Forget National Kale Day! These Underrated Greens Deserve Some Love



rapiniembedPhoto: via Wikipedia
It totally slipped our minds that yesterday was National Kale Day — that's right, the dark leafy green is now so ubiquitously acknowledged that it gets its own special spot on the calendar. (Then again, there's actually a holiday for almost everything under the sun. Today is Virus Appreciation Day.) But, sometimes every day feels like kale day, based on how aggressively it is promoted. Look, we know there's no denying the enormous (and often delicious) benefits of the plant: It's packed in fiber, iron, vitamins C, K, and A, and is low in calories. But, it certainly doesn't rule the garden alone, and some among us are a little burnt out on kalemania. Let's expand our palates, maybe?

As a general rule, the darker green the leaf, the more nutritious it is. And, by that rule alone, kale admittedly dominates. But the good news is that you can't really go wrong with any variety of greens: They all do the body and brain good. Based on a combination of culinary impact and health benefits, here's a couple of our favorite underrated greens for your consideration next time you're at the farmer's market or produce aisle!

Rapini
Also known as broccoli rabe, this unique plant actually isn't related to broccoli at all — it’s related to turnips! Rapini is chock full of antioxidants like Vitamin C, as well as K, A, iron and calcium — just like kale — and makes an incredible sautéed side dish or ravioli stuffing. Try it braised with garlic.

Arugula
You know, salad rocket. When you order your $9 side salad at an NYC restaurant, there's a good chance 90% of it is simply arugula. But, Arugula is great for women, filled with folic acid and, again, Vitamins A, C and especially K, which is important for bone and breast health. Plus, the peppery taste can cool you down, making it an ideal summer green. Check out some out-of-the-box ways to incorporate it into your next meal.

Collard Greens
A Southern cuisine classic, and probably its healthiest. One serving of collard greens miraculously packs more calcium than a glass of milk (great news for dairy haters). Also, this green is linked to lowering cholesterol and it contains "cancer-starving" compounds. It pairs well with black eyed peas.