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Food in Focus: Surprising salad greens

Kale smoothies, home-made kale chips, kale salad – for the past few years, kale has been our go-to green for a healthy diet boost. But there are some delicious leafy green alternatives that deserve a space in your shopping trolley.

It's easy being green

Watercress, Chinese cabbage and silverbeet are three fabulous greens you should have on your shopping list each week – and the deliciously peppery watercress might just be the most super of all greens.

A US research team gave watercress a perfect nutrition density score of 100, meaning it topped the chart when it came to fruits and veg containing 10 per cent or more of vital nutrients such as fibre, iron and protein.

Just one cup of watercress also provides more than 100% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of Vitamin K, which is needed for healthy bones and blood clotting. If you are struggling to find watercress, why not give pūhā a try. Native to New Zealand, pūhā is another nutrient powerhouse, rich in vitamin A, C, and K, and contains a range of B vitamins.

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Coming in a close second on the healthy greens list was Chinese cabbage. Like its watercress cousin (they are both part of the Brassicaceae family along with broccoli), it’s high in Vitamin K and also provides a healthy dose of Vitamin C –  just one cup of Chinese cabbage, or wombok, as it is also known, delivers 54% of your RDI of Vitamin C.

It is also high in fibre and very low in calories. It can be steamed, quickly stir-fried, or eaten raw. And who doesn’t love a crunchy noodle salad with a Chinese cabbage base? This is one superstar we can all get around.

Can't beet it

Silverbeet might remind you of your nanna’s vegie patch, but there’s a good reason she grew it – and why it should be on your shopping list.

It’s another green packing a powerful Vitamin K punch, and silverbeet, or Swiss chard, has also been shown to lower blood pressure and can help people manage diabetes.

And cooking with it is so easy – most dishes that work with spinach will also work for silverbeet. Give this delicious silverbeet and feta pie a try. 

Variety is the spice of (a healthy) life

What better way to round out the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables than to start including some new green goodness in your daily diet? We promise, your body will thank you for it.

Here are some more recipes to try that are loaded with these tasty greens: