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Why Are Leafy Greens SO Good for You? Read to Find Out!


It’s officially 2016, and some of us are still looking for that perfect resolution to start our year off right. Eating healthier is usually at the top of the list for goals for the New Year. Eating more nutrient-dense foods, like leafy greens, may be the perfect way for you to boost your health!

What are nutrient-dense foods? When explaining what they are, it is important that we all understand what empty calorie foods are as well. Empty calorie foods have really small amounts of the vital macro and micro nutrients that our bodies need to function. That means that the calories we are consuming from these foods are not as useful to our bodies as nutrient-dense foods are.

Sometimes nutrient-dense foods may be higher in calories per serving, but they are always higher in beneficial nutrients and are always a healthier choice than empty calorie foods.

Take this example for perspective.

1 glass of milk = 200 calories

2 glasses of cola = 200 calories

The cola has fewer calories per serving, but the cola doesn’t have any beneficial nutrients.

The milk, on the other hand has loads of extra nutrients like bone-building calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and protein.

Instead of looking at the quantity of calories you are consuming, ask yourself about the quality of calories you are consuming!

Nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables are a great way to get loads of vitamins and minerals per calorie of food consumed. Of all the varieties of vegetables that can be homegrown or found at your local farmers market, leafy greens are among the healthiest and most nourishing!

Studies have shown that a high consumption of cruciferous, leafy green vegetables improves heart function, lowers blood pressure, and aids digestion. Not only are leafy vegetables packed full of antioxidants and necessary vitamins, but they also contain a large amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, known to improve eyesight and visual ailments.

Based on Nutrient Density per Calorie of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals, the following dark leafy greens are ranked most nutrient-dense:

  1. Mustard, Turnip, or Collard Greens

  2. Kale

  3. Watercress

  4. Bok Choy

  5. Spinach

  6. Broccoli Rabe

  7. Chinese or Napa Cabbage

  8. Brussels Sprouts

  9. Swiss Chard

  10. Arugula