Everyone knows that you need to eat your vegetables, especially the dark green leafy ones. Green leafy vegetables are very nutrient-dense and incredibly healthy. They are a vital source of antioxidants that are very beneficial to providing weight loss help. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that adults consume at least three cups of dark green vegetables each week.
People have often known how nutritious leafy greens are, but still choose to exclude them from their diet. However, if everyone truly understood the powerful capabilities of vegetables, nobody would go without them.
Greens are the Number One food you can eat regularly to help improve your health and boost weight loss. This is because leafy vegetables are full of fiber along with vitamins, minerals, and plant-based substances that help protect you from heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Many of the vegetables listed below even help stall the aging process.
Even so, Americans are not eating as many vegetables each day as dietary experts recommend. Here are some of the TOP Green Leafy Vegetables you should try hard to get into as many of your meals as you can stand. If you put just a little thought into it, you can sneek these items in many dishes without ever being able to taste or notice them.
Top Leafy Greens
Known as one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. This nutrition powerhouse offers everything you want in a leafy green, and takes a first-place ranking. It’s an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, has a good amount of calcium for a vegetable, and also supplies folate and potassium. Kale’s ruffle-edged leaves may range in color from cream to purple to black depending on the variety.
Nutritional Info: (One cup) 70 calories, 0g fat, 4g protein, 10g carbs, 5 g fiber,
Benefits: Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K and sulphur-containing phytonutrients. Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits.
Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds. Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.
Are similar in nutrition to kale & cabbage and have become indispensable of healthcare industry. But they have a heartier and chewier texture and a stronger cabbage-like taste. They are an under-appreciated vegetable and most people don’t know about them. They’re also popular with the raw food movement because the wide leaves are used as a wrapper instead of tortillas or bread.
Nutritional Info: (One Cup) 25 calories, 0g fat, 2g protein, 5g carbs, 3g fiber
Benefits: Collard green leaves are laden with fiber which minimizes the severity of LDL “Bad” cholesterol in blood. Collard Greens can be eaten regularly to build up excellent resistance power in the body to control the onset of colon cancer, acute bowel disorder problems and hemorrhoid disorder. Colon cancer is destructive and it disrupts the digestive track and other organs in the abdominal section. It helps people steer clear of free radicals and different type of infections.
Collard leaves perform as an anti-oxidant to purify the body, and this detoxification is done well if an individual eats collard greens on regular basis. These vegetables contain vitamin K and other minerals, ensuring better bone development, formation of healthy cells and to some extent it reduces the severity of Alzheimer which damages the neural system. It also minimizes the destructive impact on human brain. At the same time, it increases the physical stamina and energy greatly.
If you buy turnips with the tops on, you get two vegetables in one. Turnip leaves are another Southern favorite are considered a delicacy. More tender than other greens and needing less cooking, this sharp-flavored leaf is low in calories yet loaded with vitamins A,C, and K as well as calcium. Turnip greens leafy, green tops, have grown in popularity across the rest of the United States thanks to their assertive flavor and hearty nutritional profile. When you’re buying turnip greens, choose ones with consistent color, crisp leaves and slender stems.
Nutritional Info: (One Cup) 20 calories, .1g fat 1.2g of protein, 4.4g of carbohydrates and 3.5g fiber
Benefits: One of the most notable nutrients present in a serving of turnip greens is vitamin A, which acts as an antioxidant in your body and promotes healthy eyesight,and preventing certain age-related eye disorders. Eating vitamin A-rich foods help your body target and get rid of toxins and free radicals that can contribute to cancer. Another important nutrient present is iron because it is responsible for the formation and development of healthy red blood cells, which ensure that enough oxygen is circulated throughout your body. An iron deficiency can also lead to anemia, (low red blood cell count) and can cause fatigue, pale skin and breathlessness.
Turnip greens provide calcium which is good for your bones and teeth, and a diet high in calcium may prevent softening of the bones, bone fractures and osteoporosis. A 1-cup serving of turnip greens provides 32 mg of magnesium that helps your body absorb and use calcium. The same serving of turnip greens also contains 5 g of fiber and 1.6 g of protein. Turnip greens also supply potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K. An adult needs 1000 mg of calcium each day, and a 1-cup serving of cooked turnip greens will add 197 mg.
With red stems, stalks, and veins on its leaves, has a beet-like taste and soft texture that’s perfect for sauteeing. Both Swiss chard and spinach contain oxalates, which are slightly reduced by cooking and can bind to calcium, a concern for people prone to kidney stones. Chard is a good source of vitamins A and C.
