You hear all the time how good greens are for you.
And this is true.
But most of the time you only hear about spinach, kale, collard greens, and chard to a lesser extent.
Rarely do you hear about greens such as watercress, beet greens, and dandelion greens.
And this is unfortunate because these three greens are nutritional powerhouses and in my opinion are extremely underrated.
Watercress was ranked #1 on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index which “measures vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content in relation to caloric content. To earn high rank, a food must provide a high amount of nutrients for a small amount of calories.”(1)
It contains a lot of powerful antioxidants such as:
- Vitamin C – Great for strengthening your immune system
- Vitamin A – Important for your eyes, teeth, bones, and skin
- Chlorophyll - Good for fighting free radicals in your body as well as digestion
Try throwing them on your salad or into a smoothie.
Interestingly beet greens are a cool season crop meaning they can survive extremely cold temperatures.
“Besides supplying good amounts of protein, phosphorus, and zinc, beet greens are also a great source of fiber. Packed with antioxidants, they’re high in vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese, and low in fat and cholesterol. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, daily values of beet greens contain: 220% of vitamin A, 60% of vitamin C, 16% of calcium, and 15% of iron.”(2)
Throw them into a salad, saute them or many people juice them.
A member of the Sunflower plant family dandelion greens are loaded with nutrition.
Dandelion greens are extremely high in vitamins A, and K.
They, also, “are high in fiber, which helps your body shed waste. These greens also contain vitamins C and B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron (crucial for generating red blood cells), potassium (to help regulate heart rate and blood pressure), and manganese. Other nutrients present in dandelion greens include folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.”(3)
Dandelion is, also, great for digestion, the kidneys, and the liver.
- “Dandelion acts as a mild laxative that promotes digestion, stimulates appetite, and balances the natural and beneficial bacteria in the intestines. It can increase the release of stomach acid and bile to aid digestion, especially of fats.”(4)
- “This weed-like superfood is a diuretic that helps the kidneys clear out waste, salt, and excess water by increasing urine production.”(4)
- “Dandelion has been shown to improve liver function by removing toxins and reestablishing hydration and electrolyte balance. It also increases the release of bile.”(4)
Dandelion greens are pretty bitter so I like to mix them in with other lettuces such as romaine to balance out the flavor.
Expand your “greens” portfolio by including any or all three of these vegetables into your diet.