Powerhouse Greens You Should be Adding to Your Diet

food-salad-healthy-lunchThe ground has finally thawed, and it seems the time for planting our kitchen gardens has finally arrived. But even if you aren’t looking to ‘growing your own’, markets and farmers stands offer an expansive selection of vegetables to choose from. With all that is available to choose from, what are our best bets for health? When in doubt, stick with bright red or dark green vegetables. Here are some nutritional “powerhouses” to enjoy this season and all year long:

Beets & Beet Greens

Beets are high in vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, B, and C, calcium, iron, potassium, and protein. Beet roots are a great source of nitrates, therefore a great food for keeping blood pressure regulated. The fiber in these red veggies are another plus, keeping you fuller longer.

It is easy to forget about beet’s leafy tops, but before you toss them in the garbage, you may want to know that these greens are high in Vitamin K. Vitamin K has been shown to reduce our risk of type II diabetes. One more reason to eat beets this season.


Watercress is usually sworn off as plate garnish for restaurants, but this little green packs a nutritional punch. The peppery green is particularly rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as antioxidants. It contains an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, and increase insulin sensitivity. This is especially beneficial for those dealing with diabetes related health issues. Similarly, watercress is high in dietary nitrate which has been shown to lower blood pressure, and enhance athletic performance. High in nutrients, but low in calories, this is the perfect green to add to your dishes.

Swiss Chard

This dark green leafy green is a great source of the antioxidant duo lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are particularly good for your eyes. There are different varieties of Swiss chard, but whether you choose the one with multicolored or white stems, both are part of a healthy diet. Aside from antioxidants, these greens are also high in vitamin K, which as mentioned helps reduce risk of diabetes along with maintaining bone health. Vitamin K deficiency has been associated with an increased risk for bone fracture.


Like other greens on this list, spinach is high in essential vitamins C, A, and K as well as the mineral manganese. It so easy to incorporate spinach into your diet, whether in a salad or an omelet, there’s no excuse for not getting all your vitamins. Spinach is also high in antioxidants, like carotenoids, that help keep your eyes healthy and have been linked to prevention of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in the elderly.

David Samadi, MD - Medical Contributor

View posts by David Samadi, MD - Medical Contributor
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel's Medical A-Team. Learn more at roboticoncology.com. Visit Dr. Samadi's blog at SamadiMD.com. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
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