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Eat the Top 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.

Leafy green vegetables can be a healthy and delicious addition to your diet.

Leafy green vegetables can be a healthy and delicious addition to your diet.

You Are What You Eat

Everybody has heard that expression before. If you add a leafy green vegetable or two to your meals, it can provide fiber for your body. Like water, they're both packed with nutrients for you and help with bladder control. It's also the number one way by eating regularly to improve health.

Each leafy green vegetable will be a great addition 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.

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, sulfur-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, 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.

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 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 their 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.

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 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.

The Many Health Benefits From Eating Leafy Greens

KaleCollard GreensTurnip GreensSwiss 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, 4 g of proten, 5 g of fiber and 10 g 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, 3 g of fiber and 5 g of carbs.

One cup is 20 calories, .1 g of fat, 1.2 g of protein, 3.5 g of fiber, 4.4 g of carbs.

One cup is 7 calories with 0.07 g of fat, 0.6 of fiber, 0.7g of protein, and 1.4 g 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.


Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on February 23, 2020:

Thanks Audrey for stopping by again. So glad! I need to pay you a revisit to one of your hubs.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on February 20, 2020:

I've come back to re-read this informative article and keep myself healthy. I love leafy greens and include these top four in my daily diet.

Good reminder!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on October 19, 2017:

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.

BBYCGN from Uninhabited Regions on October 19, 2017:


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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on September 30, 2017:

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.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on September 29, 2017:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on November 05, 2016:

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

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 02, 2016:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 03, 2015:

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 from Essex, UK on June 03, 2015:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 06, 2015:

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

torrilynn on May 05, 2015:

interesting read. thanks for the hub.

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

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.

Kevin W from Texas on May 03, 2015:

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

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

Brian Dooling from Connecticut on May 02, 2015:

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

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.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on May 01, 2015:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 14, 2015:

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.

C E Clark from North Texas on April 14, 2015:

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

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

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

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on March 19, 2015:

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

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on March 19, 2015:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on March 16, 2015:

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

poetryman6969 on March 16, 2015:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on March 10, 2015:

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

Sharlee on March 09, 2015:

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

Adrienne Farricelli on March 09, 2015:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on March 07, 2015:

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.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 07, 2015:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on March 04, 2015:

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

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on March 04, 2015:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on March 04, 2015:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on March 04, 2015:

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.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on March 04, 2015:

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

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 03, 2015:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on March 03, 2015:

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

Krzysztof Willman from Parlin, New Jersey on March 03, 2015:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on March 01, 2015:

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 from The Desert on March 01, 2015:

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 (author) from Northeast Ohio on February 23, 2015:

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 Woods from Houston, Texas on February 23, 2015:

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!