Unlocking the Power of Green Leafy Vegetables!

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Have you heard this phrase, “Eat your greens”? Green leafy vegetables are rich in iron and vital for growth. The leaves we eat provide good health as they contain complete nutrients. Dark leafy greens particularly have high minerals and are a great source of fiber. 

Green vegetables increase metabolic activities and help the red blood cells to transport the required nutrients throughout the body. Iron deficiency serves as a common health problem among lactating women and pregnant mothers, hence having adequate green leafy vegetables can help them prevent anaemia and several other disorders.

This comprehensive and insightful blog will help you understand the purpose and reasons to add dark leafy greens to one’s diet.

List of leafy greens and their nutritional profile

Packed with the essential minerals and vitamins, eating greens can help the body function properly. Here is a list of leafy green vegetables that you can consume to improve muscle strength and cardiovascular health.

1. Kale

Kale is rich in vitamins A, C, K, B6, fiber, folate, carotenoids, manganese, and fibre. Being one of the most nutrient-dense vegetable, kale contains antioxidants such as lutein and beta-carotene that prevents the absorption of plant-based iron.

One serving of cooked kale, equivalent to 1 cup or 118 grams (g), provides:

  • Calories: 43 
  • Sugars: 1.4 g 
  • Carbohydrates: 6.3 g 
  • Protein: 3.5 g 
  • Fat: 1.4 g 
  • Fibre: 4.7 g

* Based on the United States Department of Agriculture

2. Collard Greens

Known for its nutrient dense properties, collard greens is a leafy green vegetable that helps to prevent the risk of lifestyle-related health diseases. It supports bone health and stimulates the functioning of liver. Collards contain folate, vitamin K, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

1 cup (190 g) of cooked collard greens contain: 

  • Calories: 62 
  • Sugars: 0.8 g 
  • Fat: 1.4 g 
  • Carbohydrates: 10.7 g 
  • Protein: 5.2 g 
  • Fibre: 7.6 g

3. Cabbage

Rich in vitamin C and vitamin K, cabbage is a highly nutritious leafy vegetable with insoluble fibres that aid in heart operations and digestive health. Cabbage is a potassium-rich food that lowers high blood pressure and fights against inflammation.

1 cup (89 g) of chopped raw cabbage has: 

  • Carbohydrates: 5.2 g 
  • Calories: 22 
  • Fat: 0.1 g 
  • Sugars: 2.9 g 
  • Fibre: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 1.1 g 

4. Spinach

Consuming spinach improves blood glucose levels with diabetes, lowers cancer risks, and benefits skin and hair. It is a plant-based source of iron that aids in the support of immune system and the maintenance of healthy pregnancies.

1 cup (30 g) of raw spinach contains: 

  • Carbohydrates: 1.1 g 
  • Calories: 7
  • Fat: 0.1 g 
  • Sugars: 0.1 g 
  • Fibre: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 0.9 g 

5. Watercress

Watercress is an overlooked leafy green vegetable that acts as a powerful nutrient punch. It is a low-fat food that contains less calories and protects cells against exercise-induced oxidative stress and chemotherapy-related damage.

1 cup (34 g) of raw watercress contains: 

  • Calories: 4 
  • Sugars: 0.1 g 
  • Carbohydrates: 0.4 g 
  • Protein: 0.8 g 
  • Fat: 0 g 
  • Fibre: 0.2 g

6. Arugula

Arugula is a distinctive-tasting green leafy vegetable that is peppery in nature. It is rich in calcium and helps in the strengthening of bones, teeth, nerves, and muscles. Arugula is full of antioxidants that can aid in the functioning of digestive enzymes.

Half a cup (10 g) of raw arugula contains: 

  • Calories: 3
  • Sugars: 0.2 g 
  • Carbohydrates: 0.4 g 
  • Protein: 0.3 g 
  • Fat: 0.1 g 
  • Fibre: 0.2 g
Leafy green vegetables

Recommended Intake of Green Leafy Vegetables

Adult Women100g/day
Adult Men40g/day

Importance of green leafy vegetables 

One important reason to add green vegetables to your diet is that you can lose weight quickly as it contains zero calories. It has become a common belief in Indian families that green vegetables are good for one’s health and should be added to the meals. But, it makes your body fight against any disease and slows down the process of ageing.

10 benefits of green leafy vegetables 

Dark green vegetables make an essential component of a balanced diet. There are several benefits of green leafy vegetables that one should know before taking it in the food. 

It depends on the choice of individuals, for eg: you can chop them in their salads, cook them with your favourite flavours, or stuff them in your sandwiches or wraps. It is tasty regardless of the manner in which it is consumed. Here are the amazing health benefits of leafy green vegetables:

1) Healthy source of vitamins & minerals

The dark greens are low in calories and contain maximum levels of iron, magnesium, and calcium. They are rich in Vitamin A, B6, C, K, and support different systems within the body. With a significant amount of folate and potassium, leafy vegetables play a vital role in preventing chronic disease and promoting heart health.

2) Reduces the risk of cancer

Dark green leafy vegetables contain beta-cartenoids, luteins, and antioxidants that bolster body’s own defences and protect against cancers in lung, skin, mouth, pancreas, and larynx. 

