Originally published for www.ereplacementparts.com
Kale has been touted as the superfood of superfoods. It is the gold medalist, the Pulitzer Prize winner, the star of the show. It has been said to possess miraculous curative properties for health issues from A to Z. Kale has become so common you can often find kale chips in flavors like sour cream and onion wrapped in pretty packaging in your local chip aisle!
Superfood Greens That Aren’t Kale!
Why all the hype? Kale is a cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as broccoli and Brussels sprouts. It is rich in vitamins K, A, and C. And according to a study published in Biopharmica and Biomedicine, kale is one of the strongest anti-inflammatory foods out there. Its tremendous benefits in this area are in part due to its ideal Omega 3:6 ratio.
Kale also provides antioxidants, which are important because they scavenge free radicals that, left unchecked, can damage our cells. It detoxifies, provides superb support for the heart, and is an excellent source of folate. Finally, its greatest benefit may lie in the fact that it has been shown to fight cancer. Several of the chemicals in kale can inactivate carcinogens, protect cells from DNA damage, decrease tumor cell migration, and inhibit tumor blood vessel formation.(1) So, kale is indeed an almost perfect food.
But here’s the thing: Many of the studies that showed these tremendous health benefits were studying not just kale but other vegetables as well. It is time to shed some light on these other vegetables because they can definitely hold their own.
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Common Green Vegetables With Killer Nutritional Value
There are probably a dozen green vegetables that you use on a regular basis that could be fighting cancer in your body right now. But there are seven that I especially like for their unique healthful properties.
- Swiss chard reduces your risk of diabetes and stroke, prevents colon cancer, increases cognitive development, regulates blood sugar, improves bone growth, and prevents macular degeneration. It is sweeter and more palatable than kale.
- Broccoli has significant cancer-preventing properties, removes toxins from the body, strengthens the immune system, helps maintain a healthy heart, improves stomach disorders, facilitates glowing skin, and removes toxins and free radicals.(3) It is more easily adaptable in cooking.
- Spinach is rich in vitamins and minerals, regulates blood pressure, boosts immunity, maintains healthy brain function, aids digestion, contains antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory, and protects skin and bone health. It is a richer source of folate than kale.
- Brussels sprouts activate cancer-fighting enzymes in the body, contain key nutrients for phase one and phase two detoxification, and lower your risk of chronic inflammation. They contain more glucosinolates (cancer fighters) than kale.
- Collard greens contain over 50 percent of your daily vitamin C per serving and may play a role in increasing energy and lowering weight. Their choline content can help sleep and prevent inflammation. They contain slightly more protein and calcium than kale.
- Arugula is high in vitamin K, fights cancer, hydrates the body, decreases inflammation, and is great for bones. It is more palatable in salads than kale.
- Bok choy protects vision and bones, is high in minerals like magnesium, and is a powerful cancer fighter. It cooks up fast and is more flavorful than kale.
Mysterious Green Vegetables You Do Not Want to Miss
We all get into ruts at the grocery store. Grab the lettuce, some carrots, broccoli, and maybe a tomato or two, and you can cross off the “veggies” line on your grocery list. Hold up. There are some powerful, nutrient-dense, crazy-looking vegetables available to you, sometimes right in your front yard.
- Kohlrabi: Also called a German turnip, it acts as a digestive aid, assists in weight loss, protects from cancer, improves circulation, and protects nerve and muscle function.
- Dandelion greens: Readily available in your front yard! Loaded with vitamins, dandelion greens also have some of the highest protein levels, contain tons of minerals, and are a strong antioxidant.
- Seaweed: Considered a “sea vegetable,” seaweed is actually an algae. Substantially more nutrient dense than land-based vegetables, it also acts as a digestive aid, antioxidant, and excellent source of prebiotics.
- Okra: Used since ancient Egyptian times, okra helps regulate blood sugar, combats fatigue and stress, is an excellent source of fiber, and maintains healthy mucous membranes.
- Purslane: It’s native to India but grows rampantly anywhere. Purslane is high in fiber and has more Omega 3 than any other leafy green. It also has one of the highest contents of vitamin A.
- Rapini: Native to South America and Mexico, this cousin to broccoli is packed with goodness. High in vitamins A, C, and K, it has also been shown to slow aging, strengthen bones, and help prevent birth defects. It has even been shown to provide protection against Alzheimer’s.
- Beet greens: Cultivated by early Romans, these greens are an excellent source of fiber, as well as vitamins A and K. Beet greens are also a strong antioxidant and cancer fighter.
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Preparation Options for Your New Favorite Greens
So now that we’ve introduced all the ladies, what are we going to do with them? Four ideas: salads, soups, smoothies, and stir-fries! With both raw and cooked preparations, you have lots of flexibility in what to incorporate and how. Want some inspiration?
SALAD: Spinach salad with broccoli, red pepper, and onions. Give it some punch with arugula and dandelion greens.
SOUP: Romanian ammo soup. Add rapini, dandelion leaves, and purslane. It already contains Brussels sprouts and swiss chard!
SMOOTHIE: Beet greens smoothie. With a mild flavor (compared to kale), beet greens are a super addition to fruit-based smoothies.
STIR FRY: Chef Kiren’s Okra Stir Fry. In addition to okra, this recipe has the added superfood power of ginger and turmeric.
Next time you want to give your body a hit of green goodness, consider changing up the routine and opting for some of the “other” greens that share kale’s superfood status but are often overlooked. It will help keep things fresh and interesting in the kitchen, and your body will thank you for it!
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Source: eReplacementParts.com blog