers blood pressure – Spinach is high in potassium which helps to lower blood pressure.
  4. Regularity – High in fiber and water, spinach helps to maintain a healthy digestive system.

#4.  Romain Lettuce

healthiest leafy greensProbably the most widely-known leafy green in lettuce.  A staple of the salad dish, freshly cut lettuce never seems to disappoint the palate.  But aside from it’s refreshing nature, lettuce also provides the body with a wealth of benefits. One of the most beneficial lettuce varieties is red and green romain lettuce.

Benefits of Romain Lettuce:

  1. Helps to repair tissue – Amino acids are considered the building blocks of the body for a reason.  Amino acids are needed in repairing tissue, digestion, and overall growth.  Romain lettuce contains a wealth of conditional amino acids.
  2. Packed with vitamins – High in vitamins A, C, and K, romain lettuce helps with skin, hair, and immune health.
  3. High in minerals – One cup of this stuff contains magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, and 9 milligrams of calcium.

#5. Arugula

Commonly know as the salad rocket and a staple in Italian cuisine, Arugula is popular in many salad dishes because of it’s unique bite.  Aside from it’s palate cleansing property, Arugula is also extremely beneficial to the body.

healthiest leafy greensBenefits of Arugula:

  1. Lower risk of cancer – Arugula packs a lot of antioxidants and phytochemicals to help neutralize free radicals.
  2. Strengthens the brain – High in vitamin K, arugula helps to slow the degrading of neural pathways in the brain – a characteristic of Alzheimers.
  3. Pre-natal benefit – Arugula is rich in folate which studies has shown can help prevent mental defects in newborns.

So there you have it…five leafy greens that are just as beautiful on the inside, as they are on the outside.

Author: Brennan Young

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