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Get Even More Greens by Eating these Leafy Green Vegetables

Updated on November 10, 2017
Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe has been eating healthy foods for a couple of years, ever since she had open heart surgery to fix a hole in her heart.

A Final Applause for Our Salad Greens

I’ve introduced you to the top and middle four leafy green vegetables that you can add to your salads, side dishes, and other meals. I hope you’ve gone shopping to tackle your greens for a healthier, more nutritionous diet. Now it’s time to wrap things up with the another type of leafy green vegetables—the lettuce and cabbage group—with two honorable mentions that didn’t make the top twelve cut. That’s why I've included them at the end. Enjoy!

Add Colorful Lettuce to Your Salads and Sandwiches

Let's Have Some Red and Green Leaf Lettuce

Red and green leaf lettuces are a familiar sight in salad bowls. They’re high in vitamin A and offer some folate. Leaf lettuces have a softer texture in Caesar salads. The darker the lettuce leaf, the more nutrition it has, making the red leaf slightly healthier than green. Despite a low-calorie count, red leaf lettuce is packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

One cup contains nine milligrams of calcium along with iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. You can also find vitamins A, B6, K, D, and C, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, choline, beta-carotene, lutein, and niacin in one cup of red leaf lettuce.

Give Romaine Lettuce a Try

Romaine lettuce adds a crunch to Caesar salads. It's crisper than leaf lettuces and offers some folate and vitamin A. The red version contains the same essential minerals as red leaf lettuce. If you have a calcium deficiency, romaine can help deal with health complications like osteoporosis, which stems from a lack of calcium.

Cabbage Adds Crunch to Your Salads

Go Crazy With Cabbage

This cruciferous vegetable is a great source of vitamin C. It can be added raw to salads, made into sauerkraut, or shredded into a slaw. Stir it into stir-fries or add it to tacos. It's a staple of St. Patrick’s Day boiled suppers. Cabbage also has the fewest calories and the least fat of any other vegetable, but it also has plenty of fiber, potassium, and other nutrients.

There are two different types of green cabbage, savoy and napa. They each provide beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps prevent cancer and heart disease. There’s also a respectable amount of vitamin C, and phytochemicals, which are being studied for their ability to convert estradiol, an estrogen-like hormone that may play a role in the development of breast cancer, into a safer form of estrogen.

Watch Out for Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is the most popular lettuce in our country. It’s the last leafy green on this list, due to its limited health benefits, though it made the tops for consumption. It’s still a common ingredient in hamburgers and in taco salads. It can be a starter green to draw people into a broader array of more nutritious salad greens.

Two Honorable Mentions: Bok Choy and Watercress

Bok choy (or Chinese cabbage) is packed with vitamins A, K, and C. It's an easy and wonderful addition to any Chinese stir-fry dish. Try sauteing or stir-frying bok choy with chopped garlic and shredded ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce.

Bok choy is rich in antioxidants, especially beta-carotene, which make it a great part of a cancer-prevention diet. It's also a low-calorie, low-fat, and low-carb vegetable. It's an important source of calcium, for those who don't eat dairy products. One cup of shredded bok choy contains healthy levels of folate and vitamin B6 as well.

Watercress offers similar health benefits as kale and collards, and can be used in the same way. It’s a member of the cabbage family along with other greens such as mustard, kale, and turnip. It can be handy, since it can be added raw to salads or sandwiches without a minute of preparation time. It has a slightly peppery, sour taste. One cup of watercress has more than your daily value of vitamin K.

Since watercress is rarely cooked, it’s an excellent source of glucosinolates, which are best absorbed from raw vegetables. Studies have found that baby leaf watercress contains more antioxidants than other greens and more than apples or broccoli.

Studies have also found that the antioxidants and carotenoids in watercress can reduce cellular damage that may lead to cancer. In one study, researchers fed 30 smokers and 30 non-smokers 85g of raw watercress daily. While all participants experienced benefits, the smokers' were far more significant.

Watercress adds bulk to meals without adding a lot of calories, helping you to feel full, but without exceeds your calorie limits.

That's a (Lettuce) Wrap

Well, that’s the end of the leafy green vegetable list. I hope you’ve taken note and added a bunch of greens to your diet. Go out and buy some greens at your local farmer’s market or grocery store, or buy some seeds and grow some salad greens in your garden or window box. Check out the two tables below to see how healthy these greens can be for you and your health!

