Eat the Top Four Leafy Green Vegetables

Updated on August 23, 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.

You Are What You Eat

Everybody has heard that expression before, especially when it comes to eating and not to cooking. If you add a leafy green vegetable or two to your meals, it can provide fiber for your body. Like with water, they're both packed with nutrients for you and helps with bladder control. It's also the number one way by eating regularly to improve health.

Each leafy green vegetable will be great additions to any meal (or a smoothie) with plenty of nutrients for you and your body. Feel free to mix the greens up or add one or two to your dishes every day. Keep this list handy the next time you create your menus and head to the grocery store.

Kale is the Number One Super Food

Give me Some Kale

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse and a favorite green vegetable to use in almost any meal. It's an excellent source of Vitamin A, C, and K, and sulphur-containing phytonutrients, a good amount of calcium, and provides folates and potassium. You can buy kale in salad kits, or cook them raw for a side dish. You can also add them to a smoothie.

Depending on the variety, kale comes in a range of colors from cream to black. Before you cook with kale and other greens, swish them in a water-filled sink, drain it, and then repeat the rinsing. It's dirt-free. Try rubbing the leaves with tahini or olive oil, and then cook them with olive oil, broth, or garlic for five minutes.

Mixed Greens Are Perfect Side Dishes

Meet the Greens: Collards and Turnips

The second and third most widely used leafy green vegetables are collard and turnip greens. With a similar in nutritional value to kale, collards have a stronger cabbage-like taste and a heartier and chewier texture. They're also popular with the raw food movement when its leaves are used as a wrapper instead of tortillas and bread. In the South, collard greens are prepared the same way as kale with ham hock or a smoked turkey leg.

Turnip greens, the most tender green vegetable, needs less cooking. Prepared with pork, they're a Southern favorite. They're loaded with Vitamins A, C, and K, calcium and iron, magnesium and potassium. If you buy it with the tops on, you have two vegetables for the price of one.The leafy green tops are popular with gardeners growing them across the USA, thanks to their hearty nutritional profile and assertive flavor. When you buy turnip greens, choose for consistent color, slender stems, and crispy leaves.

Bonus tip: You can purchase a can of mixed greens with no salt added at your grocery market for a side dish!

Swiss Chard is Packed With Nutrients

Want Some Swiss Chard With Your Meal?

Swiss chard is the fourth most-used leafy green and fibrous vegetable. With red stems, stalks and veins, it has a beet-like taste and a soft texture that's perfect for sauteing. You can buy it raw and cook it with the same directions as for the greens and kale above. The oxalates are reduced by cooking and can bind to calcium, which is a concern for people prone to kidney stones. If you want a sweet-and-sour Swiss chard, add vinegar and raisins to your greens.

Swiss chard is a good source of Vitamins A, C and K, along with antioxidants and oxalates. It contains the recommended daily amount of potassium, present with magnesium. It also produces collagen in your body.

Top Leafy Green Veggies

Which One of These top Leafy Green Vegetables you Would Like to try?

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The Many Health Benefits From Eating Leafy Greens

Collard Greens
Turnip Greens
Swiss Chard
Carotenoids and flavonoids are anti-cancer antioxidants.
Laden with fiber which minimized the severity of "LDL" in blood cholesterol, buillds up excellent resistance power to onset of colon cancer, acute bowel disorder problems and hemorrhoid problems, helps people steer clear of free radicals and other infections.
Acts as antioxidant in body, promotes healthy eyesight and prevents age-related eye disorders.
Supports healthy bones and prevents osteoporosis and excessive action from cells breaking down bones.
Rich in promoting eye health with lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.
Purifies the body as it performs as anti-oxidant, ensures better bone development.
Helps your body target and gets rid of toxins and free radicals that contribute to cancer.
Prevents and treats coronary artery disease and various other diseases, prevents inflammation and helps maintains potassium in blood sugar levels, and reduces blood cholesterol.
Binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol and reduces risk of heart disease.
Healthy cell formation and reduces severity of Alzheimer's and minimizes destructive impact on brain.
Responsible for healthy red blood cell formation and development, good for bone and teeth health that prevents bone softening, bone fractures and osteoporosis.
Maintains proper health and normal blood clotting, helps deals with cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.
One cup equals 70 calories with no fat, 4g of proten, 5g of fiber and 10g of carbs.
Increases physical stamina and energy.
Collagen production for healthy skin maintenance and health to provide healthy glow and acne prevention, stimulate and improve immune system, protects eyes from macular degeneration and useful for anemia sufferers, helps cure tiredness and depression, prevents Alzheimer's and cancers, and controls Diabetes.
One cup is 25 calories, no fat, 2 g of protein, 3g of fiber and 5g of carbs.
One cup is 20 calories, .1g of fat, 1.2g of protein, 3.5g of fiber, 4.4g of carbs.
One cup is 7 calories with 0.07g of fat, 0.6 of fiber, 0.7g of protein, and 1.4g of carbs.

