We often recommend that nutritional aesthetics clients eat more greens, and for good reason. We’ve found that the seemingly small step of adding more greens to one’s daily diet has serious impact on many different areas of that person’s health. Improved digestion, better sleep, higher energy levels, and clearer skin are just some of the benefits that people experience after increasing greens for even a short period of time.

This recommendation is met most often with two popular greens: kale and spinach. Kale and Spinach are easy to find at the market, relatively mild tasting, and there are loads of recipes available online for how to add them to your smoothies and salads. So perhaps you dutifully add them to your menus; but at some point the love affair ends, and resistance ensues. Perhaps out of distaste or boredom, or you just can’t get over those traumatizing memories of limpy spinach from your childhood. It’s possible that you’re someone with a natural tendency to buck the status quo, and kale and spinach have become too trendy for your liking; or maybe you have genuine concerns after reading articles that caution against the anti-nutritious effects eating too much kale or spinach. Whatever the case, we have the solution. Vary your greens, explore new tastes, and take care of your skin.

Here are four of our favorite skin-healthy greens:


Arugula is considered one of the most nutritious of the salad greens; containing more calcium than kale and collards! It looks like a cross between dandelion greens and oak leaf lettuce and comes in one large bunch consisting of smaller bunches of 5 to 6 small flat leaves with long stems. Known for its distinctive taste and character, it’s an exotic but delicate green. Arugula belongs to the mustard family, with hints of pepper and spice. It contrasts beautifully in a salad made with citrus fruits like tangerines, a champagne vinaigrette, topped with sliced almonds.

Though arugula has a different flavor profile and appearance than many of its cruciferous cousins, arugula shares many of the cruciferous nutritional family traits. It’s high in free-radical busting antioxidants, digestion-boosting enzymes and fiber; and skin health vitamins A, C, K, and folate, in addition to minerals–and that’s just to name a few! We love it as a regular nutritional aesthetics kitchen staple.


WatercressCould watercress surpass kale as the green with the greatest benefits for beauty and health? Absolutely, according to a recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This spicy, cruciferous green topped 40 other fruits and vegetables to earn a perfect rating for its nutritional content— significant doses of vitamins A, C, and K included.

The variable spiciness of delicate watercress leaves and stems is a reminder of their cleansing, detoxifying beauty superpowers. In fact, watercress’ phytochemical sulforaphane is an incredibly potent free radical-fighter that has been shown to prevent and even repair DNA damage. We love it for overall age defense, internal cleansing, and the major beauty nutrition that’s packed into every one of its peppery sprigs. If you’re a watercress beginner, start slow and add a small bunch to a sandwich or salad for unexpected crunch and kick.

Bok Choy:

Bok ChoyBok Choy, which is sometimes referred to as Chinese cabbage or white cabbage, isn’t just an Asian stir-fry staple. This crispy, powerhouse leafy green cruciferous vegetable might slightly resemble a mutant celery–but its mild taste and light crunchy texture makes it an extremely versatile choice. In our opinion, bok choy’s taste is reminiscent of fresh iceberg lettuce, but it’s hearty enough to saute with coconut oil and sea salt to serve as a side dish alongside any dinner entree. Bok choy is also a great morning green, and shines equally as an addition to your morning smoothie or as a burst of texture in your Sunday frittata! We find baby bok choy irresistibly cute too–it makes a gorgeous summer salad grilled and drizzled with a fruity dressing.

Bok choy packs loads of vitamins and minerals into its minimal calories. In fact, bok choy ranks in the top three vegetables on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI); which rates foods based on their vitamin and mineral content, as well as their phytochemical composition and antioxidant capacity per calorie according to Medical News Today.  Standout nutrients for skin health include A, C, selenium and choline. One cup of cooked bok choy provides more than 60% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of A, and close to two-thirds the RDA of C. It also contains high levels of vitamins D and K, and minerals such as selenium. All of these vitamins and minerals reduce inflammation, support collagen production, and defend against skin-aging sun damage, which makes bok choy a skin-health superstar.


Romaine-lettuceLettuces are often overlooked for their skin and health benefits, because cruciferous and other dark leafy greens tend to get all the attention. We think that romaine lettuce deserves a spotlight alongside these other greens, because despite its mild taste, it packs some serious nutritional aesthetics punch!

Romaine lettuce is extremely hydrating and contains gut-friendly fiber, like other lettuces and greens–but what makes it particularly skin healthy is its high concentration of beta carotene (the plant-based precursor to Vitamin A), Vitamin K (excellent for healthy circulation and keeping the under-eye area bright), omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and protein. In fact, according to Diseaseproof.com, per 100 calories, romaine lettuce contains more protein than sirloin steak!

What romaine lettuce doesn’t have much of–unlike our beloved kale and spinach–are the concerns of goitrogens and oxalates.

While it might seem unrealistic to consume 100 calories of romaine in one sitting, it’s certainly realistic to do so throughout the course of your day by including it in your morning smoothie, or as part of your favorite lunch salad or wrap. We love it in its raw state, but it can certainly be lightly steamed or wilted and used as a “bed” under your favorite protein or whole grain dish.

We’d love to hear from you–what are your favorite skin-healthy greens?

How do you use them? Please tell us in the comments below. Are you new to greens? Be sure to check in with us on Facebook all this week–we’re sharing our favorite skin-healthy greens recipes to inspire you!

*Image credits: Watercress via photopin (license), Home – Dinner via photopin (license), romaine via photopin (license)