Dark, leafy greens are a particular nutritional standout. Eating a spinach salad and other dark leafy greens delivers a bonanza of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Calorie for calorie, dark leafy greens are one the most concentrated sources of nutrition. They are rich in minerals (iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium) and vitamins (K, C, E and some B vitamins), and they provide a variety of phytonutrients, including beta-carotene and lutein.
Lutein, for example, is well established as being beneficial for eye health. But there is mounting evidence that the nutrient decreases the risk of wrinkles, as well as cancer. Dark leafy greens are the richest sources of lutein, in particular kale, collard greens, cooked spinach and Swiss chard. Lutein is also plentiful in parsley, chicory, mustard greens, beet greens, romaine lettuce and endive.
How to Buy and Store Greens
Just like you don’t want rust on our car, you don’t want them on your greens either. Pass by any greens with brown spots, yellowing edges or limp-looking leaves. Instead, look for crisp, perky greens with vibrant hues of green, especially in the wonderful Swiss chard varieties.