Tired of juicing the same old greens? Me too. It happens sometimes – you find a few of the best greens for juicing and before you know it, you’re like “Have I really been drinking the same old green juice for the past month?!”
My own personal favorites are kale and chicory. Sure, they’re not the most-pleasant-tasting of the leafy green bunch, but they suit my taste buds and they somehow wind up in the majority of my green juices.
Well, that’s about to change. I’ve compiled a little go-to list of leafy greens to help you – and me – vary it up. So next time you’re about to reach for that handful of spinach – or kale, or lettuce – put it down and consult the below slideshow for a list other leafy greens waiting for a turn in your juicer.
Here’s a little round-up of the best greens to juice for every juicing need.
Best Greens for Juicing When You’re a Beginner
So let’s say you’re brand new to green juicing – welcome! – and you want some leafy greens that are going to be friendly and non-intimidating. Here are your best bets!
These are among my favorite leafy greens to juice and one of the best “starter leafy greens” as they have a fairly neutral, slightly sweet, delicious taste.
Bok choy is also the go-to leafy green if you’re trying to lose weight – 100 grams of bok choy has just 12 calories, putting it in the ‘negative calorie’ zone of foods (adds no extra weight to the body and instead facilitates calorie burning).
Plus, it’s a great source of Vitamins A (85% of your DV per 100g), C (43%), and K (42%) and a fairly good source of minerals like Calcium(9%) and Potassium (11%).
The nutritional benefits of lettuce – like boston lettuce – pale in comparison to other, stronger leafy greens, but they’re a great starter green as they’re one of the best tasting leafy greens, aka you won’t really taste them.
Boston lettuce is a classic example. It’s super low-cal – just 13 calories per 100 grams – and a good source of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A (66%), Vitamin K (128%, Folate, (18%), Iron (7%), Manganese (9%).
And again it’s virtually flavorless. In fact, it tastes like…fresh green water, making it one of the least intimidating greens to get started with.
Okay, so these aren’t technically a leafy green. They’re more like miniature versions of leafy greens. But they needed to be included here anyway.
Why? Because they are delicious-tasting and thus a great way to start juicing a whole variety of leafy greens without encountering any intimidating, bitter flavors.
And also because a 2012 study done by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that several varieties of microgreens (including cabbage and cilantro) contain nutrient levels such as Vitamins C and E up to six times greater than those found in the mature plants.
They’re also really easy to grow. If the thought of tending to a garden full of cabbage scares you (it scares me, too), micro greens are an easy, effortless alternative. All you need is a windowsill and a microgreen kit to get started. And it’s worth the non-effort – you’re going to consume a lot of these so you might as well be your own dealer, right?
Iceberg lettuce is an American veggie favorite, but its popularity has little to do with its nutritional value. Why? ‘Cause it has none. Or at least, almost none.
The Iceberg lettuce is mostly water and it pales in comparison to most of the other leafy greens on this list.
The only reason I’m adding it in is because it is extremely low-calories (well, it is mostly water, after all) and it makes a wonderfully neutral base for stronger green juice recipes.
Arugula has a bit of kick to it, a peppery bite that distinguishes it from most of the starter greens on this list. Yet, I consider arugula as one of the best tasting leafy greens. As long as you don’t go overboard on adding these to a juice recipe, they lend a light peppery flavor that complements most fruits and veggies.
These lovely green leaves are also a great source of Vitamins A, C, K , and Folate as well as minerals like Iron and Copper. It’s also a pretty good source of calcium, with around 100g of arugula giving you 16% of your daily recommendation.
Oh, and another perk I should mention – arugula is pretty low in oxalates and should be one of the leafy greens of choice if you’re concerned about oxalic acids in your diet.
Romaine lettuce is yet another gateway leafy green, perfect to add as a neutral base to stronger green juice recipes. It’s very low in calories, with 100 grams of Romaine lettuce containing only 17 calories.
These leafy green are also very high in Vitamin A (174%), Vitamin C (40%), Vitamin K (128%), and Folate (34%) – all while being one of the most inoffensive-tasting leafy greens on the planet.
If you’re looking to get started green juicing but worried about being overwhelmed – start with Romaine lettuce.
Spinach is absurdly yummy. Raw, juiced, or steamed – it has got to be one of the most delicious foods in the world.