Nutritional Info: (One Cup) 7 calories, 0.7 protein, 0.07 fat, 0.6 fiber and 1.4 g carbs.
Benefits: One cup of cooked leaves of Swiss Chard has enough calcium to support healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis. When added with vitamin K1, it plays a great role in preventing excessive action by the cells that break down bone. Swiss chard is full of antioxidants along with vitamin K; vitamin C and vitamin A. It is loaded with antioxidants and helps to prevent and treat coronary artery disease and various other diseases. It helps to prevent inflammation, contains the daily recommended content of potassium, which helps to maintain the level of blood sugar, along with containing high amount of fiber content that helps to reduce blood cholesterol.
Swiss chard maintains proper heart health with it’s stores of vitamin K and helps to maintain clotting of normal blood. Presence of magnesium content helps to deal with various cardiovascular diseases, and as a helps to deal with hypertension. Swiss chard is good for skin maintenance and skin health, by boosting skin glow. Presence of vitamin A along with vitamin C plays a great role in the production of collagen, providing skin health and prevention of acne.
Vitamin A and vitamin C are essential to stimulate and improve the immune system. The vitamin A in Swiss chard also helps to protect your eyes against macular degeneration and is useful for people suffering for anaemia, because of it’s iron content. The leafy vegetable also houses B complex vitamins, which helps to cure tiredness and depression, while it prevents Alzheimer’s, various types of cancer, controls diabetes.
Is one of the most nutritious foods available, as it is low in calories and high in vitamins, spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. It’s packed with vitamins A and C, as well as folate. And because heat reduces the green’s oxalate content, freeing up its dietary calcium, meaning cooked spinach gives you more nutrition than raw, but is excellent eaten raw in salads. Bags of frozen chopped spinach are more convenient to use than block kinds, and this mild-flavored vegetable can be added to soups, pasta dishes, and casseroles.
Nutritional Info: (One Cup) 7 calories, 0.12g Fat, 0.86g Protein, 1.09g Carbs., 4.3 Fiber
Benefits: Containing more than a dozen individual flavonoid compounds, which work together as cancer-fighting antioxidants. These elements neutralize free radicals in the body. It is an excellent promoter of cardiovascular health because the antioxidant properties (water-soluble in the form of vitamin C and fat-soluble beta-carotene) work together to prevent the harmful oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is a danger to the heart and arteries. Magnesium in spinach works toward healthy blood pressure levels as well.
Spinach also contains a carotenoid that makes prostate cancers destroy themselves. This same carotenoid, after being changed by the intestines, prevents prostrate cancer from reproducing itself. Spinach also contains kaempferol, a strong antioxidant that prevents the formation of cancerous cells. Women who have a high intake of this flavonoid show a reduced risk of ovarian cancer.
Spinach protects your brain function from premature aging and slows old age related effects on your metal capabilities. This is accomplished by preventing the harmful effects of oxidation on your brain. Those who eat a vegetables in quantity, especially those of the leafy green variety, experience a decrease in brain function loss.
Similar nutrition profile to turnip greens and collards, mustard greens have scalloped edges and come in red and green varieties. They have a peppery taste and give off a mustardy smell during cooking. Their spiciness can be toned down by adding an acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice, toward the end of cooking.
Nutritional Info: (One Cup) 15 Calories, 0.1 g Fat , 1.5g Protein, 2.7 g Carbs., 1.8g Fiber
Benefits: Mustard greens are very helpful in reducing the risk of certain types of cancers such as bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, and ovarian cancer. The high amount of fiber, folate and antioxidants help to remove free radicals from the body. Mustard greens and cruciferous vegetables boost the detoxification activities, flush out the toxins from the body and reduce the chances of developing cancers. They promote heart health by lowering cholesterol. Folate in mustard greens also plays an important part in keeping the heart healthy. They even contain a small amount of glucoraphanin which provides important anti-inflammatory benefits and reduce the unwanted inflammation.
Mustard greens are very good for the smokers. They help to prevent the lung inflammation and reduce the chances of emphysema. Carcinogen in cigarette smoke is responsible for Vitamin A deficiency. Mustard greens are great source of Vitamin A and that’s why they are so important for the people who smoke regularly. High in Vitamin C and magnesium, these are good to cure asthma as they help lungs to stay relaxed and avoid any constriction. Magnesium also helps to regulate and control blood pressure levels. They are also good in the prevention of certain menopausal symptoms.
