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Get Even More Greens by Eating these 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.

A Final Applause for Our Salad Greens

A decade ago, I introduced you to the top and middle four leafy green vegetables that you can add to your salads, side dishes, and other meals. You're ready to tackle your greens for a healthier, more nutritious diet. I'd wrapped up the series with the lower leafy green vegetables—the lettuce and cabbage group—with two honorable mentions that didn’t make the top twelve cut. Enjoy!

Add Colorful Lettuce to Your Salads and Sandwiches


Let's Have Some Red and Green Leaf Lettuce

Red and green leaf lettuces are a familiar sight in salad bowls. They’re high in vitamin A and offer some folate. Leafy lettuces have a softer texture in Caesar salads. The darker the lettuce leaf, the more nutrition it has, making the red leaf slightly healthier than green. Despite a low-calorie count, the red leaf lettuce is packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

One cup contains nine milligrams of calcium along with iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. You can also find vitamins A, B6, K, D, and C, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, choline, beta-carotene, lutein, and niacin in one cup of red leaf lettuce.

Romaine Lettuce Add Flavor


Give Romaine Lettuce a Try

Romaine lettuce adds a crunch to Caesar salads. It's crisper than leaf lettuces and offers some folate and vitamin A. The red version contains the same essential minerals as red leaf lettuce. If you have a calcium deficiency, romaine helps deal with health complications, like Osteoporosis, which stems from a lack of calcium.

It has about eight calories and 1 to 2 carbohydrates per cup. Low in fiber and sodium, it's high in minerals, such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium. It's also packed with Vitamins C and K. This lettuce has an impressive source of amino acids, which helps our body's requirement for normal growth and development. It has many healthy benefits to add to your diet: it's rich in antioxidants, prevents bone loss and signs of aging, and improves heart health and vision. When you eat red or green romaine lettuce leaves, it also boosts your immune system, decreases your chance of getting forms of cancer, prevents birth defects and ensures a healthy pregnancy for expectant women. The other health benefits from eating romaine lettuce are weight loss, heals wounds, improves indigestion, lowers cholesterol levels, promotes muscle growth, regulates blood pressure, and treats insomnia.

Want to add some to your diet? Juice them for drinks after your workout. Add them to soups and other hot meals? Braise or roast them for savory dishes. Layer your sandwiches, burgers, and subs with some crunch. Toss them in salads and salad wraps.

Cabbage Adds Crunch to Your Salads


Go Crazy With Cabbage

This cruciferous vegetable is a great source of Vitamin C. It can be added raw to salads, made into sauerkraut, or shredded into a slaw. Stir it into stir-fries or toss them in tacos. It's a staple of St. Patrick’s Day boiled suppers. Cabbage also has the fewest calories and the least amount of fat of any other vegetable, but it also has plenty of fiber, potassium, and other nutrients.

There are two different types of green cabbage: savoy and Napa. They each provide beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps prevent cancer and heart disease. There’s also a respectable amount of Vitamin C, and phytochemicals, which are 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.

Iceberg Lettuce is the Perfect Choice


Watch Out for Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is the most popular lettuce in our country. It’s the last leafy green on this list, due to its limited health benefits, though it made it to the top for consumption. It’s still a common ingredient in hamburgers and in taco salads. It can be a starter green to draw people into a broader array of more nutritious salad greens.

Packed with Vitamins A, C, & K, calcium, iron, manganese, and folate, a cup of shredded lettuce equals 10 calories, and also offers these health benefits to your diet. It improves blood clotting, supports eye health, and helps fetal development for expectant women.

Your Next Best Green Thing... Bok Choy


Don't Forget About Bok Choy

Bok choy (or Chinese cabbage) is packed with Vitamins A, K, and C. It's an easy and wonderful addition to any Chinese stir-fry dish. Try sauteing or stir-frying bok choy with chopped garlic and shredded ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce.

Bok choy is rich in antioxidants, especially beta-carotene, which make it a great part of a cancer-prevention diet. It's also a low-calorie, low-fat, and low-carb vegetable. It's an important source of calcium, for those who don't eat dairy products. One cup of shredded bok choy contains healthy levels of folate and vitamin B6 as well.

Simplicity Starts with Watercress


Last but Not Least, It's Watercress

Watercress offers similar health benefits as kale and collards, and can be used in the same way. It’s a member of the cabbage family along with other greens, such as mustard, kale, and turnip. It can be handy, since it can be added raw to salads or sandwiches without a minute of preparation time. It has a slightly peppery, sour taste. One cup of watercress has more than your daily value of vitamin K.

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Since watercress is rarely cooked, it’s an excellent source of glucosinolates, which are best absorbed from raw vegetables. Studies had found, baby leaf watercress contains more antioxidants than other greens and more than apples or broccoli.
The antioxidants and carotenoids in watercress can reduce cellular damage that may lead to cancer. In one study, researchers fed 30 smokers and 30 non-smokers 85g of raw watercress daily. While all participants experienced benefits, the smokers' were far more significant.