Bon appetit!

Lower Green Leafy Vegetable Table

Red and Green Leaf Lettuce
Romain lettuce
Cabbage
Iceberg Lettuce
 
Bone growth, hormone production, regulates heartbeat and calcium.
Bone growth, hormone production, regulates heartbeat and calcium
Fights cancer and heart disease.
Bone growth, hormone production, regulate heartbeat and calcium.
 
Repairs body tissues, plays role in digestion.
Repairs body tissues, plays role in digestion.
Helps prevent osteoporosis, aids in controlling blood pressure. Helps you lose weight.
Repairs body tissues, plays role in digestion and growth with amino acids.
 
4 calories (1 cup), 0.3g fiber, 0.06g fat, 0.37g protein, 0.63g carbohydrates.
4 calories (1 cup), 0.3g fiber, 0.06g fat, 0.37g protein, 0.63g carbohydrates.
22 calories (1 cup), 0g fat, 1g protein, 2g fiber, 5g carbs.
4 calories (1 cup), 0.3g fiber, 0.06g fat, 0.37g protein, 0.63g carbohydrates.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Give some of these salad greens a try today!

Honorable mention leafy greens

Bok Choy
Watercress
Wards off various diseases like cancer, benefits eye health, and reduces chances of macular degeneration.
Linked to cancer prevention.
Controls weight and losing pounds.
Aids weight loss, increases urine produced by body, acting as natural diuretic.
9 calories (1 cup), less than 1g fat, 1g protein and fiber, 2g carbs.
4 calories (1 cup), 0g fat, fiber and carbs, 1g protein.
While you're at it, give bok choy and watercress a try tonight!

© 2015 Kristen Howe

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    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 12 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Vellur for stopping by and commenting on my hub, my friend! Yes they do! Go for it. You're welcome.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 12 months ago from Dubai

      Interesting and informative article about leafy greens. They have so many health benefits. I love cabbage and lettuce. Will give the others a try. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Victoria for stopping by and commenting. Good for you for eating greens. Go for it!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 22 months ago from Arkansas, USA

      I love greens! This hub offers excellent information. I eat mostly romaine, but also red and green. I gave up iceberg lettuce years ago. I eat kale and bok choy ocasionally. I love spinach and collards, too! I love greens; I just think I need to eat them more often!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 23 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Chef. Wow! My dad's hibernating in Southern Florida right now in Osprey. Thanks for this great info on the greens.

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 23 months ago from Citra Florida

      Hey Kristen

      Good advice offered here. I'm into growing my own greens but the climate here in Florida has other ideas. Yesterday it hit 86 degrees and I'm in north FLorida. I've been trying for the last 4 years to grow spinach (unsuccessfully up to now, can't take the heat but hope springs eternal)

      Kale, cabbage and broccoli are all favorites of the local critter population so now my winter garden is covered with mosquito nets.

      Lettuce of almost any kind turns to flowers instead of heads because of the heat. So! I start all that I can indoors under grow lights and have some success.

      My newest favorite is a Chinese mustard green called Tah Tsai. It grows quickly to a small head and is tender enough to use in salads or stir fries. There are many Chinese greens available if you want to grow your own

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 23 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks for stopping by Poetryman and letting me know with your comments.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 23 months ago

      We avoid iceberg lettuce but we eat lots of cabbage and some bok choy. Sometimes we eat Romaine lettuce.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 23 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      HI Mary. Good ideas to add them to soups. You do have a good point there about salads. Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 23 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      We try to add greens in soups or stews. We add enough for the meal at the last minute as we don't want soggy greens in left-overs. This is our way of ensuring we have enough greens. Or sautee some in onions. We refrain from eating salads as we're often in places where we're advised not to eat uncooked food.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Marlene, way to go on having a green garden. I didn't know about that. How interesting. Thanks for stopping by.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      These are all vegetables that I grow in my garden (except for the watercress). I enjoy eating various green leafy veggies. Recently, I learned that we can even eat the leaf from the cabbage plant.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      You're very welcome Sheila. Red and green leaf is always good for salad. Good plan!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 2 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I stopped eating iceberg lettuce many years ago. I stick with the green leaf lettuce at home and we eat lots of cole slaw as well. I love to get a good salad with red and green leaf lettuce when we go out. Very informative hub, thank you!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Audrey for your lovely comments!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      just an excellent hub!!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Hi Peach. Thanks for stopping by my friend. I love stir fries too.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      I love lettuce; book choy and mustard greens. Stir fries are easier

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Vespa for stopping by!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

      It is too bad that iceburg is the most consumed geeen. I love bok choy but had no idea it's a source of calcium and vitamin C. Thanks for this valuable information.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Thumbi7 for your comments. Happy eating!