And it’s ridiculously healthy, too.
Did you know that just 100 grams of spinach contains Vitamin A (188%), Vitamin C (47%), Vitamin K (604%), Folate (49%), Magnesium (20%), Iron (15%), Potassium (16%), Calcium (10%), and Manganese (45%).
No wonder it’s a favorite in the green juicing (and smoothie) world. If you haven’t yet – go get some delicious spinach juice recipes!
Keep in mind that not all juicers are great for juicing greens so if you’re looking to juice a lot of greens (and keep them as fresh and nutritious as possible) – you’re going to want to choose a slow juicer. Here are our top picks!
Best Greens for Juicing for Serious Health Perks
Maybe you’ve tried all the starter greens and you want more than just the best tasting leafy greens. You still want some yummy green juice but you want your greens to be packing the most nutritional benefits and health perks imaginable. Here are the best greens for juicing when you’re looking for next-level health benefits!
Watercress is probably one of the most underrated greens in the world. And it can be a bit difficult to find, but it is so worth getting your hands on, especially if you’re looking for a protective leafy green. That’s because watercress is one of the best cancer fighting leafy greens to juice.
And watercress is a yummy addition to your juice recipes as well – it has just the perfect amount of peppery-ness to add a kick to your juices and it’s wonderfully nutritious.
Did you know that Hippocrates – you know, the father of modern medicine – built his first hospital close to a stream where watercress grew so that his patients would have easy access to this delicious, health-reviving leafy green?
How’s that for leafy green street cred? Even kale’s got nothing on watercress…
When it comes to percentages of vitamins and minerals, watercress seems to fall short compared to other leafy greens but don’t be fooled: watercress has ample benefits in the cancer-protective department.
I fell for the cabbage soup diet fad a few years ago and after two weeks of eating nothing but cabbage soup, I wanted nothing – NOTHING – to do with anything cabbage. So I went a loooong time without adding cabbage to any of my juice recipes and I truly regret that.
Not because the taste of cabbage juice is anything to write home about, but because cabbage is one of the healthiest foods you can consume on a regular basis.
For starters, I consider this stuff one of the best, cheapest natural detoxifiers you can add into your juice recipes. You see, cabbage is rich in glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing compounds that are converted into active forms isothyocyanates and indoles, which help eliminate carcinogens from your body.
The thing is that the enzyme which converts glucosinolates into its active compounds is easily destroyed by heat so to get the full benefits – juice the cabbage!
Cabbage is also rich in sulforaphane, a phytochemical that increases your body’s production of enzymes that help fight cell-damaging free radicals. And fight, they do – in fact, a study done by Standford University found that sulforaphane boosts your body’s levels of these free radical-fighting enzymes higher than any other plant chemical.
Plus, I love that there are a few varieties of cabbage to choose from. Red cabbage is chock full of anthocyanins and actually really delicious (especially for a cabbage). Get some delicious cabbage juice recipes!
Raw bitter melon has been making headlines in the news for the past few years as a healthy treatment option for people Type 2 diabetes. But we’re not going to lie to you – the vegetable lives up to its name.
It is truly, unabashedly bitter and its appearance doesn’t grant it any favors either – with wart-like bumps covering the entirety of its surface. This is precisely why we choose to juice bitter melon and get all its great nutrients fast – and you can’t even see the warts.
We would need another post to go over all the benefits of wheatgrass. There’s a reason this grass juice has long been a darling of health enthusiasts – the juice is a rich source of chlorophyll, as well as a host of vitamins and 12 amino acids including the 8 essential amino acids: phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, and lysine.
Not to mention, wheatgrass is also a “predigested food” which sounds gross, but simply means that your body doesn’t need to digest it. Wheatgrass juice also contains both amino acids and glucose so it’s automatically assimilated in the body.
Extra bonus: wheatgrass pulp makes an awesome face pack.
Collards are a green juice must-have. And not just ’cause their wide, sturdy leaves are ideal for wrapping smaller, more delicate leafy greens into before feeding it through the juicer machine…
These leafy greens are low in calories and extremely high in nutrition value.
Did you know, for example that a serving of collard greens has more calcium than a glass of milk?