Is a veritable goldmine of nutrition. It is rich in vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin A, potassium, and folate. It’s stalks and florets add both crunch and color to stir-fries.
Nutritional Info: (One Cup) 30 Calories, 0g Fat, 2g Protein, 6g Carbs., 2g Fiber
Benefits: Broccoli contains a high amount of potassium, which helps maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function, as well as promotes regular muscle growth. Along with a high amount of potassium, Broccoli also contains magnesium and calcium that help regulate blood pressure. One cup of broccoli contains the RDA of vitamin C, an antioxidant necessary for fighting against free radicals. Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.
Broccoli is helpful in repairing skin damage and helps the skin to detoxify and repair itself. It’s vitamin C is an effective antihistamine for easing the discomfort of the common cold. Also, one cup of broccoli bolsters the immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene. Trace minerals, such as zinc and selenium, further act to strengthen immune defense actions.
The B6 and folate in broccoli reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke. Broccoli contains a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen that will not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, but it boosts liver function. It contains lutein which can slow down, or prevent the thickening of arteries in the human body, helping fight against heart disease and stoke. Lutein also helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Additionally, broccoli is a good source of vitamin A that is needed to form retinal, the light-absorbing molecule that is essential for both low-light and color vision. As a Diet Aid Broccoli is high in fiber, which promotes digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating.
Rapini (Broccoli Rabe):
Although rapini looks a lot like broccoli it’s actually a member of the turnip family. Until recently, rapini was an uncommon sight in most US produce sections, but is now becoming increasingly popular. Rapini is a big part of many Chinese and Italian dishes and thus can be an easy addition to many stir fry and pasta dishes. Try stir frying rapini with garlic and red peppers and eating it on its own, or add it to an omelet. You can also adding it as an ingredient to pasta or lasagna.
Nutrition Info: (One Cup) 9 Calories, 0g fat, 1g protein, 1g carbs, 1g fiber
Benefits: This is a cancer-preventing powerhouse full of phytochemicals. Like all Brassicas, it’s a rich source of glucosinolates, which your body converts to cancer-fighting sulforophanes and indoles. Studies show that these compounds are particularly effective against stomach, lung, and colon cancers, and promising research hints at protective effects against breast and prostate cancers as well.
A 3 1/2-ounce serving of broccoli rabe provides more than half your daily requirement of antioxidant-rich vitamins A and C, both of which fight off dangerous free radicals that can cause damage to your body’s cells. It is also a good source of folate (a B vitamin that protects against birth defects and heart disease), not to mention potassium, fiber, and calcium. Rapini’s bone-strengthening properties are the outcome of its vitamin K content. One half cup serving contains 169 micrograms of vitamin K1, a daily dose enough to keep your bones from thinning.
Rapini contains strong anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as folate and vitamin C. Both nutrients reduce homocysteine, a type of amino acid that can damage the arteries causing coronary heart disease.
Rapini contains sulfur which is a specific compound that assists with detoxifying of the liver. Dr. Usha reported the effectiveness of MSM to reduce inflammation in arthritis patients. Rapini contains two grams of fiber for every cup, that lowers blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Combining rapini with a high carbohydrate meal (such as a pasta dish) and will reduce the insulin response, which in turn will prevent both hyper and hypoglycemia.
It maintains a healthy hormonal balance for both men and women and will reduce yeast infections in the body, because it kills Candida albicans, the yeast strain that often overgrows when we take anti-biotics.
Red and Green Leaf and Romaine Lettuce:
A familiar sight in salad bowls, these lettuces are high in vitamin A and offer some folate. Leaf lettuces have a softer texture than romaine, a crunchy variety used in Caesar salads. Fans of Iceberg lettuce may go for romaine, a crispy green that’s better for you. The darker the lettuce leaf, the more nutrition it has, making red leaf slightly healthier than green.
Nutrition Info: (One Cup) 4 calories, 0.06 g fat, 0.37 g protein, 0.63 g of carbohydrates and 0.3 g fiber.
Benefits: While looking at these numbers, you might think that red leaf lettuce is filled with empty calories, but despite the low calorie count, this lettuce is actually packed with vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Red Leaf Romain contains minerals essential for your body to make bones, produce hormones and regulate your heartbeat. Deficiencies in minerals can cause health complications like osteoporosis from lack of calcium. That one-cup serving of red leaf lettuce contains 9 milligrams of calcium, it also contains iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.
