Kale’s the king of the health food world these days, and with good reason: it’s a cruciferous vegetable that boasts a ton of fiber and antioxidants, as well as cancer-fighting and detoxifying properties. It’s no wonder everyone’s adding it to their green smoothies and salads (yours truly included).
In the world of marketing, image is everything. If you’re James Franco or Roger Federer or Taylor Swift, your name and face can be used to sell anything from phones to watches to perfume—even if you’re not necessarily famous for the your tech-savvy, your promptness, or the way you smell.
In the food world, the biggest celebrity of all might be kale—the Shakira of salads, the Lady Gaga of leafy greens. It’s universally recognized that kale anything—kale chips, kale pesto, kale face cream—instantly implants a health halo not seen since the days of C. Everett Koop. Even 7-Eleven is making over its image by offering kale smoothies to help with your weight loss efforts. And yes, kale has plenty of benefits—including high levels of folate and more calcium, gram for gram, than a cup of milk.
But kale’s actually not the healthiest green on the block. In fact, in a recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control that ranked 47 “powerhouse fruits and vegetables,” kale only placed 15th (with 49.07 points out of 100 for nutrient density)! Here’s a roundup of the 14 leafy green cousins that researchers say pack a greater nutritional wallop. Read em, eat em, and reap the benefits.