19 Leafy Green Vegetables for Detox, Health and Beauty
~ published by Diana Cohen
We are often told to rotate our greens. Sounds reasonable enough, but what exactly are we rotating? This article will load you up with 19 nutrient-rich greens for your salads, smoothies and chlorophyll-rich snacks to reduce inflammation, boost your immunity and restore your vibrant health!
Arugula, also called “roquette”, is a strong type of green that is revered by many people for its culinary use in salads. It’s also one of the richest greens in calcium, and is very high in other minerals.
USE: You can use arugula in small amounts, in green smoothies, as well as in raw soups, and of course salads.
2. Beet Greens
USE: Beet greens are strong so they are best used in small amounts (especially considering the amount of oxalic acid) in salads, green smoothies, and other green foods.
3. Bok Choy
Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage widely sold in health food stores. It is rich in vitamin C and contains significant amounts of nitrogen compounds as well as fibre —both of which lower the risk of various forms of cancer.
Bok choy is a good source of folic acid and also has more beta-carotene than other cabbages.
USE: The leaves are a bit strong to use in green smoothies but although it is more commonly eaten cooked, you can also take it raw.
Broccoli is one of the most common green vegetables. Like many other green vegetables, it is rich in calcium and most vitamins and minerals. The broccoli stalks are also nutritious, but they have to be peeled before being consumed.
USE: Broccoli does not go well in green smoothies or even most raw soups, unless they are heavily spiced. It is best reserved for salads or for steaming.
5. Broccoli raab (Rapini)
USE: Broccoli raab is quite bitter and not very palatable for use in green smoothies or even raw soups. It would be fine to use in salads, or for steaming.
Cabbage is one of the most common vegetables, and can also be considered a “green vegetable”, even if it is purple or white! It is very nutritious and available all year round.
USE: Cabbage cannot be used in green smoothies, but in small amounts it could be part of a raw soup, although it’s not advisable. Cabbage is best used in salads or different cooked receipes.
Celery is also an all-around excellent green. Organic celery tends to be greener and more nutritious.
USE: Celery is one of the best greens to use in green smoothies, raw soups, dressings, and salads — definitely a winner in every way.
There are different types of chard, the green variety and the red
variety; both are equally good. Chard contains a lot of oxalic acid, so it should not be consumed every day.
USE: Chard is a bit tough, although not too bitter. In small quantities and mixed with other greens, it can make a great green smoothie. It can also be used in salads, raw soups, and for steaming.
9. Collard Greens
Collards are very rich in calcium and are more tender than kale, but their flavor is quite strong. Typically they are cooked, but can also be consumed raw in small quantities.
USE: A little too strong to use in green smoothies, collards can be used in “Green Dressings,” and in salads in small quantities. They’re a good green for steaming.
Cultivated dandelion greens are available in many stores and they still contain more calcium than any other green available in any store! But they’re not as nutritious as the wild variety, and problem is that they are quite bitter.
USE: The bitterness of dandelion forbids using them in large quantities. In certain combinations, they can make great green smoothies. In small quantities, they go well in salads. They are also a good green for steaming.
USE: Escarole could be used in green smoothies, although use with care because it can be very bitter. It makes a fine addition to salads.
12. Garlic Greens
USE: Garlic greens are not as strong as garlic cloves, but they still have a nice garlic flavor. They’re a great addition to raw soups and salads.
13. Green Onions
Green onions are also a green. They’re widely known and used in salads. It’s best to use only the green part raw, as the bulb part can be quite strong.
USE: As a seasoning in salads or raw soups.
Kale is a great winter vegetable. It’s quite resistant to the cold and can be kept for a relatively long time into the season. It’s also very rich in calcium and many vitamins and minerals. There are many types of kale, the most popular being green, red, and black (also called dinosaur or lacinato kale). My favorite is the black kind.
USE: Although kale is fibrous and not the best green to use in salads, it goes surprisingly well in green smoothies. It’s also a good green to steam.
There are so many different varieties of lettuce, such as Romaine, Frisee, Boston, Bibb, and many, many others. All are good, while the greener types tend to be more nutritious. Lettuces tend to be less rich in minerals than other dark-leafy greens. For example, romaine lettuce contains 36 mg of calcium per 100 grams, while many other greens contain more than 100 grams.
Nonetheless, lettuce can still be a staple green, as long as the other more nutritious greens are also included in the diet.
USE: The different types of lettuce generally go well in green smoothies; of course, it will depend on how bitter they are. Lettuce is also one of the best greens to use for blended salads.
16. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are more popular in Asian countries. In North America, they can be found in some health food stores or supermarkets. They’re rich in calcium, iron, and many other vitamins and minerals.
USE: Mustard greens are a bit strong to use in smoothies, or even in raw soups (although you could try in small amounts.) They go well in green dressings. They are also excellent steamed.
Spinach is rich in calcium and very nice to eat raw, especially when the leaves are young. It also contains oxalic acid, and apparently because of that, little calcium of its is absorbed. But I think we can still benefit from eating spinach occasionally.
USE: It is good every way: in salads, added to green smoothies or raw soups.
18. Turnip Greens
Those are some of the most nutritious greens, while also being low in oxalic acid. Turnip greens are exceptionally high in calcium, as well as in most vitamins and minerals.
USE: A few turnip greens are excellent in green smoothies, but again, be careful, as they are rather strong.
USE: The taste of watercress doesn’t mix well with the taste of fruits, so it’s not a good option for green smoothies. It is best used in salads, in small quantities. It would also make a fine base for a green dressing.
With this list of different leafy greens, you’ll be able to rotate your smoothie ingredients and get even more nutritional value out of your green smoothies! Green smoothies are the perfect way to transition from a diet high in carbs and processed food, to a healthier diet rich in fruits and vegetables! To find out how green smoothies can help you have more energy, better health, clearer thoughts and improve your mood, sign up for our 21-Day Green Smoothie Detox today!