By Lydia Ramsey
When it comes to the leafy greens you put in your salads, not all are created equal.
So which leaves and lettuces should you use in your salad to justify the croutons, bacon, and tasty dressing you add?
We’re here to help you find the most nutritious ones.
In the past rankings, we’ve relied on the CDC’s 2014 list of “powerhouse foods”. But this time, we factored in how many nutrients (specifically potassium, fiber, protein, riboflavin, niacin, folate, B6, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and B6) the greens pack per calorie.
Of course, none of the veggies on this list are bad for you, and you won’t necessarily be worse off for picking one over another. With that said, here are the healthiest greens for your salads.
12. Arugula (sometimes called rocket)
Arugula’s distinct peppery taste doesn’t quite correlate with a high nutritional content. While it does have some vitamins, it lacks in other nutrients that other greens boast.
Calories per cup: 6
11. Iceberg lettuce
It’s no surprise that iceberg lettuce is among the least nutritious greens to put in a salad. In fact, Chick-fil-A has even banned the veggie from its stores, allegedly because of its low nutritional value. Iceberg lettuce has about only 7% of your daily vitamin A per cup, and only 3% of daily vitamin C — among the lowest on this list.
Calories per cup: 10
Radicchio is a member of the chicory family. It’s also packed with vitamin K, containing more than 100% of your daily value.
Calories per cup: 9
TIE – 8. Watercress
Watercress, with its little round leaves, was considered the top powerhouse food in the CDC study. However, by our metrics, it didn’t pack in as many nutrients as others on the list. It’s high in vitamins A, C, and K and incredibly low in calories.
It’s also linked to a lower risk of type-2 diabetes and is