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Get More Green by Eating These Four Leafy Green Vegetables

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

4 leafy greens you should eat today

4 leafy greens you should eat today

Getting More Green

Each leafy green vegetable has many health benefits and provides fiber. If you add a little bit of green to your diet, you would notice a change in how you feel. You can eat each of these foods raw or boiled.

Add this list to your must-haves on your next grocery list, or stop at your local farmer’s market. I’ve included another healthy green table for you to see what’s good for you and your family. Are you ready to get greener and healthier?

Popeye Loves Spinach

A stalk of spinach is packed with folate, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. No wonder Popeye loved eating spinach from a can. After you rinse spinach, it can be cooked quickly in the water that remains, or it can be eaten raw in salads. It can be found in a 50/50 mix with kale in salad bags, or added for flavor in frozen food meals, too. When the heat reduces the green's oxalates content, it becomes more nutritional than cooked spinach. It binds to calcium and frees up its dietary calcium. This vegetable is mild-flavored and added to soups, plenty of pasta dishes, and casseroles. For more convenience, buy bags of chopped frozen spinach than the block kinds.

Eating spinach has these health benefits:

  • Carotenoids promote prostate cancer prevention and destroy cancerous cells in the intestines
  • Magnesium manages blood pressure at a healthy level
  • Kaempferol prevents cancer cell formation and reduces ovarian cancer risk
  • Brain function loss would decrease
Mustard greens add crispy spice to your salads

Mustard greens add crispy spice to your salads

Want Some Mustard With That?

Southerners love another favorite leafy green vegetable, the mustard greens. Like turnip leaves and collard greens, they have a similar nutritional profile. It comes in a variety of red and green with scalloped-edged leaves. It tastes like pepper and smells like mustard during cooking. To tone down their spiciness, add an acid like lemon juice or vinegar.

Mustard greens contain antioxidants to reduce free radicals along with these health benefits:

  • Boosts detoxification and reduces cancer development
  • Keeps your heart healthy and decreases unwanted inflammation
  • Diminishes chances of getting Emphysema and prevents lung inflammation for smokers
  • Great source of Vitamin A
  • Helps your lung stay relaxed and avoid constriction for asthmatic people
Stir things up with broccoli

Stir things up with broccoli

Hooray for Broccoli

One cup of broccoli contains high levels of potassium, magnesium, Vitamin A, and the RDA of Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant necessary for fighting free radicals. For bone health and osteoporosis prevention, it's a good source of Vitamin K with folate. Did you know that Americans eat about six pounds a year? For stir-fries, the stalks and forests add both crunch and color. Your kids might call these "veggie trees," since they often like it best raw in vegetable platters, or steamed with yogurt-based dips. The next time you make pasta, try mixing fresh broccoli during the last three minutes. Both dishes would be ready at the same time.

Broccoli reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack, and atherosclerosis with the B6 and folate in it. One stalk contains anti-carcinogens that not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical, and prostate cancers but also has a powerful antioxidant component to boost liver function. Lutein helps fight against heart disease and stroke. It can slow down or prevent arteries thickening in the body and age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. To further strengthen immune-defense actions, it contains trace minerals such as zinc and selenium. It curbs overeating, prevents constipation, maintains your low blood sugar, and promotion digestion when used as a diet aid since it's high in fiber.

How About Some Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)?

Rapini is a member of the turnip family, though it looks like broccoli. An uncommon sight in the U.S. produce section, it's now becoming increasingly popular. Because it's a big part of any Chinese or Italian dish, it's easily added to stir-fries and pasta dishes. You can add it to an omelet, combine it in a stir fry with garlic and red peppers, or make it an ingredient to any high-carb meal like pasta or lasagna. For those who are diabetic, it reduces the insulin response to prevent hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

A half-cup of Rapini has both Vitamins A and C to fight dangerous free radical cells and these two health benefits:

  • Prevents birth defects and Coronary Heart Disease
  • Prevents your bones from thinning

Middle Four Leafy Green Vegetables Table

Did you know that these middle 4 greens are packed with many health benefits?

SpinachMustard GreensBroccoliBroccoli Rabe

Contains more than a dozen flavonoid compounds as cancer-fighting antioxidants and neutralize free radicals in body.

Helpful in reducing risk of certain types of cancers, such as bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, and ovarian cancer.

Helps maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function, promotes regular muscle growth.

Contains sulfur, a specific compound that assists with detoxifying of the liver.

Excellent promoter of cardio-vascular health to prevent harmful oxidant of cholesterol, a danger to heart and arteries.

Promotes heart health by lowering cholesterol.

Helps regularate blood pressure and repairs skin damage to detoxify and repair itself. An affective antihistamine for easing discomforting of common cold.

