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Healthy You

Go Green: 5 Healthy Leafy Vegetables

Friday, July 24, 2015 7:50 AM

Leafy greens, those delicious garnishes, salads, and side dishes, are packed with many of the most important nutrients needed to feel and stay healthy. They provide vitamins and minerals, as well as a good helping of fiber to strengthen your body and help to prevent future diseases. 

It is recommended that women eat 1.5 cups per week and men eat 2 cups per week. The good news is that each of these greens has less than 100 calories and packs a nutritional punch with plenty of vitamins A, C and K, along with minerals like iron and calcium. You can begin to improve the strength of your immune system, the functions of your organs and more just by adding these vegetables into your diet.

Geeta Maker-Clark, MD at NorthShore shares some of the best leafy greens options for your diet to maximize nutrition and boost your health:

  • Kale. This green has become a superstar in the world of nutrition for all of its health benefits. It’s high in Vitamins A and C as well, with plenty of fiber and antioxidants. These work to improve your metabolism and digestion, as well as battle inflammation, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. 
  • Collard Greens. A staple for many families, this green is rich in Vitamin K (over 100% of your daily levels per serving), which strengthens bones and can help to slow the damage of disease like Alzheimer’s.  With its carbohydrate and protein count, collard greens make a great post-workout snack. 
  • Chard. This colorful green is filled with antioxidants that fight eye degeneration and malnutrition, and iron that improves blood flow regulation, making it a very healthy resource for diabetics. As another great source of Vitamin K (over 300% of your daily levels per serving) and calcium, chard works to stimulate healthy bone growth.
  • Spinach. What can't spinach do? It’s a strong mix of vitamins helps your body fight infections and disease, while strengthening your skin, bones and vision. It’s also a favorite when it comes to Omega-3 fatty acids, which help your memory and lowers the risk of life threatening disease.
  • Bok Choy. If you’re in the mood for Chinese, make sure you get some of this cabbage that’s rich in vitamins, particularly Vitamin K with 72% of your daily requirement per serving, including strong antioxidants with the potential to help prevent forms of cancer, improve your immune system, and fight brain shrinkage.

How do you fit leafy greens into your daily servings of vegetables?