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Monday, July 15, 2013
Q&A: Battle of the Greens: Which are the Healthiest?
Q: “I keep seeing kale everywhere and everyone is talking about it. Is it that much better for me than other greens?”
A: All leafy greens are nutritional winners, but some definitely stand out as being especially packed with nutrients. We’ve pitted 5 common types against each other to see which one is a standout (and why).
All of these greens are ultra rich (more than 20% of your daily needs) in vitamins A, C, and K, and have less than 50 calories per cup of cooked greens.
And now for the awards!
Spinach, none other than Popeye’s favorite food, takes the first place position. It was a tough decision, but we wanted to see which greens contained over 20% of our daily needs of the most nutrients… and spinach came out on top with a whopping 12. These include vitamins A, K, C, B2, and B6, iron, manganese, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and tryptophan. This makes spinach like nature’s multivitamin. Plus, we love that spinach is as easily eaten cooked as it is raw, and probably one of the most versatile greens of the bunch.
2nd place – tie!
Swiss chard & collard greens are both representing in the nutrient department. Swiss chard, the green leafy veggie with rainbow colored stems, and collard greens finished in a second place tie with a very respectable 7 nutrients, each over the 20% daily value mark. For chard, that included vitamins A, K, and C, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron. For collards, it was vitamins A, K, and C, folate, manganese, calcium, and fiber.
The runners up
Kale, while it didn’t win on most nutrients overall (it has 3 over 20%), was a standout for having over 300% of your daily needs for vitamin A and 90% of your needs for vitamin C. If you’re looking for a winter green with same added immune boosting power — kale is a great choice. Kale also sports close to 10% of your calcium needs. We love its hearty texture that stands up to cooking in soups and sautés. And of course, a shout out to kale chips is well deserved.
Mustard greens posted a respectable five nutrients over 20%, including vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and manganese. We love sautéed mustard greens with olive oil, garlic and toasted pine nuts to use as a savory side.
*The nutrition information used in this blog is based on 1 cup of cooked greens
Do you have a favorite summer green? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?