Power move: Top 10 powerhouse greens you might want to try

health & wellness

Does Kale make an appearance in the top 10 greens?

Looking to pack the most possible nutrients into your daily salad? Lots of health and wellness experts have offered their takes on the hottest greens over the past decade, and not everyone agrees on which are the most nutritious.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared and ranked 47 different fruits and vegetables in 2014 to see which offered the most nutrition density. These “Powerhouse” foods are strongly associated with reduced risk of chronic disease, and they offer, on average, 10% or more daily value of many qualifying nutrients.

A whopping 18 different lettuces/greens made the powerhouse list. Here are the top 10:

Watercress (Nutrition Density Score: 100)—this dark, leafy green offers a peppery flavor profile to your salad bowl and is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, calcium and other nutrients.

Chinese cabbage (NDS: 91.99)—also known as Bok choy, this mild and crisp cruciferous cabbage offers fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help fight inflammation and promote heart health.

Chard (NDS: 89.27)—Swiss chard is mild and sweet, packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium and is good for heart health, brain health, bone health and more.

Beet greens (NDS: 87.08)—another mild, slightly sweet choice, beet greens can boost immunity, bone health, eye health and more with their abundance of vitamins and minerals.

Spinach (NDS: 86.43)—spinach is still the powerhouse Popeye depended on, and is a great source of iron, vitamins C and E, potassium and magnesium. It can support immunity and digestion and reduce inflammation.

Chicory (NDS: 73.36)—the entire chicory plant—seeds, roots, flowers and leaves, have long been used medicinally. Rich in vitamins and minerals, chicory also has anti-inflammatory, digestive, probiotic and antibacterial properties.

Leaf lettuce (NDS: 70.73)—leaf lettuce can be red or green and is a mild base green for salads. It has lots of vitamin A and vitamin K, plus vitamin C, iron and other minerals.

Parsley (NDS: 65.59)—go beyond the spice jar and add some fresh parsley to your salad bowl. A single tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley provides more than 70 percent of your recommended vitamin K intake. It’s also a good source of vitamin A and flavonoids.

Romaine lettuce (NDS: 63.48)—this crunchy salad staple is mild in flavor and high in vitamin C, vitamin K, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium.

Collard greens (NDS: 62.49)—rich in vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium, collard greens are a member of the cruciferous family, but a lot of folks have trouble eating them raw because the raw greens contain naturally occurring chemicals that may interfere with thyroid function. If you have a thyroid condition, try steaming or boiling them or sautéing them with a little garlic, oil and lemon juice.

So, dig out that salad spinner stuck in the back of your cabinet and pick out a couple of new salad greens the next time you hit the grocery store. Add some Powerhouse veggies like bell pepper, tomato, scallions, strawberries, radishes or orange slices to introduce some added flavor, nutrients and textures to your salad bowl.

February 13, 2023


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