You can’t go wrong with consuming leafy greens. There are so many types, and they all provide amazing benefits. But depending on what your health goals are, some are better suited to your diet than others. Some are great for weight loss while others are for your heart. Whichever you choose, you know you’re about to reap tons of benefits.
However, if you need a little boost in your bone health, there’s one leaf, in particular, that’s calling your name. According to Laura Burak MS, RD, founder of GetNaked® Nutrition and author of Slimdown with Smoothies, the best leafy green you can eat for strong bones is kale.
“Although us dietitians love all leafy greens, my #1 pick is always going to be kale because not only is it super high in nutrients, but it is readily available in almost any market, has a neutral taste, and is so versatile,” says Burak.
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Kale is one of Burak’s favorite plant sources of calcium, as it clocks in at around 100 milligrams for just one cup. Because of this, she believes it is a great choice for boosting your bone health without having to rely on dairy.
Not only does kale contain calcium, but it also contains vitamin K, which regulates the calcium in your body. The vitamin K1 found in this vegetable has also been linked to stronger bones. In fact, studies have researched that those who are deficient in vitamin K have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, as well as dealing with bone breakage.
If you’re eating the kale raw, one cup of it contains nearly 100% of your daily dietary intake of vitamin K. However, cooking one cup of it provides you with over four times the amount, making it a very healthy addition to any meal.
However, as nutritious as this leafy green is, it has also been known to be a little bitter. It’s also said to be a strong, earthy flavor. If this doesn’t suit your taste buds, there are recipes to mask it to ensure you can still add it to your dishes.
“There are endless ways to use this calcium-rich veggie,” she says.”Throw a handful into a smoothie and you will never taste it. Or, add it to a stir-fry, sauce, soup, or scrambled eggs.”
Burak also recommends massaging it with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper for a delicious salad.