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4 Leafy Greens You Never Knew Were This Healthy

Every vegetable has their own set of health benefits to offer, but there are leafy greens that just top the list when it comes to how beneficial they are.

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“To live healthy is a must,” is what they always say, and we can never really disagree. We’re not here just to have a good time. We must also find ways to have a long time. And what better way to do that than to take care of our body and make sure we are safe from any illness—and consuming leafy vegetables can certainly help us with that.

The list of healthy leafy vegetables can be longer than we think, but it’s worth noting that some offer more benefits than the others. To start the discussion, here are four of the healthiest leafy greens you will be shocked to know they were actually this nutritious.

1. Kale

Megan Ware RDN LD / Via medicalnewstoday.com

Leading the list is what is also known as leaf cabbage, kale (Brassica oleracea). Always topping the list of healthiest leafy greens, kale hasn’t always been as popular as it is now. While it gained much attention in Europe, this vegetable was forgotten when new kinds of cabbage started to gain attention. Nevertheless, it remained just as helpful to its few consumers and has now finally risen and become popular to help more people maintain a healthy body.

One of the most notable health benefits of kale is its capability to fight cancer. Kale contains a certain compound called organosulfur. This compound has certain cancer-fighting properties that help prevent the growth of dangerous cancer cells that cause colon cancer.

Aside from being a cancer-preventing agent, kale also contains vitamins A, E, and K, all of which pose different set of health benefits. Vitamin K aids in blood clotting, while vitamin A helps you maintain a healthy vision. Vitamin E saves you from free radicals that may damage your skin. The vitamin has cell-protecting properties, which is why it is often added in cosmetic products that are made to slow down aging.

If we are to list all benefits kale offers, we would have to deal with a list too long to be true. But with everything that’s mentioned, it is safe to say that this plant is indeed a superfood.

Jo Lewin - Associate nutritionist / Via bbcgoodfood.com

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) has been a staple in many healthy recipes. That does not really come as a surprise, considering the numerous nutrients spinach leaves contain. Best consumed fresh and unprocessed, a hundred grams of spinach can already give you that much-needed amount of calcium and iron. As you might already be aware about, calcium is the mineral necessary to have strong bones, while iron is the key nutrient your blood needs.

Aside from these widely known benefits, spinach hides a whole lot more of health perks. Iron and calcium are not the only minerals contained in this green. This superfood also has magnesium, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, copper, niacin, and manganese and is said to be a good source of beta carotene, folate, vitamins A, C, E, and K, and protein.

Because of its nutrient composition, spinach has been proven to be effective in keeping your eyesight as good as it can be, washing away unwanted effects of free radicals that can damage your skin cells and making your skin look as radiant as ever, keeping the risk of developing neurological illness like Alzheimer’s disease low, helping you stay safe from any kinds of ulcer, and lowering high blood pressure. It is also worth mentioning that spinach is definitely good for the heart.

3. Parsley

The World's Healthiest Foods / Via whfoods.com

One of the leafy greens that are commonly used in chicken and pork recipes, parsley (Petroselinum crispum) has become a staple in delicious treats because it’s bittery taste and that in itself adds balance to the taste of some of our favorite dishes. Besides that, this leafy green is also often used as garnish, adding a little style to a boring food plating.

We are well aware that it’s used as food decoration, but rarely do we know parsley is a good source of a lot of vitamins and minerals, making it a good health booster. From supporting kidney function to being a joint pain reliever, parsley is capable of helping you live a healthy life in more ways than you have ever imagined.

Parsley contains a pack of vitamins and minerals. One example is vitamin K, which helps in keeping your bones strong and healthy. It also has vitamin C, which is our immune system’s best friend, and also contains beta carotene, an antioxidant that has anti-aging properties. It is also worth taking note that both vitamin C and beta carotene has anti-inflammatory properties, meaning they help protect your body from inflammatory problems like arthritis.

This leafy green is also rich in vitamin A, the vitamin to have a high intake of to maintain good eyesight. High amount of iron can also be found in parsley. Aside from strengthening the immune system, iron is an important part of the production of red protein called hemogoblin and red blood cells.

Not everyone might be aware of this, but a recent study revealed that parsley is beneficial for the kidney. Consuming this leafy veggie means you’re protecting yourself from kidney infections. It is also believed that this plant contains certain elements that make it effective in dissolving kidney stones.

4. Watercress

Mercola / Via foodfacts.mercola.com

As a healthy leafy green that keeps countless benefits, watercress (Nasturtium officinale) sure is not one of the most famous. It can be found in many places, but some consider this leaf vegetable as weed, which means, it is deemed unhelpful and unwanted.

What is unknown to many is that there’s certainly more to watercress than what meets the eye. It may look undesirable to you at first, but take time to look into what this veggie can do and you will be left in awe.

As a good source of vitamin A and calcium, watercress aids in bone health. It also helps keep your teeth and gums healthy. But it does not end there. As a vegetable that is rich in vitamin K, having watercress as part of daily consumption is a good way of treating Alzheimer’s disease. Watercress also contains a good amount of vitamin C and manganese. Its benefits are more or less similar with organic coconut oil.

In addition, a compound derived from watercress called phenylethyl isothiocyanate was subjected to a thorough study, and experts found out that the compound has certain anti-cancer properties. This health benefit alone is enough to place watercress on the list of the must-consume superfoods.

It is saddening that not many are aware of the health benefits of this aquatic plant, if only people were not quick to disregard something that looked like an ordinary weed.

Life is short and nothing could be more unpredictable than our own health. It may improve, it may decline. But it definitely isn’t something that can’t be helped. By consuming the right foods such as these four healthy leafy greens, a very healthy life is never far from reach.

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