I think we all know we ‘should” be eating more greens but here in NZ we’re heading into Winter and that means the price of fresh veggies goes up and the availability goes down.
From cardiovascular health and bone health to immune support and cancer prevention, leafy greens help with it all and since they’re especially rich in vitamins C, you’ll hopefully get a surprising beauty boost from eating them, too.
The easiest way to incorporate greens into your diet is to grow them – to have daily, free access to them every day. You can grow almost all greens all year ground and if you grow them from seed, it’s so easy and cheap. You can read more about that here.
But are all greens created equal? Here’s a round up of the most popular leafy greens;
KALE: 49 calories per 100 g of raw kale. Very high in calcium, along with being high in Vitamin’s A and K. It does taste quite green. You know when you’re eating it so it’s harder to hide in a smoothie. Kale crisps up nicely though which is great for making chips.
SPINACH: 23 calories per 100 g of spinach. Higher in folate (a b vitamin) than Kale, is also higher in Iron and has 6 times the magnesium than Kale. Very mild taste and easy to hide in a smoothie.
WATERCRESS: 11 calories per 100 g of Watercress. Super high in Vitamin’s A and C and Calcium though not as high as Kale. Watercress has a quite a mild taste and is often compared to Spinach.
LETTUCE (Iceberg): 15 calories per 100 g of Lettuce. Relatively high in Vitamin A but due to it’s lighter colour it’s missing phytochemicals* that are present in the darker leafy greens. Great to add to salads as it’s very mild but great crunch.
ROCKET/ARUGULA: 25 calories per 100 g of Arugula. Slightly higher in calcium than Kale but the same amount of magnesium. Arugula has quite a distinctive taste however and is quite bitter.
*PHYTOCHEMICALS: Phytochemicals are non-nutritive plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties. They are non-essential nutrients, meaning that they are not required by the human body for sustaining life. It is well-known that plant produce these chemicals to protect themselves but recent research demonstrate that they can also protect humans against diseases. There are more than thousand known phytochemicals. Some of the well-known phytochemicals are lycopene in tomatoes, isoflavones in soy and flavanoids in fruits.