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7 Best Leafy Green Vegetables for Healthy Living

As part of a healthy diet, veggies, in general, are very good for you. They help your immune system and lower your risk of getting long-term diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables are a broad group of vegetables that are known for being very healthy and bright green. As a matter of fact, registered dietitian nutritionist Jenn Schmidt said that leafy greens have more vitamins (A, E, K, folate), minerals (calcium, potassium), fiber, and phytonutrients than any other food.

As part of a healthy diet, veggies, in general, are very good for you. They help your immune system and lower your risk of getting long-term diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines say that people should eat two to three cups of vegetables every day. Leafy greens are a great way to meet this suggestion. Leafy greens come in a lot of different types, so adding them to your diet is easy and fun.

Here are seven types of fresh greens, how healthy they are, and some ideas for how to add them to your daily meals.

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Here are the Best Leafy Green Vegetables

Swiss Chard

Cheryl Mussatto, a professional dietitian at the Cotton O’Neil Diabetes and Endocrinology Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, said that Swiss chard and beets are related.

Vitamin K is an important nutrient that helps blood clot and keeps bones healthy. Swiss chard has a lot of it. There are 299 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K in one cup of raw Swiss chard, which is 249% of the daily amount for this vitamin. The daily value for vitamins A and C in Swiss chard is 12%. Both of these vitamins are important for overall health.

From spring to fall is the best time to eat Swiss chard. To cook Swiss chard, boil, sauté, braise, or add it to soups, casseroles, or stir-fries. You can also eat it cold in salads and sandwiches.

Turnip Greens

As Mussatto pointed out, turnip greens are very famous in soul food. They also contain calcium, which is good for your bones and teeth. There are a lot of nutrients in turnip greens. They have a lot of vitamin K and folate, which are B vitamins that are important for making DNA and avoiding congenital disabilities in the neural tube.

FoodData Central is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Raw turnip greens. There are 107 mcg of folate and 138 mcg of vitamin K in one cup of raw turnip greens. This is 115% of the daily value (DV).

From October to early spring is the best time to eat turnip greens. Mussatto said that there are many ways to cook turnip greens. He also said that a fancy way to eat them is to slow-cook them in soup with a little extra virgin olive oil, honey, and apple cider vinegar.


A cup of green kale has 19 mg of vitamin C, which is 21% of the DV, and 80 mcg of vitamin K, which is 66% of the DV.39 Kale also has 8% of your daily value of manganese, an element that helps your body do many things, like making energy, keeping your bones healthy, and reproducing.

Kale is best from October to early spring, just like turnip greens. Some people don’t like how bitter kale is, even though it’s a popular leafy green for salads. To lessen this sharpness, Mussatto suggested adding chopped apples or dried fruit to your kale salad to make it sweet.

Collard Greens

People in the South love collard greens because they taste rich and are full of nutrients. Collard greens are often cooked to make them less bitter and smoother. One cup of cooked collard greens has a lot of nutrients, like 324 mg of calcium (25% of the DV), 34 mg of vitamin C (38% of the DV), and 135 mcg of folate (34% of the DV). The best time to eat collard greens is from October to early spring.

Collard greens, like other dark leafy greens like kale and Swiss chard, contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are dietary pigments that help keep your eyes healthy and can slow down eye diseases like macular degeneration.

There are 4,400 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin in one cooked cup of collard greens. Researchers say that you should get 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin every day, even though there isn’t a set daily value for these nutrients. One mg is equal to 1,000 mcg.

Mustard Greens

A certified dietitian and author at Consumer Health Digest named Carmelita Lombera said that mustard greens go well with hearty foods like cheese, curry, and meats because they taste peppery like mustard. Greens like kale, cabbage, and turnips are at their best from October to early spring.

Mustard greens are full of vitamins A and C, just like many other leafy greens. Other than that, they have small amounts of nutrients like potassium and magnesium. Magnesium, which is sometimes called the “relaxation mineral,” helps keep blood sugar, blood pressure, and muscle and nerve processes in check. Potassium is important for the health of your kidneys, heart, muscles, and nerves, among other things.


Stephanie McKercher, a qualified dietitian and plant-based recipe developer, said that spinach is a popular leafy green vegetable that can be eaten raw in toast, smoothies, salads, and wraps. Spinach is a leafy green that can be used for many things. You can add a bunch to cooked foods like pasta, soup, and eggs.

Spinach is usually available all year and is a good source of iron, which is an important chemical for making hemoglobin, the protein that brings oxygen to muscles. One cup of raw spinach has 0.813 mg of iron, which is 5% of the daily value. One cup of cooked spinach has 6 mg of iron, which is 36% of the daily value.

Radish Greens

Radish greens are the leafy greens that come from the radish root veggie that you can eat. From March to June is their best time. Lombera said the leaves are fresh and soft, and they can be cooked like spinach. Radish greens, basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts can be mixed to make a spicy pesto.


Leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses that can be used in a lot of different ways in the kitchen and are great for your health. Each type of vegetable has its own taste and nutritional value, from the peppery bite of mustard greens to the hearty crunch of cabbage.

If you’ve never eaten fresh greens before, start with spinach or bok choy, which are mild. Should you want to tone down the bitterness of stronger leafy greens, you could cook them or mix them with salads that have softer greens, fruits, and nuts.

It’s easy to eat these green wonders every day; add them to cold foods like sandwiches and wraps or hot foods like soups and pasta. Enjoy the bright colors and varied textures of these health-boosting gems, and feel the positive effects of adding fresh greens to your meals.

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