Give it a go!

Take a look at my healthy green benefit table for the top four leafy green fibrous vegetables on the bottom. You might find a leafy green vegetable you'll like and give it a try. Add it to your salads or side dishes today and get those vitamins and other health benefits from head to toe! Next time, we'll do the next round of the middle leafy green vegetables, including various lettuces and cabbages!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers


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      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        18 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        Hi Tamara, you're very welcome. Good for you. I don't have a juicer, but I do drink fruit juice. Yes, frozen and fresh is better than canned veggies. Nice to meet you.

      • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image

        Tamara Yancosky Moore - Jankowska 

        18 months ago from Uninhabited Regions


        This is such an interesting article for me because I try really hard to eat healthy! Last year, I planted Kale and it was yummy in salads. I like turnips, but have never tried the green parts of them. I wonder if they are bitter, or pleasant...

        I also have a juicer, and used to juice lots of vegetables. I want to start getting back to all this healthy eating!

        During wintertime, it’s not as easy to find the various produce as it is during summertime. But, I have heard that Frozen is just as healthy. (Of course, I cook it, and don’t eat it in its frozen state)! Lol...

        Thank you for sharing,

        Tamara xxx

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        19 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        Hi Peg. You're very welcome. Maybe it's time to try something new and use it in recipes. Go for it and thanks for stopping by.

      • PegCole17 profile image

        Peg Cole 

        19 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

        Thanks for this important nutritional and healthy information here. We grew up eating collard greens and turnip greens but I was never a big fan. Looks like I need to add a couple of these back into my diet.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Hey Mary, thanks for the visit. That's a good idea to add them to soups.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        I keep discovering new greens here in Cambodia that I have not eaten before. It's quite an adventure. We often put a lot in soups.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Alun, you're very welcome. Add some green veggies if you can. Give it a try. Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for the last installment real soon.

      • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

        Greensleeves Hubs 

        3 years ago from Essex, UK

        Thanks Kristen. I must admit I'm not a healthy eater, but do recognise the value of these leafy greens, and hence the value of this page. There's no getting away from it - I shall have to try to incorporate them more often into meals in future! Alun

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Torrilyn for reading and commenting. You're welcome.

      • torrilynn profile image


        3 years ago

        interesting read. thanks for the hub.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        you're very welcome Alphadogg. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Check out part 2 of the leafy greens, while part 3 is coming soon this month. I never had Swiss chard either.

      • Alphadogg16 profile image

        Kevin W 

        3 years ago from Texas

        Very interesting and informative article on these 4 greens Kristen Howe. I eat all of them on a regular basis with the exception of the Swiss Chard. I have never actually tried them, but think I will give them a shot to try something different. Thumbs up on your hub.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks for stopping by BWD316. Good for you for growing them in your own garden. Enjoy!

      • BWD316 profile image

        Brian Dooling 

        3 years ago from Connecticut

        Great suggestions! I actually growing kale, Swiss chard and turnip in my spring garden right now! Can't wait to harvest and enjoy some healthy leafy greens!

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Audrey, thanks for sharing and visiting my hub. Really? Hmm. That's okay. I don't like cauliflower, even if it's not green. Part 3 is coming this month.

      • vocalcoach profile image

        Audrey Hunt 

        3 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

        The only vegetable I dis-like is kale. Being a vegetarian I've really tried ways to disguise kale like adding it to my smoothies. If I could find a good recipe I'd most likely eat it more often. Love your hubs and sharing this one.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        That's a great idea, C.E. Thanks so much for stopping by and eating salads, too. I've been eating salads for about a year now.