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 2 years ago from India

      We eat a lot of green leafy vegetables in our daily diet. That includes cabbage. You have listed a variety of them.

      Interesting read

      Voted up and shared

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      That's interesting to know Peach. You can get romaine lettuce in salad kits with other lettuces for under $5 at your grocery store. Thanks for visiting!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Romaine kwttuce is delicious but expensive. Cabbage is cheap but gives flatulence

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure Linda. It doesn't hurt to try something new with your diet. Thanks for commenting, my friend.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 2 years ago from Arizona

      I love all of these leafy greens, but had forgotten a about a few of them like bok choy and watercress. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      You're very welcome, Anglnwu. Check out my other two leafy green hubs on the top and middle four. Thanks for the vote.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 2 years ago

      Great shoutout the the leafy greens. I love bak choy and use it in stir-fry a lot. Watercress is a favorite too. Thanks for sharing and vote up.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Yeah Peggy! You're a salad green rock star. Thanks for commenting and visiting my friend!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We always like keeping fresh greens in the house for salads, etc. Right now we have Romaine lettuce and baby spinach greens. Of all the various types of lettuce we eat iceberg the least. In the past I have grown several types of lettuce and also Swiss chard. It is all good!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure Patricia for stopping by and making my evening with your warm angelic comments. Good for you!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Yes m'am. Love the greens...ice berg not so much; it is kind of like, well, nothing. You have listed many of my favorites and what I love about them is that they can be prepared in so many ways.

      Thanks for sharing Kristen. Angels are headed your way this evening. ps

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Dale for the comment and loving cabbage. Thanks for the vote!

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 2 years ago from The High Seas

      I use to LOATHE cabbage....until I learned that it was the main ingredient of one of my favorite meals. Imagine my shock! Good article. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks for the voted up and the pluses, Catherine. Good for you for going green with lettuce and bok choy. I would give it a try sometime.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I east a variety of different lettuces and greens. Include iceberg lettuce in that. Not for salads. I eat it for crunch sometimes in a sandwich or in a taco (as you mention.) I cook bok choy or use raw in a salad. I cut the stalks and leaves into bite-size pieces and sauté in garlic and olive oil and serve it as a side dish. voted up ++

    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Good for you Peach. I love French cut green beans. I never had bok choy before, except for salad mixes.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i love bak choy, easier to cook and prepare, other greens such as green beans need a longer time to cook

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Kitty for stopping by and commenting on my last leafy green hub. Thanks so much. Everyone should get more green in their diets.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 2 years ago from the Ether

      My favorite greens are spinach and arugula! Great hub and good job reminding people just how healthy it is to eat your greens. :)

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Lovethisstuff for sharing your two cents. Pretty cool that doctor recommended it.

    • lovethisstuff profile image

      lovethisstuff 2 years ago from London

      Leafy greens have also the added benefit of being excellent in providing radiance to the skin, especially Romain lettuce as recommended by Dr. Perricone on his book "The Wrinkle Cure"

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      :-) Enjoy cabbage!

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      I surely will.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      You're very welcome, Rachel. Yes you can put cabbage in salads, since I've seen shredded napa cabbage in salad mixes at my grocery store. Give it a try. Thanks for the vote.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi Kristen. I am the old fashion person that sticks to red or green leaf lettuce or iceberg or Roman lettuces. Now you make the other ones like Boc Choy and Watercress sound interesting. I don't know about cabbage. Could you put it raw in a salad? Thanks for this series, it was interesting and informative. Voted up.

      Blessings to you.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure Patty. That salad sounds and look delicious to me! My pleasure!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 2 years ago from North America

      I like red leaf lettuce and bok choy the best, so that will make a good salad tonight with a little onion and some radishes! Thanks for this Hub on leafy greens that I like.