The Top 5 Leafy Greens & How They Work For You

Charlotte Laguardia

KDHamptons is excited to announce a new contributor to our team, Charlotte Laguardia, a true lifelong East Ender and board-certified nutrition specialist.  Charlotte’s love for food started at a young age.  Surrounded by our local small farms, fresh seafood, and wineries she learned the benefits of nutrient dense foods first hand and will share her integrative approach, rooted in science, with KDHamptons readers through recipes, tips, and features on health and wellness.  Welcome Charlotte! (Be sure to follow her on Insta @charlottelouisenutrition)

The Top 5 Leafy Greens & How They Work For You by Charlotte Laguardia

Packed with nutrients and low in calories, greens are superstars in the vegetable world. They offer numerous health benefits including a reduced risk for obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. However, not all greens are created equal. Check out below for my favorite choices and why you should try them too! 

Flavor – deep and earthy, sometimes bitter, tastes “healthy”
Benefits – fantastic for eye health due to the antioxidant beta carotene, and vitamins A, C, and K. 
Prep – to preserve the nutrient content, consume kale raw. It can be added to a smoothie or chopped and massaged in olive oil to soften the leaves and make chewing much more enjoyable! 

Collard Greens 
Flavor – surprisingly mild, sweet and earthy, similar texture to cabbage 
Benefits – in a two-cup serving, collards are a good source of fiber and are high in folate, potassium, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K. 
Prep – bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer in a large pan, cut out the thick bottom part of the rib, place the leaf in the water just until it turns bright green, let cool and use as a wrap for any filling you desire.

Flavor – spicy, peppery, and slightly bitter
Benefits – contains vitamins A, C, K, and B9, additionally a great source of dietary nitrates, which turn to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide has been shown to increase blood flow by dilating blood vessels.
Prep – mix in to your salad 

Flavor – tender and slightly sweet 
Benefits – packed with vitamins A and K and contains folate, which plays a key role in red blood cell production.
Prep – add to a smoothie or mix in to any salad 

Beet Greens
Flavor – extremely earthy
Benefits – good source of fiber and a rich source of potassium, vitamin A, K, calcium, and riboflavin. Additionally, contains glycine betaine, which lowers inflammation by reducing the build-up of the amino acid, homocysteine.
Prep – the younger leaves can be eaten raw in a salad; however, the mature larger leaves should be cooked to reduce the oxalic acid content and improve the bitter flavor. I like to sauté them in a little coconut oil and garlic.