Vitamins are essential for your health, and each vitamin is necessary for a particular function. For instance, vitamin D is essential for bone growth and the regulation of calcium. A one-cup serving of red leaf lettuce contains vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, folate, choline, beta-carotene, vitamin A, lutein and vitamin K.
Amino acids are essential building blocks of life and play a role in digestion, growth and repair of body tissues. Amino acids are broken down into three categories known as essential, nonessential and conditional. Essential amino acids must be consumed. Nonessential amino acids are made by your body, but can also be acquired through your diet. Conditional amino acids must be acquired through your diet, but are only necessary in times of stress or illness. A one-cup serving of red leaf lettuce contains small amounts of all but 2 amino acids.
Although paler in color than other leafy greens, this cruciferous vegetable is a great source of cancer-fighting compounds and vitamin C. It is considered the workhorse of the kitchen. Available in red and green varieties, cabbage can be cooked, added raw to salads, tacos or stir fries, shredded into a slaw, or made into sauerkraut.
Nutrition Info: (One Cup) 22 calories, 0g fat, 1g protein, 5g carbs, 2g fiber.
Benefits: Cabbage ranks right up there with broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts with a reputation for fighting cancer. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and other nutrients. Cabbage also offers a major payoff, which is providing the fewest calories and least fat of any vegetable.
From green cabbage you’ll enjoy a fiber boost and a respectable amount of vitamin C. Two types of cabbage, savoy and bok choy, provide beta-carotene, the antioxidant that battles cancer and heart disease. For those who don’t eat dairy products, bok choy is an important source ofcalcium, which helps prevent osteoporosis and aid in controlling blood pressure.
The phytochemicals in cabbage, called indoles, are also being studied for their ability to convert estradiol, an estrogen-like hormone that may play a role in the development of breast cancer, into a safer form of estrogen powerful incentives to add cabbage to your diet.
Cabbage can help you lose weight because it can be eaten in high volumes without providing higher calories. Foods higher in fiber like cabbage are very cleansing and will fill you up faster, resulting in less overall calorie consumption.
Bok Choy, or Chinese cabbage, like Rapini and Spinach is packed with both vitamin A and C. It can be wonderful and easy addition to any chinese stir fry dish. If you want to experiment with it, try sauteing or stir-frying bok choy with chopped garlic and shredded ginger, or sesame oil and soy sauce.
Nutrition Info: (One Cup) 9 calories, less than 1g fat, 1g protein, 2 g carbs, 1 g fiber
Benefits: Bok Choy is a low-calorie low fat, low carb vegetable, perfect to add to many dishes, plus Bok choy is rich in antioxidant content, especially beta carotene, which contributes in warding off various diseases such as cancer. Carotenoids are also thought to benefit eye health, and help reduce the chances of macular degeneration. It also offers lots of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. In fact, one cup of shredded raw bok choy contains about half of your daily requirement for each of these nutrients. Plus, you’ll get healthy levels of folate and vitamin B6, as well. Bok Choy is listed as one of the “150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” and a particularly good vegetable for controlling your weight and losing pounds. It is one of the healthiest low-calorie foods you can eat.
Watercress is a member of the cabbage family along with other greens such as mustard greens, kale, and turnip greens. Watercress offers similar health benefits as kale and collards and can be used in the same way. The slightly peppery, sour tasting watercress is handy because it can be added raw to salads or sandwiches without a minute of preparation time. Like the other veggies on this list, one cup of the stuff has more than your daily value of vitamin K, and is also linked to cancer prevention.
Nutrition Info: (One Cup) 4 calories, 0g fat, 1g protein, 0g carbs, 0g fiber
Benefits: Watercress contains many phytochemicals, which are plant compounds that offer disease prevention. Glucosinolates are best absorbed from raw vegetables, and since watercress is rarely cooked, it’s an excellent source. Watercress has a higher antioxidant concentration than apples or broccoli. Studies have found that baby leaf watercress contains more antioxidants than other greens.
Regular consumption of watercress reduces your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Studies have found that the antioxidants and carotenoids in watercress can reduce cellular damage related to the development of cancer. Researchers fed 30 smokers and 30 nonsmokers 85 g of raw watercress daily for 8 weeks. While all participants experienced benefits, the smokers benefits were far more significant.
Watercress aids weight loss by adding bulk to meals without adding a lot of calories, helping you to feel full but not exceed your calorie limits. Watercress is also used to improve digestion, and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend including more watercress in your diet to promote weight loss. It also increases the amount of urine produced by the body, acting as a natural diuretic.