      • Au fait profile image

        C E Clark 

        4 years ago from North Texas

        I learned many years ago in a class that isn't even taught anymore called home economics that people should eat at least 1 green, yellow, or leafy vegetable every day. Not to say one should limit oneself to that alone, but at least one of those vegetables should be included in one's menu every day. It prevents scurvy which used to be a major problem.

        Very good advice here. I love vegetables and salads and would eat them all the time if available. My favorite things.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Part 3 will be in a few weeks.

      • Venkatachari M profile image

        Venkatachari M 

        4 years ago from Hyderabad, India

        Awesome greens. All these are very good for health. You have described them in very details with nutrient facts. I have simply instructed how to prepare the dishes in my hub titled Spicy chutneys using fibre rich green vegetables.

        Voted up and awesome.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Hey Victoria! Go for it. I'm not a big spinach fan though. I'll be posting part two next week.

      • Victoria Lynn profile image

        Victoria Lynn 

        4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

        I love greens! I should grow more of them. Maybe when I get more settled. Sometimes I crave them! I've been known to eat spinach right out of a can!

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Give it a try, Poetryman and thanks for stopping by. Part two will be posted next week.

      • poetryman6969 profile image


        4 years ago

        I used to know someone who eschewed green food. He would run screaming from this!

        I have never had swiss chard but I am willing to try it.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Sharlee. I'm happy to share. Part two is coming up later this week.

      • Sharlee01 profile image


        4 years ago

        Just love this hub... So much great healthful information

      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        4 years ago from USA

        So many great benefits in those greens. When I was a child, my grandma would pick up so many greens that used to grow wild in our area. She knew them by name. I still remember her boiling them in the cold winter in our country home and all the windows were covered in vapor. She always said that bitter tasting greens were the best for our health.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Patricia for stopping by. I'm the same way too with my veggies. I'll be doing part two next week. Kale, and mixed greens aren't too bad. You have to get used to the flavor.

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        4 years ago from sunny Florida

        As a child we had these served often and honestly they were not high on my hit parade. No veggies were really...I was a terribly picky eater.

        But now, I love these veggies. YUM...

        Angels are on the way to you this afternoon ps

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Bill. I never had Swiss chard before or escarole and arugula. Good for you! Part two is coming next week.

      • bdegiulio profile image

        Bill De Giulio 

        4 years ago from Massachusetts

        Hi Kristen. We love Kale and Swiss Chard. Two more of my favorites are escarole and arugula. Great job, it's good to know we are trying to eat healthy.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Wow, some of those greens I don't know about. But bok choy is a super food. It'll be mention on my spring superfood hub real soon. Mustard greens will be in part two next week. Thanks for stopping by Aesta1.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Mustard greens is another healthy green. That would be featured in part two's healthy green hub with lettuce and and spinach. Thanks for stopping by Peach.

      • peachpurple profile image


        4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

        how about mustard greens, here it is very popular because it is cheap and easy to cook

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        We have lots of bok choy, mustard greens, morning glory and other greens I don't know the names of where we are now which is Phnom Penh, Cambodia so we find it easy to include them in our meals. My only concern are the pesticides used in planting these.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Chris for stopping by. It doesn't hurt to try new foods. I'll post part two next week.

      • Chriswillman90 profile image

        Krzysztof Willman 

        4 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

        There's some great information here that I could use. I'm not a fan of greens and leafy vegetables, but I'm willing to try some of these. Great hub.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        You're welcome Emese. I'll be doing another one next week on #5-8. Try salads or a side dish. That's what I did. Nice to meet you.

      • Emese Fromm profile image

        Emese Fromm 

        4 years ago from The Desert

        This is a great informative article on greens. I have to admit, I eat generally healthy, but somehow most of these greens don't make it to my table every day, except kale. I will have to incorporate them more often. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

      • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

        Kristen Howe 

        4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Peggy for stopping by. I never had Swiss chard before. I'll give it a go. I'll do the next group in a week or two.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        4 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Of the four greens you highlighted, Swiss chard is my favorite. I have also grown it in our garden. Should think of doing it again!


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