Leafy green vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber but low in calories. Green leafy vegetables benefits includes improving digestive health, maintaining week eyesight, balancing cholesterol levels, enhanching youthful skin, treating anemia, strengthening the scalp, fighting free redicals, supporting cardiovascular health, promating weight loss, boosting energy level and increasing lifespan.
Eating a diet rich in leafy greens can offer numerous health benefits including reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and mental decline.
Kale is considered one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet due to its many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
For example, one cup (67 grams) of raw kale packs 684% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 206% of the DV for vitamin A and 134% of the DV for vitamin C.
Kale is a popular vegetable and a member of the cabbage family. It is a cruciferous vegetable like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussels sprouts. There are many different types of kale. The leaves can be green or purple, and have either a smooth or curly shape.
SUMMARY: Kale is rich in minerals, antioxidants and vitamins, particularly vitamins A, C and K. To reap the most benefits, its best eaten raw, as cooking reduces the nutritional profile of the vegetables.
Microgreens are immature greens produced from the seeds of vegetables and herbs. They typically measure 1–3 inches (2.5–7.5 cm). They have an aromatic flavor and concentrated nutrient content and come in a variety of colors and textures (1).Microgreens are considered baby plants, falling somewhere between a sprout and baby green.
Since the 1980s, they have often been used as a garnish or decoration, but they have many more uses.
Despite their small size, they’re full of color, flavor and nutrients. In fact, one study found that microgreens contain up to 40 times more nutrients compared to their mature counterparts. Some of these nutrients include vitamins C, E and K. Microgreens can be grown in the comfort of your own home all year round, making them easily available.
SUMMARY: Microgreens are immature greens, which have been popular since the 1980s. They’re flavorful and packed with nutrients like vitamins C, E and K. What’s more, they can be grown all year.
Collard greens are loose leaf greens, related to kale and spring greens. They have thick leaves that taste slightly bitter.
They’re similar in texture to kale and cabbage. In fact, their name comes from the word “colewort.”
Collard greens are a good source of calcium and the vitamins A, B9 (folate) and C. They’re also one of the best sources of vitamin K when it comes to leafy greens. In fact, one cup (190 grams) of cooked collard greens packs 1,045% of the DV for vitamin K.
Vitamin K is known for its role in blood clotting. In addition, more research is being done regarding its ability to improve bone health.
One study in 72,327 women aged 38–63 found that those with vitamin K intakes below 109 mcg per day had a significantly increased risk of hip fractures, suggesting a link between this vitamin and bone health.
SUMMARY: Collard greens have thick leaves and are bitter in taste. They’re one of the best sources of vitamin K, may reduce blood clots and promote healthy bones.
Spinach is a popular leafy green vegetable and is easily incorporated into a variety of dishes, including soups, sauces, smoothies and salads.
Its nutrient profile is impressive with one cup (30 grams) of raw spinach providing 181% of the DV for vitamin K, 56% of the DV for vitamin A and 13% of the DV for manganese.
It’s also packed with folate, which plays a key role in red blood cell production and the prevention of neural tube defects in pregnancy.
One study on the neural tube defect spine bifida found that one of the most preventable risk factors for this condition was a low intake of folate during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Along with taking a prenatal vitamin, eating spinach is a great way to increase your folate intake during pregnancy.
SUMMARY: Spinach is a popular leafy green vegetable that can be used in a variety of ways. It’s a great source of folate, which may prevent neural tube defects, such as spine bifida, during pregnancy.
Cabbage is formed of clusters of thick leaves that come in green, white and purple colors.
It belongs to the Brassica family, along with Brussels sprouts, kale and broccoli.
Vegetables in this plant family contain glucosinolates, which give them a bitter flavor.
Animal studies have found that foods that contain these plant compounds may have cancer-protective properties, especially against lung and esophageal cancer.