The effectiveness of MSM reduces inflammation in arthritis patients. Two grams of fiber for every cup lowers blood cholesterol and glucose levels.

Protects brain function from premature aging and slows old age related effects on mental capabilities by preventing harmful effects of oxidation on brain.

Helps regulate and control blood pressure levels, good in prevention of certain menopausal symptoms.

Bolsters immune systems with large dose of beta-carotene. Forms retinal, the light-absorbing molecule that’s essential to both low-light and color vision.

Maintains healthy hormonal balance for both men and women and reduces yeast infections in the body and kills the yeast strain, Candida albicans, that often overgrows when we take antibiotics.

7 calories in one cup, 0.12g Fat, 0,86g Protein, 1.09g Carbs, 4.3g Fiber

15 calories in one cup, 0.1g Fat, 1.5g Protein, 1.8g Fiber, 2.7g Carbs

30 calories in one cup, 0g fat, 2g Protein and Fiber, 6g Carbs

4 calories in one cup, 0.06 of fat, 0.3g of fiber, 0.37g protein, 0.63g of carbs

Make It Your Own

Every year, add some broccoli, rapini, spinach, and mustard greens to your salads and pasta dishes. In my final installment, I introduced the bottom group of green veggies: Bok choy, cabbage, watercress, and the lettuces, along with a couple honorable mentions for your meals.

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Kristen Howe


Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on October 03, 2015:

Vellur, you're very welcome. It doesn't hurt to try something new these days.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 03, 2015:

I include a lot of Spinach and Broccoli in my cooking. Never have tried rapini. Great hub, useful and informative, thank you for sharing.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 05, 2015:

Thank you so much Patsy for loving my picture to read my hub. You're so very kind.

Patsy Bell Hobson from zone 6a, Southeast Missouri, USA on July 05, 2015:

I just love this picture. It inspired me to go to the hub.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 17, 2015:

Dale, you're a rock star. Of course I get it. I'm not a big spinach fan either, but have grown to like it. Thanks for the visit!

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on June 17, 2015:

Spinach. I will be eternally grateful to my wife for turning me on to fresh spinach. When she first suggested it i was thinking to myself "Did I make a mistake marrying this woman?" But she proved that I had not. Now I eat spinach in sandwiches, salads, quiche, pretty much anything I can stuff it into. Calzones, soup, dip, you get the picture.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 05, 2015:

Thanks Cynthia for commenting and visiting my friend. I haven't had broccoli rabe either or broccolini, which didn't make the top 12 list. Good for you! I'll be posting my last half of the leafy greens this weekend.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on June 04, 2015:

I love my leafy greens! I haven't tried broccoli rage before. I'll have to look for that. As for the other stuff, MMMM. In fact, I was eating broccoli with my chicken this evening...I LOVE that stuff (the broccoli), haha. Voted up.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 19, 2015:

Thanks Danette for stopping by and commenting. I haven't tried some of these greens yet. Maybe this summer. I do have the top five green hub from March, if you want to check it out. I'll have the last half up by next weekend, I hope.

Danette Watt from Illinois on May 18, 2015:

I love spinach and broccoli but I haven't had mustard greens or broccoli rabe. I'll have to give them a try sometimes. Very informative. Voted up and useful!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 17, 2015:

My pleasure Frida Rosa. Give it a try. Check out my first leafy green vegetable hub, while you're at it. The last installment would be up sometime next week.

Frida Rose from Maryland on May 17, 2015:

I have added a lot of these greens to my rotation in the past year, but I never tried the mustard greens. Thanks for the helpful info!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 14, 2015:

Thanks Linda for stopping by and giving broccoli rabe a try. Let me know how it taste. I'll have part 3 up sometime next week. Go for it by eating green!

Linda Chechar from Arizona on May 14, 2015:

Kristen, it's great to know that some of my favorite veggies are so good for me! The only one I haven't tried is broccoli rabe -- now I have the perfect excuse to buy some the next time I go to the green grocer! Voted up, useful and interesting!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 11, 2015:

Thanks KMS for the share.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 10, 2015:

Mike, thanks for your kind words and comments on my hubs. Same here my friends. I'll post the final installment later this month.

Mike Welsh from Wales, United Kingdom on May 10, 2015:

It is odd how tastes change as you grow up. I always used to hate broccoli but in recent years it has became one of my favourites. I have a great recipe for Mackerel and Spinach risotto, i will have to hub it soon.

Thank you for a great hub as always, I never get bored reading your articles

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 03, 2015:

Faith, you're the best. I appreciate you sharing my hub. Good for you for adding them to your diet. I'll be doing the last installment later this month. I'm glad my table chart is handy. it's tricky to do up here.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 03, 2015:

Hi Kristen,

I love spinach the best for some reason, and always had even as a child. Maybe I watched too much Popeye LOL. I do like broccoli and knew that it is really good for you. Your chart is helpful.

