Get More Green by Eating These Four Leafy Green Vegetables

Updated on September 11, 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.

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 them 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?

Spinach Packs a Punch

Popeye Loves Spinach

A stalk of spinach is packed with folate, Vitamin A, and 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 you can eat it raw in salads. It can be found in a 50/50 mix with kale in salad bags, or add for flavor in frozen food meals, too. When the heat reduces the green's oxalates content, it becomes more nutritional as cooked spinach. It binds to calcium and frees up its dietary calcium. This vegetable is mild-flavored and can be added to soups, plenty of pasta dishes and casseroles. For more convenience, buy bags of chopped frozen spinach than the block kinds.

These cartenoids helps prevent prostate cancer and destroys those cells after it changes in the intestines, when the magnesium manages the blood pressure at healthy levels. A strong antioxidant called kaempferol prevents cancer cell formation. It can reduce ovarian cancer for women who have a high intake of spinach. If you eat the variety of leafy green spinach, your brain function loss would decrease.

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 would taste like pepper and smell like mustard during cooking. To tone down their spiciness, add an acid like lemon juice or vinegar.

With a high amount of fiber and folate, those mustard greens contain antioxidants to help remove free radicals from the body. They boost detoxification and can reduce developing cancers. It contains a small amount of glucoraphanin, while the folate plays an important part to keep the heart healthy and reduce unwanted inflammation. If you're a smoker, mustard greens are very good for you, since they reduce your chances of getting emphysema, prevent lung inflammation, and are a great source of Vitamin A, important for those people who smoke regularly. High in vitamin A and magnesium, they help your lungs to stay relaxed and avoid constriction, a good cure for asthma.

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 6 pounds a year? For stir fries, the stalks and forests add both crunch and color. Your kids might call this "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 can reduce 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 it 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 can curb overeating, prevent constipation, maintain your low blood sugar, and promotion digestion when used as a diet aid since it's high in fiber.

Give Rapini a try

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 will reduce the insulin response to prevent hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

Rapini has both antioxidant-rich of Vitamins A and C, which fight dangerous free radicals that cause cell damage in your body. It also has folate, which is a B vitamin that protects birth defects and heart disease. It also has calcium, fiber, and potassium. An amino acid called homocysteine can damage the arteries that cause coronary heart disease. Those two nutrients can reduce it. If you had a daily dose of one half-cup serving, it would contain 169 micrograms of Vitamin K1, which would contain those strong anti-inflammatory nutrients of folate and Vitamin C to prevent your bones from thinning.

Which one of these vegetables would you like to try?

See results

Middle 4 Leafy Green vegetable Table

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

Make it Your Own

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

Questions & Answers


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      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

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

      • Vellur profile image

        Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

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

      • Patsybell profile image

        Patsy Bell Hobson 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

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

      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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!

      • GetitScene profile image

        Dale Anderson 2 years ago from The High Seas

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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.

      • cclitgirl profile image

        Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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 profile image

        Danette Watt 3 years ago from Illinois

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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 profile image

        Frida Rose 3 years ago from Maryland

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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!

      • lindacee profile image

        lindacee 3 years ago from Arizona

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks KMS for the share.

      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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 profile image

        Mike 3 years ago from Wales, United Kingdom

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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 profile image

        Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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.

      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

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

      • ReviewsfromSandy profile image

        Sandy Mertens 3 years ago from Wisconsin

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

      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

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

      • Sunshine625 profile image

        Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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 profile image

        CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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 profile image

        twoseven 3 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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 profile image

        FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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!

      • bdegiulio profile image

        Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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 profile image

        Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

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

      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

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

      • SheilaMilne profile image

        SheilaMilne 3 years ago from Kent, UK

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

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

      • poetryman6969 profile image

        poetryman6969 3 years ago

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

      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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 profile image

        Venkatachari M 3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

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

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

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

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

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


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