Another benefit of cabbage is that it can be fermented and turned into sauerkraut, which provides numerous health benefits, such as improving your digestion and supporting your immune system. It may even aid weight loss.
SUMMARY; Cabbage has thick leaves and comes in various colors. It has cancer-protective properties and can be turned into sauerkraut, which offers additional health benefits.
Since the Middle Ages, beets have been claimed to be beneficial for health.
Indeed, they have an impressive nutrient profile, but while beets are commonly used in dishes, the leaves are often ignored.
This is unfortunate, considering that they’re edible and rich in potassium, calcium, riboflavin, fiber and vitamins A and K. Just one cup (144 grams) of cooked beet greens contains 220% of the DV for vitamin A, 37% of the DV for potassium and 17% of the DV for fiber.
They also contain the antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein, which may reduce the risk of eye disorders, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Beet greens can be added to salads, soups or sauteed and eaten as a side dish.
SUMMARY: Beet greens are edible green leaves found on the tip of beets. They’re full of nutrients, including antioxidants that may support eye health.
Romaine lettuce is a common leafy vegetable with sturdy, dark leaves with a firm center rib.
It has a crunchy texture and is a popular lettuce, particularly in Caesar salads.
It’s a good source of vitamins A and K, with one cup (47 grams) providing 82% and 60% of the DVs for these vitamins respectively.
What’s more, research in rats showed that lettuce improved their levels of blood lipids, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease. Further studies need to investigate these benefits in people.
Romaine lettuce is a popular lettuce found in many salads. It’s rich in vitamins A and K, and a study in rats suggests it may improve blood lipid levels.
Turnip greens are the leaves of the turnip plant, which is a root vegetable similar to beetroot.
These greens pack more nutrients than the turnip itself, including calcium, manganese, folate and the vitamins A, C and K
They have a strong and spicy flavor and are often enjoyed cooked rather than raw.
Turnip greens are considered a cruciferous vegetable, which have been shown to decrease your risk of health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and inflammation.
Turnip greens also contain several antioxidants including gluconasturtiin, glucotropaeolin, quercetin, myricetin and beta-carotene — which all play a role in reducing stress in your body.
Turnip greens can be used as a replacement for kale or spinach in most recipes.
SUMMARY: Turnip greens are the leaves of the turnip plant and are considered a cruciferous vegetable. Studies have found that they may decrease stress in your body and reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and inflammation.
Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage.
It has thick, dark-green leaves that make a great addition to soups and stir-fries.
Bok choy contains the mineral selenium, which plays an important role in cognitive function, immunity and cancer prevention.
In addition, selenium is important for proper thyroid gland function. This gland is located in your neck and releases hormones that play a key role in metabolism.
An observational study associated low levels of selenium with thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism, autoimmune thyroiditis and enlarged thyroid.
SUMMARY: Bok choy is popular in China and often used in soups and stir-fries. It contains the mineral selenium, which benefits your brain health, immunity, cancer protection and thyroid health.
Endive (pronounced “N-dive”) belongs to the Cichorium family. It’s less well known than other leafy greens, possibly because it’s difficult to grow.
It’s curly, crisp in texture and has a nutty and mildly bitter flavor. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
Just one-half cup (25 grams) of raw endive leaves packs 72% of the DV for vitamin K, 11% of the DV for vitamin A and 9% of the DV for folate.
It’s also a source of kaempferol, an antioxidant that has been shown to reduce inflammation and inhibit the growth of cancer cells in test-tube studies.
SUMMARY: Endive is a lesser-known leafy green vegetable that is curly and crisp in texture. It contains several nutrients, including the antioxidant kaempferol, which may reduce cancer cell growth.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Leafy green vegetables are packed with important and powerful nutrients that are critical for good health.
Fortunately, many leafy greens can be found year round, and they can easily be incorporated into your meals — in surprising and diverse ways.
To reap the many impressive health benefits of leafy greens, make sure to include a variety of these vegetables in your diet.