Mar 12, 2012

Salad Greens Nutritional Comparison

Ever wondered which greens are really more "green" and optimal for boosting your nutrition? Or ever tried kale or swiss chard?

First let's look at the basic lettuce types, then we'll delve into other "Greens" that are more powerhouses.

As a general rule, the darker green the leaves, the greater the nutritional value of lettuce.
The result in compating the greens is that iceberg gives you squat in comparison to other types of lettuce, so go have fun and try other greens. Mix it up a bit. :)

Nutritional Comparison of Salad Greens Based on a 1 Cup Serving
Salad Greens Calories Vit A (IU) Vit C(Mg) Calcium (Mg) Potassium (Mg)
Romaine 8 1456 13 20 65
Leaf Lettuce 10 1064 10 38 148
Butterhead (Bib and Boston) 7 534 4 18 141
Arugula 5 480 3 32 74
Mixed Greens 9 1495 9 30 174
Baby Spinach 7 1200 8 20
Iceberg 7 182 2 10 87

Now let's discover more about other real DARK Greens that are huge boosts:
Dark leafy greens are rich in vitamins A (from beta-carotene) and vitamin C, they are also good sources of calcium and and magnesium, iron, and folic acid. Greens also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are believed to help protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.
(So don't throw away some of these if you can find ways to cook/eat them...)

Collard Greens
One of the milder of the sturdy greens, collards are an excellent source of folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Collards are especially high in calcium.

Bok Choy
Bok Choy is a Chinese variety of cabbages. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, beta-carotene and iron, as well as a good source of folate, vitamin B6 and calcium. Avoid buying bok choy that has brown spots on it, because it indicates some flavor has been lost.

While sweet following a light frost, kale generally has a stronger flavor than collard greens and can be quite coarse and peppery when raw. To ensure a milder texture and flavor, choose smaller kale leaves and cook them until tender. In addition to being an excellent source of vitamin C and beta-carotene, kale is also a good source of iron, vitamin B6, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Mustard Greens
Mustard greens have an even stronger flavor than kale, but milder varieties are grown in Asia and are sometimes available in the United States. They taste best when they are six to 12-inches long and have no seeds.

Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamin E, a nutrient that is usually only found in high-fat foods. It is also high in potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and beta-carotene. To preserve its crispness and sweetness, be sure to keep it chilled.

Spinach is mild enough to be enjoyed both raw and cooked and contains carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Besides carotenoids, spinach is higher in folate than other greens. Cooking the spinach with a small amount of fat, such as olive oil, will enhance the availability of these nutrients.

Beat Greens
Rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron and calcium, beet greens are often more nutritious than beets (with one exception: Beets are higher in folate). They are best for eating when young and tender.

Turnip Greens
The leafy tops of turnips are one of the bitterest greens available, so they are not often eaten raw. Like beet greens, they are best for eating when they are quite young. Although both turnips and turnip greens are nutritious, the best source of vitamins and minerals is the greens, which are high in vitamin C, beta-carotene and folate.

*greens info from

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