I know I don't get enough green leafy vegetables in my diet, although I do love most of them.

Up useful and interesting, pinning and tweeting

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 02, 2015:

Thanks Alexa for stopping by and commenting. Go for it on your diet! You're very welcome. Part 3 is coming up later this month.

Adrienne Farricelli on May 01, 2015:

Thanks so much, this article comes handy to me at this time as I am working on a carb/sugar free diet and need all the greens I can get! Voted up and helpful!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 19, 2015:

My pleasure, Sandy. Check out my first list too while you're at it. I'll have the last round of veggies next month.

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin on April 19, 2015:

Thanks for the list of greens. I will have to try rapini. Voted up.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 17, 2015:

If you do, let me know about rapini and not rabini. There's brocolini also. I love broccoli, too. Thanks for the comment. :-)

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 17, 2015:

Broccoli is my all-time favorite veggie, eat it almost every day. I've never had rabini, but now I am curious...I will check it out!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 15, 2015:

Thanks so much CrisSp for stopping by and commenting. Green is also good for you. I have more green veggies hub for the last half next month, and the first half posted in February.

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on April 15, 2015:

Yes, I am ever ready to get more greener and healthier. I've always been a fan of green leafy veggies and I just love them!

Good green hub! Voted up and useful!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 15, 2015:

Thanks Twoseven. Good for you and your family. I don't blame you on getting bored with spinach. Check out my top leafy green veggie hub as well--the last bunch will be posted next month. Nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by.

twoseven from Madison, Wisconsin on April 15, 2015:

Great tips. We've been really focusing on eating more greens, and I had forgotten about mustard greens! Will try to incorporate them more, as we're getting a little tired of spinach :)

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 12, 2015:

Sure, go for it, Flourish, I love broccoli and never had many greens. I'm not a big spinach fan per se. Raw stuff is great for tips. Give it a try! Thanks for stopping by!

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 12, 2015:

I admit I hate many green leafy vegetables (e.g., What Southerner hates collards?). However, out of guilt I will eat what broccoli and lettuce and spinach I can. I prefer to eat the stuff raw, drenched in dressing to make it go down better. Whatever it takes, right? The one exception is spinach, for which I have a recipe or two for dips that include good doses of spinach. If you're gonna eat nachos, you might as well eat it with spinach dip, eh?

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 11, 2015:

Thanks Bill for stopping by and commenting on my hub, I love broccoli. I never had broccolini or broccoli rabe. Maybe someday. I'm with you on the greens. Good for you!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on April 11, 2015:

Hi Kristen. Plenty of spinach and broccoli here, not so much with the mustard greens however. And the broccoli rabe, I grew up eating this. Must be the Italian upbringing. Wonderful hub, we can never get enough greens.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 10, 2015:

You're very welcome Nell. I'm not a big fan of spinach. But go for it! Mustard greens are great to add to your mixed greens, too. My pleasure, Nell.

Nell Rose from England on April 10, 2015:

Hi, I love spinach, I always add it to salads! and I never thought of mustard, what a great idea and wonderful hub! thanks, nell

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 10, 2015:

Gotcha. Thanks for letting me know about that, too. I never had purple sprouted broccoli and should give it a try.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 10, 2015:

Sheila, I never heard of broccoli rabe either. There's also broccolini, too. Purple broccoli? Hmm. Good for you.

SheilaMilne from Kent, UK on April 10, 2015:

I enjoy spinach and purple sprouting broccoli and eat them quite often. Broccoli rabe is a new one on me unless it's what we call kohlrabi.

PS, edited to add that, no, it isn't the same as kohlrabi, more like purple sprouting broccoli.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 06, 2015:

Go for it, Poetryman. I would love to try it as well.

poetryman6969 on April 06, 2015:

I need to try some of that Broccoli Rabe. It sounds like it would be very good for me.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 06, 2015:

Thanks Venkatachari M. I have a previous leafy green veggie hub I posted in late February, if you want to check it out.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on April 06, 2015:

Great hub about green leafy vegetables. I like all these greeneries and that's why I wrote about green chutneys. Now, I am happy to see all these greens in your hubs. It's so fascinating and awesome food.

Voted up and awesome.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 05, 2015:

Thanks Rebecca for stopping by. Check out my go green with the top four veggie hub too with more good news.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on April 05, 2015:

I love all these leafy greens, so this is good news. Thanks for sharing your knowledge about them. It's always good to be reminded to eat them.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 05, 2015:

You're welocme Heidi. And thanks for sharing my friend. I'll have the last round around May.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 05, 2015:

Voted up, useful, interesting and sharing! Thanks for the great info!