5 leafy vegetables that cannot be missing from your diet

While Popeye's biceps bulging after eating a can of spinach (leaf vegetables) may simply be a cartoonish point of the cartoon that gives the character superhuman strength, there is something that resonates about this iconic image.

Sure, we can't see how our muscles automatically inflate while we eat iron-rich vegetables, but our body will surely be better off by incorporating them into our diet.

Vegetables are one of the best foods to eat regularly; They are high in fiber and contain many vitamins, minerals and plant compounds. They contain nutrients that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “help protect against heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer".

And that's not all. A 2018 study found that people who eat one to two servings of green vegetables per day may have fewer memory problems and other cognitive disorders. A study conducted by the Memory and Aging Project at Washington University in St. Louis showed that people who added 1,3 servings of these leaves per day to their diet reduced the rate of cognitive decline to some extent. They were also 11 years younger (compared to those who did not eat vegetables). And this is just one of many studies.

Leafy greens (a broad term for leaves used as vegetables) are low in carbohydrates, sodium, fat, and cholesterol. And as we continue to learn, a diet rich in vegetables is also a diet good for the planet. With this in mind, there is nothing wrong with eating more leafy greens and vegetables in general.

green leaves

Some leafy vegetables

Arugula

Once found almost exclusively in European markets, arugula first appeared in the United States as a complement to more luxurious dishes, but over the years it has become much more popular.

It is easily recognized by its small, flat, toothed leaves, long stem, and often spicy flavor. It is mainly used in salads, although it can also be cooked. It's a popular addition to pizza, where the herbaceous, spicy crunch pairs perfectly with cheese and tomato.

Arugula contains approximately 8 times more calcium, 5 times more vitamins A, C and K and 4 times more iron than the same amount of lettuce.

If it is too spicy for your taste, you can mix it with other types of green leaves to soften the flavor.

Beet greens

We know beets primarily for their beautiful red beet roots, which are sweet, earthy, and very versatile. But don't forget the leaves, they taste a little like radishes with a slightly bittersweet flavor and are perfect for steaming or frying.

Although the tubers can be stored for a while in a cool place, the green leaves will wilt more quickly and should be eaten as soon as possible.

To use the leaves, remove them from the roots to prevent them from wilting, then remove the thick stems and veins from the leaves.

If you are going to use the leaf, remember that it is from agroecological cultivation to avoid the load of pesticides that could harm your health.

Dandelion

Although dandelion has long been considered a troublesome weed, it is a noble and cheerful plant, delicious, versatile and one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat.

In addition to their numerous vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they have long been appreciated for their medicinal properties.

They are rich in potassium and have a strong diuretic effect. They have long been used to treat digestive disorders, as well as arthritis and eczema.

And did we mention they taste good? The more mature leaves can be bitter but they are worth it, you can add them raw to salads, fry them or use them to make pancakes. Its yellow flowers can also be consumed, so they will give a special touch to your dishes.

Kale

At some point in history, kale went from ugly duckling to prom queen, and now it's so trendy that it's known almost everywhere in the world as a superfood.

This vegetable is a source of nutrients, rich in vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants recommended by health experts. Although its flavor is often classified as bitter, it is actually slightly smoky, but it is not overly bitter and becomes sweeter during the winter months.

You can eat this kale in salads by cutting its youngest leaves finely, or sautéing briefly until cooked. Dressing it with garlic and vegetable broth will be a delight. You can also prepare a kind of green cream to spread over the pasta.

Spinach

Spinach, one of our most valuable and popular vegetables, is a superfood like no other. And although its iron content is constantly debated, its benefits go far beyond those that made Popeye a tough sailor.

Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, as well as vitamin C and folic acid; and the most important thing is that it is easy to access. You'll find spinach in a variety of forms, from small, tender young leaves to large, thick, wrinkled mature leaves, and they are available all year round.

The young leaves are soft and can be used in salads or a quick stir-fry, while the more fibrous leaves have a rich flavor and wonderfully chewy texture. Look for dark green, turgid leaves, without spots or discolorations.

It is recommended to wash all these leafy vegetables well, even letting them soak for a few minutes in vinegar.

Of course, there are many more leafy vegetables that provide great benefits to your diet, such as chard, watercress, cabbage, turnip greens, mustard greens, chicory or bok choi. It will be a matter of exploring and seeing which ones you like the most and integrate best into your diet.

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With information of: https://www.treehugger.com/