Discover the Top 14 Superfoods Healthier Than Kale
We all know how important it is to make friends with green, leafy vegetables. After all, they protect us from a number of health concerns such as heart diseases, cancer, and arthritis among others. However, until recently, kale was known as the king of all green vegetables, the mighty super food offering the maximum health benefits. For instance, it is said to contain more calcium than a cup of milk when compared on a per gram basis.
However, the recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is all set to change that. The report has classified powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV) based on 17 nutrients that are important to public health, and guess what? Kale actually ranks on number 14 in this report.
Makes one curious what the 13 above Kale are, doesn’t it?
For those who didn’t know, PFV are foods that offer strong protection against chronic diseases, reducing the risk of one falling prey to these considerably. So, which are the super foods that have ranked above kale and exceed in providing health benefits more than even the vegetable previously hailed as the queen? Let’s find out:
Having a nutrient density score of 100, this vegetable has definitely dethroned kale, being hailed as the new king of super foods. It can be considered an anti aging food too, containing two compounds that are known to keep skin fresh and healthy: beta carotene and vitamin K. These compounds are not only present, but present in abundance. It is rich in vitamin A that helps keep the eyes healthy while the presence of antioxidants such as carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein benefit the vision and cardiovascular system.
It can also help fight cancer with the presence of high levels of phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC). A study published in the American journal of clinical nutrition revealed that an 8-week supplementation of 2 cups raw watercress reduced the damage of cancer linked DNA by 17 percent.
2. Chinese cabbage
The Chinese cabbage ranked second on the powerhouse fruits and vegetables list with a nutrient density of 91.99. Other names of the Chinese cabbage include Napa or celery cabbage, so don’t forget to pick either one of these on your next market visit. It is a rich source of antioxidants, potassium, calcium, and iron, which together, help to keep you active and fresh. Furthermore, it helps regulate blood sugar levels, prevents cancer, and helps keep the immune system healthy. If you fall sick often, you might want to incorporate Chinese cabbage in your diet for its antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
Chard may not be a very veggie sounding name, but with a nutrient score of 89.27 and ranking third on the PFV list, you might want to get used to it. It contains at least 13 different kinds of polyphenol antioxidants, which help, protect against type 2 diabetes.
Chard is rich in vitamin K, C, A, E, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. One cup of cooked chard can provide you with the health benefits of all these compounds in significant amount such as improving bone health, muscle oxygenation leading to better exercise performance, blocking cancer causing amines and promoting good heart health.
4. Beet green
Number four of the list is beet green with a nutrient score of 87.08. It is a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals so much so that one cup of these greens contains almost 5 grams of fiber. It also contains anti cancer compounds such as lutein, zea-xanthin and B-carotene. The rich presence of vitamin A helps protect the skin and vision from damage.
The fifth super food is spinach, with a nutrient score of 86.43. There shouldn’t be any surprises here regarding its muscle building benefits with Popeye having reinforced the fact over and over again throughout our childhood. Consider the fact that a boiled serving of spinach of 180 grams gives as much as 6.43 mg of muscle mineral. It also contains thylakoids, a compound known to suppress appetite, which is good news for everyone trying to lose weight!
Please note: If you are at risk of kidney stones, or have kidney stones it is not advisable to eat an excess of raw spinach leaves. Spinach contains purines, which are organic compounds that your body turns into uric acid. High levels of uric acid may increase the risk of developing kidney stones. The oxalic acid in spinach can increase the levels of calcium oxalate in your urine – thereby promoting the development of kidney stones. Please discuss any changes in diet with your doctor.
With a nutrient score of 73.36 and ranking sixth on the list, chicory possesses many health benefits such as improving digestion, preventing heart diseases, reducing arthritis pain due to anti inflammatory properties and promoting weight loss. It contains polyphenols in high amounts that helps prevent diseases. It also contains insulin that combats heartburn and indigestion while reducing acidity in the body.
7. Leaf lettuce
Leaf lettuce has a nutrient score of 70.73 and can be very beneficial for healthy bones. Two cups of this leafy green can fulfill all your body’s requirement of vitamin K. consumption of this vegetable by pregnant women can help to prevent neural tube defects in the developing baby, as it contains high amounts of folates and vitamin C. vitamin C is also an antioxidants that helps fight infections.
According to the report, Parsley has a nutrient score of 65.59, and if you still don’t like it very much, it’s time to change that. A nutrient packed rich super food, it helps regulate your appetite and provides your body with ample amounts of vitamin K. Parsley is also used frequently in cooking to add a rich spicy taste so it’s not too bad to include it more often. The presence of myricetin can help prevent skin cancer. It is also naturally rich in apigenin, a compound that has been found to decrease the tumor size in breast cancer.
9. Romaine lettuce
Romaine lettuce has a nutrient score of 63.48 and contains high levels of folic acid. It is found to help promote fertility in males while it is also effective as a mood booster and helps fight depression. It is a heart healthy vegetable containing fiber and cellulose. Romaine lettuce is also helpful in fighting insomnia due to its sleep inducing properties of one of the compound it contains- lactucarium. So the next time you are unable to sleep, drink some lettuce juice.
10. Collard greens
Collard greens landed on number ten with a score of 62.49 and possess some great properties to keep cholesterol levels low. It’s best to have it steamed. A boiled cup of this green veggie can fulfill up to 250 percent vitamin A, 50 percent vitamin C, 26 percent calcium, 10 percent vitamin B6 and 12 percent iron needs of the body. The rich presence of iron in this vegetable can help keep you energized as well as guard against hair loss.
11. Turnip greens
The eleventh super food is turnip green with a score of 62.12 and it had to be because it is cousins with the same superfood family that includes kale, cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts. This veggie is a rich source of vitamin C and iron that helps prevent anemia. A cup of cooked turnip green can fulfill your bodily needs of vitamin K and it is also a cancer fighting vegetable especially guarding against lung and colon cancer.
12. Mustard greens
With a nutrient score of 61.39, mustard green made it to the PFV list with its host of health benefits. It’s a rich source of the three top antioxidants: vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin A. a cup of cooked mustard greens is enough to fulfill you with the bodily needs of all these three antioxidants that promote good health and helps keep the bones and skin fresh and healthy. It’s also a natural detoxifier helping the body get rid of toxins naturally and promoting long term health.
Endive has a nutrient score of 60.44. If you suffer from skin problems, endive juice has been found to be particularly helpful in preventing acne and offering protection against pimples. It is also found to help fight asthma when mixed with the juice of carrot and celery. It provides a rich source of vitamin A and can help treat many eye complications as cataracts and glaucoma.
The last food before Kale, chive has a nutrient score of 54.8. It is rich in antioxidants and possesses anti-carcinogen properties that can help fight cancer. It also contains a compound called allicin, which can help control and lower bad cholesterol thus, protecting against heart diseases and stroke. It is also a rich source of vitamin C and is natural antibiotic, helping improve the body’s natural defense mechanism against common infections and diseases.
Just so, you know, Kale has landed itself a nutrient score of 49.07, so if you didn’t like it very much, now you have less reason to add it to most of your salads and diet and more reason to add the above mentioned 14 super foods.
Eating high nutrient foods promotes good health. Science has backed the fact that our greens in fact do love us, with their nutrient rich properties. This alone should be reason enough for us to love them back!