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Know your leafy greens: 15 favorites to add to your diet

Romanesco broccoli

Photo: Serhiy Shullye/Shutterstock

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4. Broccoli

Broccoli is perhaps the least challenging of greens; it is widespread, subtle in flavor, and often doused in butter or cheese sauce … what’s not to love? The most common type is the Italian variety, but other varieties are increasingly available, including:

• Romanesco (light green and slightly marine-creature looking, with pointed, cone-shaped florets – see photo)

• Chinese broccoli (a bit bitter with thick stems and flat leaves with thick stems and small florets)

• Broccoli rabe (also bitter, with spiked leaves surrounding small stalks of florets)

When shopping for broccoli, pick bunches that have rich color as that indicates maximum nutrient value; the more vivid green, purplish, or blue-green florets contain more beta-carotene and vitamin C than yellow or fading ones. Avoid broccoli with open, flowering, or discolored florets and tough or insipid stems. Store broccoli unwashed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Broccoli can be eaten raw, or it can be steamed, stir-fried, boiled, roasted, you name it – it’s an excellent source of vitamins K, C, and A, as well as folate and fiber.