3) Package of antioxidants

Research have shown that consuming 2 to 3 servings of green leafy vegetables per week may potentially reduce the risk of stomach, skin, and breast cancer. With a high content of antioxidants, green vegetables help to maintain healthy body weight, thereby regulating the bowel movements and digestive system.

4) Helps maintain a glowing skin

Leafy greens can do wonders in your skincare routine. The phytonutrients and omega-3 fatty acids present in the dark leafy greens nourish and balance the youthful of your skin and defends against oxidative stress and damaging free radicals.

5) Supports bone and gut health

Adding a variety of green leafy vegetables to your diet may support optimal bone and gut health. The nutrients, calcium, and vitamin K keeps your brain healthy, lowers blood pressure, and improves the flow of food through your gut.

6) Helps in weight loss

One can add leafy vegetables to your daily diet as it is highly rich in carbohydrates, fibre, and proteins. Incorporate more greens into your meal will help you shed excess weight and improve overall body health.

7) Provides fibre

Leafy green vegetables offers various health benefits such as obesity, reducing the risk of high blood pressure, mental decline, and heart disease. With large amounts of fibre, greens can feed friendly gut bacteria and fight constipation.

8) Supports optimal brain function

Consuming a balanced diet is a beneficial approach for seniors to decrease the risk of heart disease and various chronic conditions, as well as maintaining brain health in their elderly years. Increasing the intake of leafy green vegetables in their diet can assist seniors in improving brain health and preventing memory loss and other age-related health problems.

9) Reduces belly bloating

Leafy greens are rich in potassium, a mineral, and an electrolyte. These nutrients are pivotal for maintaining a healthy fluid balance in the body, leading to reduced bloating.

10) Relieves stress

Dark leafy greens provide a rich source of folate, aiding in the production of dopamine and serotonin within the body. It helps to fight against the stress hormone and reduce the risk of depression, thereby enhancing mood regulations and digestional capabilities.

Interesting facts about green leafy vegetables

  • Green leafy vegetables contain antioxidants that minimises the risk of heart disease. 
  • Adding more veggies to your balanced diet helps in bowel health and weight management. 
  • Dark green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin K that prevents inflammatory diseases and protect bones from osteoporosis
  • Eating 2-3 servings of green leafy vegetables per week lowers the risk of breast, stomach, and skin cancer. 
  • Taking leafy greens daily help slow cognitive decline that comes with ageing.

How to increase the intake of green vegetables?

Here are some ways that you can try to add a fresh twist to your dishes by incorporating leafy green vegetables into your meal:

  • Salads: Create a refreshing salad by assembling a variety of raw greens like spinach and beet greens in a bowl, then drizzle with vinaigrette or lemon juice for a delightful and healthy meal. 
  • Healthy bowls: Enhance the nutritional value of your meal by incorporating greens into a bowl filled with proteins, fruits, and whole grains, resulting in a nourishing and balanced dish. 
  • Wraps: Utilize romaine, cabbage, or Swiss chard leaves as a wrap, combining them with other ingredients to make a satisfying and flavorful meal option. 
  • Soups: Elevate the taste and nutritional content of soups by adding greens such as bok choy and Swiss chard during the final minutes of cooking, infusing them with wholesome goodness. 
  • Sautes and stir-fries: Enhance the texture and taste of your dishes by tossing greens together with noodles, vegetables, nuts, and seafood, creating a vibrant and flavorful combination.
  • Pizza: Opt for a healthier pizza alternative by substituting meats and processed toppings with greens, transforming it into a more nutritious and delicious choice. 
  • Juice: Boost the nutritional value of your juice by incorporating greens like kale and parsley, infusing it with extra nutrients and a tangy kick without the heaviness of smoothies. 
  • Pesto: Innovate your pesto recipe by using leafy greens as a substitute for basil, providing a unique twist and added nutrients to this classic sauce. 
  • Sandwich: Elevate your sandwich experience by adding greens such as lettuce, arugula, and spinach alongside the usual ingredients like tomatoes, pickles, and avocados, resulting in a fresh and wholesome meal. 
  • Add-ons: Discover the versatility of greens by using several cooking methods such as steaming, grilling, boiling, braising, and stewing, allowing them to provide an extra burst of flavor to your meals.
  • Smoothies: Create a healthy green drink by combining greens like spinach with other nutritious fruits and vegetables such as carrots, beets, cucumber, and ginger, resulting in a refreshing and revitalizing beverage. 
  • Sauces: Enhance the flavor profile of your sauces by chopping or pureeing leafy greens and incorporating them into your favorite sauces. For instance, blending vegetables like beet greens and adding them to marinara sauce can provide a delightful twist. 

In a nutshell

Being a complete package of nutrient-packed foods, leafy greens offer diverse health benefits. Add it to your meal daily to have a healthy and balanced diet!


1. Can we eat leafy vegetables daily?

Yes, leafy greens offer high nutrition and contain less calories. It is no harm if you increase the intake of green vegetables as it lowers the risk of heart disease.

2. What are the best leafy greens?

– Spinach
– Kale
– Romaine
– Watercress
– Arugula, and more. 


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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