And as one of the most nutritious leafy greens on the planet, collard greens also has heaps of nutrients like Vitamins A (133% of your DV, per 100 grams), Vitamin C (59%), Vitamin K (638%), Folate (41%), Calcium (14%), Manganese (14%), as well as protein (5%).
Kale, kale…we all know kale. And no best greens for juicing list is complete without it since it is the undisputed darling of the health food industry, the poster child of the green juice movement, the much-loved queen of greens.
And it’s no wonder why. This leafy green is a nutrient-laden rockstar!
Just 100 grams of kale gives you Vitamin A (308%), Vitamin C (200%), Vitamin K (1,021%), Vitamin B6 (14%), Calciu, (14%), Iron (9%), Magnesium, (8%), Potassium, (13%), Copper (14%), Manganese (39%), as well as Folate, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Zinc, and even Protein (7%).
Ready to get in on that? Check out the most delicious kale juice recipes!
Best Greens for Juicing When You Want to Mix it Up
You’ve downed your fair share of celery, cucumbers, and lettuce. Perhaps you’ve even dabbled with spinach and broccoli. If you’ve been there and done that with all the usual juicing suspects, try livening up your glass with these underrated greens that every experienced green juicer should try!
Amaranth leaves are beautiful – which is what first drew me to them. Sounds superficial, I know, but these lovely green leaves are stained with a vibrant, deep purple that makes them look as though Mother Nature experimented with them in a tie-dye class she took over the weekend.
But these leaves aren’t all show and no substance – amaranth leaves are full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, and Selenium.
Love 2-for-1 deals? See if you can find beets with the tops still on and that’s exactly what you’ll be getting. Beet greens are lovely to look at, delicious to eat, and wonderfully nutritious for your body and skin.
For example, did you know that just 100 grams of beet greens contains around 153% of your daily recommendation of Vitamin A (a lovely vitamin to be getting if you’re struggling with acne)?
Beet greens are also very rich in Vitamin C and K, as well as minerals like Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper, and Manganese. As for the taste – beet greens look like Swiss Chard and they taste like it too.
When you think green juicing, don’t stop with leafy greens – there’s a whole world of green goodness to juice that’s not particularly leafy. Case in point? Asparagus. These pointy greens pack a powerful antioxidant punch. Did you know just 10-ounces of asparagus contains 119% of your daily vitamin C?
The vegetable also contains a surprisingly high amount of protein, as well as vitamins E and K, potassium, phosphorus, folate, selenium, manganese, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin (amazing for you skin, hair, nails – not to mention the rest of your body).
Whether you get Swiss chard with the colorful or white stalks – Swiss chard is a low-calorie (only 19 calories per 100 grams), high-nutrition green with ample amount of vitamins and minerals. How much?
Just a 100 grams of this leafy green contains Vitamin A (122%), Vitamin C (50%), Vitamin E (9%), Vitamin K (1038%), Calcium (5%), Iron (10%), Magnesium (20%), Potassium (11%), Sodium (9%), Copper (9%), and Manganese (18%).
In just 55 grams of fresh dandelion greens, you’re giving your body 112% of your daily vitamin A requirement, plus vitamin C, calcium, iron, and even protein.
These nutrient-rich greens are also refreshing and delicious. Add a heap to your juicer today!
These are outrageously tasty greens with a grassy, nutty flavor. Fiddleheads are a great source of protein and zinc, as well as a good source of vitamins A and C, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese.
They are usually only available in Spring – watch for them in the coming few months in Farmer’s Markets and wild produce sections of your local grocery store!
As part of the same plant that produces mustard seeds, these greens have a
bit of lot of edge to them and it’s highly advised you don’t juice these alone.
Second only to kale in beta-carotene (which your body converts to Vitamin A) content, they also contain an arsenal of other vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin C (117% per 100 grams), Vitamin E (10%), Vitamin K (622%), Folate (47%), Calcium (10%), Potassium, (10%), and Manganese (24%).
Once you’ve juiced with perilla, you won’t be able to stop. With a flavor that can only be described as “attractive”, this is a one-of-a-kind taste that really adds a zing to your juices.
Perilla has been used in Asian medicine for its expectorant and stomach-soothing properties, as well as for respiratory system symptoms such as asthma, nasal inflammation, and congestion from allergies, colds, chills, and bronchitis.
Ready to get started juicing these lovely leafy greens? Here are some tips to help you juice like a pro!