By Timothy Gower for Men’s Journal
If there’s one food that no one — not your doctor, your nutritionist or even your mother — will tell you to eat less of, it’s leafy greens. Calorie for calorie, chard, collards, kale and other leafy greens may just be the most nutritious food you can eat. They’re packed with vitamins — A, B, K and others — but also rich in essential minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium, as well as antioxidants, which protect cells against damage.
- Greens are also your single best source of natural nitrates
- They get converted by the body into nitric oxide, a gas that lowers blood pressure, promotes blood flow and can even improve sexual function in men.
- Greens have been shown to boost mental clarity, prevent depression and reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s. If you’re looking to stay lean, high-fiber greens help speed digestion and make you feel full!
Top source of syringic acid and kaempferol [Anti-oxidants] The former can help stabilize blood sugar, while the latter protects cells against cancer-causing toxins and lowers inflammation.
Save calories while boosting your antioxidant intake by using Swiss chard instead of tortillas to make burritos and wraps.
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Highest nitrate levels of any leafy green, helping to increase blood flow and enhance performance. Packed with flavonoids — antioxidants that fight heart disease and even some cancers.
It can be slightly bitter, so dress it in a salad with a fruity vinaigrette to counter the bite.
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Collards are best at binding your stomach’s bile acids, which can help lower your cholesterol levels. Collards also contain a special class of phytochemicals that nourish the body’s natural detoxifying system.
Steaming preserves more nutrients and increases bile-acid-binding activity.
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One of the best sources of potassium, which helps build muscle and keep blood pressure low. Packed with vitamin A, it strengthens the immune system.
Chop up and braise the lower, white portion of the stems in chicken or vegetable broth and sesame oil. Add leaves after two minutes, and cook another one to two minutes.
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Researchers believe it combats cancer and reduce inflammation in the body. Kale is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help prevent eye disease and vision loss as you age.
Briefly sauté and then braise in vegetable stock for 5 to 10 minutes.
The vitamin K packed inside can help regulate blood clotting and reduce plaque on artery walls.
Adds a peppery crunch to grilled cheese and other sandwiches, and also works well in salads.