Watercress adds bulk to meals without adding a lot of calories, helping you to feel full, but without exceeds your calorie limits.

That's a (Lettuce) Wrap

Well, that’s the end of the leafy green vegetable list. Add a bunch of greens to your diet. Go and buy some greens at your local farmer’s market or grocery store, or plant some seeds and grow some salad greens in your garden or window box. Check out the two tables below to see how healthy these greens are for you and your health!

Bon appetite!

Lower Green Leafy Vegetable Table

Give some of these salad greens a try today!

Red and Green Leaf Lettuce Romain lettuceCabbageIceberg Lettuce 

Bone growth, hormone production, regulates heartbeat and calcium.

Bone growth, hormone production, regulates heartbeat and calcium

Fights cancer and heart disease.

Bone growth, hormone production, regulate heartbeat and calcium.


Repairs body tissues, plays role in digestion.

Repairs body tissues, plays role in digestion.

Helps prevent osteoporosis, aids in controlling blood pressure. Helps you lose weight.

Repairs body tissues, plays role in digestion and growth with amino acids.


4 calories (1 cup), 0.3g fiber, 0.06g fat, 0.37g protein, 0.63g carbohydrates.

4 calories (1 cup), 0.3g fiber, 0.06g fat, 0.37g protein, 0.63g carbohydrates.

22 calories (1 cup), 0g fat, 1g protein, 2g fiber, 5g carbs.

4 calories (1 cup), 0.3g fiber, 0.06g fat, 0.37g protein, 0.63g carbohydrates.







Honorable Mention Leafy Greens

While you're at it, give bok choy and watercress a try tonight!

Bok ChoyWatercress

Wards off various diseases like cancer, benefits eye health, and reduces chances of macular degeneration.

Linked to cancer prevention.

Controls weight and losing pounds.

Aids weight loss, increases urine produced by body, acting as natural diuretic.

9 calories (1 cup), less than 1g fat, 1g protein and fiber, 2g carbs.

4 calories (1 cup), 0g fat, fiber and carbs, 1g protein.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Kristen Howe


Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on November 25, 2016:

Thanks Vellur for stopping by and commenting on my hub, my friend! Yes they do! Go for it. You're welcome.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on November 24, 2016:

Interesting and informative article about leafy greens. They have so many health benefits. I love cabbage and lettuce. Will give the others a try. Thank you for sharing.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on January 03, 2016:

Thanks Victoria for stopping by and commenting. Good for you for eating greens. Go for it!

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on January 02, 2016:

I love greens! This hub offers excellent information. I eat mostly romaine, but also red and green. I gave up iceberg lettuce years ago. I eat kale and bok choy ocasionally. I love spinach and collards, too! I love greens; I just think I need to eat them more often!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on December 29, 2015:

Thanks Chef. Wow! My dad's hibernating in Southern Florida right now in Osprey. Thanks for this great info on the greens.

Lee Raynor from Citra Florida on December 29, 2015:

Hey Kristen

Good advice offered here. I'm into growing my own greens but the climate here in Florida has other ideas. Yesterday it hit 86 degrees and I'm in north FLorida. I've been trying for the last 4 years to grow spinach (unsuccessfully up to now, can't take the heat but hope springs eternal)

Kale, cabbage and broccoli are all favorites of the local critter population so now my winter garden is covered with mosquito nets.

Lettuce of almost any kind turns to flowers instead of heads because of the heat. So! I start all that I can indoors under grow lights and have some success.

My newest favorite is a Chinese mustard green called Tah Tsai. It grows quickly to a small head and is tender enough to use in salads or stir fries. There are many Chinese greens available if you want to grow your own

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on December 13, 2015:

Thanks for stopping by Poetryman and letting me know with your comments.

poetryman6969 on December 12, 2015:

We avoid iceberg lettuce but we eat lots of cabbage and some bok choy. Sometimes we eat Romaine lettuce.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on December 05, 2015:

HI Mary. Good ideas to add them to soups. You do have a good point there about salads. Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 05, 2015:

We try to add greens in soups or stews. We add enough for the meal at the last minute as we don't want soggy greens in left-overs. This is our way of ensuring we have enough greens. Or sautee some in onions. We refrain from eating salads as we're often in places where we're advised not to eat uncooked food.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on September 24, 2015:

Marlene, way to go on having a green garden. I didn't know about that. How interesting. Thanks for stopping by.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on September 23, 2015:

These are all vegetables that I grow in my garden (except for the watercress). I enjoy eating various green leafy veggies. Recently, I learned that we can even eat the leaf from the cabbage plant.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on September 10, 2015:

You're very welcome Sheila. Red and green leaf is always good for salad. Good plan!

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on September 10, 2015:

I stopped eating iceberg lettuce many years ago. I stick with the green leaf lettuce at home and we eat lots of cole slaw as well. I love to get a good salad with red and green leaf lettuce when we go out. Very informative hub, thank you!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on August 20, 2015:

Thanks Audrey for your lovely comments!

Audrey Howitt from California on August 20, 2015:

just an excellent hub!!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on August 04, 2015:

Hi Peach. Thanks for stopping by my friend. I love stir fries too.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on August 04, 2015:

I love lettuce; book choy and mustard greens. Stir fries are easier

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on August 01, 2015:

Thanks Vespa for stopping by!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on July 31, 2015:

It is too bad that iceburg is the most consumed geeen. I love bok choy but had no idea it's a source of calcium and vitamin C. Thanks for this valuable information.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 19, 2015:

Thanks Thumbi7 for your comments. Happy eating!

JR Krishna from India on July 19, 2015:

We eat a lot of green leafy vegetables in our daily diet. That includes cabbage. You have listed a variety of them.

Interesting read

Voted up and shared

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 15, 2015:

That's interesting to know Peach. You can get romaine lettuce in salad kits with other lettuces for under $5 at your grocery store. Thanks for visiting!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on July 15, 2015:

Romaine kwttuce is delicious but expensive. Cabbage is cheap but gives flatulence

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 26, 2015:

My pleasure Linda. It doesn't hurt to try something new with your diet. Thanks for commenting, my friend.

Linda Chechar from Arizona on June 26, 2015:

I love all of these leafy greens, but had forgotten a about a few of them like bok choy and watercress. Thanks for the reminder!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 22, 2015:

You're very welcome, Anglnwu. Check out my other two leafy green hubs on the top and middle four. Thanks for the vote.

anglnwu on June 22, 2015:

Great shoutout the the leafy greens. I love bak choy and use it in stir-fry a lot. Watercress is a favorite too. Thanks for sharing and vote up.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 19, 2015:

Yeah Peggy! You're a salad green rock star. Thanks for commenting and visiting my friend!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 19, 2015:

We always like keeping fresh greens in the house for salads, etc. Right now we have Romaine lettuce and baby spinach greens. Of all the various types of lettuce we eat iceberg the least. In the past I have grown several types of lettuce and also Swiss chard. It is all good!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 17, 2015:

My pleasure Patricia for stopping by and making my evening with your warm angelic comments. Good for you!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on June 17, 2015:

Yes m'am. Love the berg not so much; it is kind of like, well, nothing. You have listed many of my favorites and what I love about them is that they can be prepared in so many ways.

Thanks for sharing Kristen. Angels are headed your way this evening. ps

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 17, 2015:

Thanks Dale for the comment and loving cabbage. Thanks for the vote!

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on June 17, 2015:

I use to LOATHE cabbage....until I learned that it was the main ingredient of one of my favorite meals. Imagine my shock! Good article. Voted up, useful and interesting.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 14, 2015:

Thanks for the voted up and the pluses, Catherine. Good for you for going green with lettuce and bok choy. I would give it a try sometime.

Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on June 14, 2015:

I east a variety of different lettuces and greens. Include iceberg lettuce in that. Not for salads. I eat it for crunch sometimes in a sandwich or in a taco (as you mention.) I cook bok choy or use raw in a salad. I cut the stalks and leaves into bite-size pieces and sauté in garlic and olive oil and serve it as a side dish. voted up ++

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 12, 2015:

Good for you Peach. I love French cut green beans. I never had bok choy before, except for salad mixes.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on June 11, 2015:

i love bak choy, easier to cook and prepare, other greens such as green beans need a longer time to cook

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 11, 2015:

Thanks Kitty for stopping by and commenting on my last leafy green hub. Thanks so much. Everyone should get more green in their diets.

Kitty Fields from Summerland on June 11, 2015:

My favorite greens are spinach and arugula! Great hub and good job reminding people just how healthy it is to eat your greens. :)

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 09, 2015:

Thanks Lovethisstuff for sharing your two cents. Pretty cool that doctor recommended it.

lovethisstuff from London on June 09, 2015:

Leafy greens have also the added benefit of being excellent in providing radiance to the skin, especially Romain lettuce as recommended by Dr. Perricone on his book "The Wrinkle Cure"

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 08, 2015:

:-) Enjoy cabbage!

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on June 08, 2015:

I surely will.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 08, 2015:

You're very welcome, Rachel. Yes you can put cabbage in salads, since I've seen shredded napa cabbage in salad mixes at my grocery store. Give it a try. Thanks for the vote.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on June 08, 2015:

Hi Kristen. I am the old fashion person that sticks to red or green leaf lettuce or iceberg or Roman lettuces. Now you make the other ones like Boc Choy and Watercress sound interesting. I don't know about cabbage. Could you put it raw in a salad? Thanks for this series, it was interesting and informative. Voted up.

Blessings to you.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on June 07, 2015:

My pleasure Patty. That salad sounds and look delicious to me! My pleasure!

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on June 07, 2015:

I like red leaf lettuce and bok choy the best, so that will make a good salad tonight with a little onion and some radishes! Thanks for this Hub on leafy greens that I like.

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