Are you looking to improve your diet and overall health with healthy eating? Those looking to improve health through their diet would do well to include more green vegetables in their daily meals.
In this list, we’ve compiled all the green vegetables you should be eating as a part of a healthy diet. Let’s dive in!
Why Should I Eat Green Vegetables?
Before we explore our full list, we’re sure you’re curious about what the point of eating green vegetables is. Eating more vegetables is always a good idea to improve your health, but this becomes even more true with green vegetables.
Are Green Leafy Vegetables Better For You?
All vegetables can work to deliver key nutrients to your body, which is why people are often advised to eat a rainbow of foods on their plate. Green vegetables, though, tend to be some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables when compared to others.
Green leafy vegetables in particular are super nutrient-dense and good for improving health and aiding weight loss. Incorporating a leafy green vegetable into your diet can give you a ton of nutrients in a low-calorie, low-carb package when compared to other starchier greens. This is why many people choose leafy greens over starchier ones.
Cooking Leafy Greens
While many people may be familiar with green vegetables like broccoli or green beans, incorporating new leafy greens can feel difficult for those not used to cooking and eating them.
In some cases, leafy greens can be eaten raw and uncooked. For example, if you’re used to eating salads with romaine lettuce, you could replace that with a more nutrient-dense leafy green like raw kale, spinach, or arugula.
The downside, though, is some leafy green vegetables can have a slightly bitter taste when consumed raw. If you struggle with this, it might be better to try your next green leafy vegetables cooked instead of raw.
There are many ways you can take your dark leafy greens and transform them into something delicious that still gives you its health benefits. It’s all about getting creative in the kitchen and you work towards a healthy, balanced diet!
Our Top Green Vegetable List
Now that you know more about the benefits of eating more green vegetables, let’s explore which green vegetables you need to add to your next dinner plate!
These are our top picks for the best green vegetable options you can add to any diet.
Spinach is one of the most popular leafy greens on our list, and for good reason!
This green vegetable is packed with nutritional benefits, including vitamin k and high levels of folate. It also contains vitamin c, vitamin a, vitamin b6, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, and other beneficial nutrients.
The best part? Spinach is super easy to incorporate into several dishes! Add spinach to a smoothie, use it as a base in a salad, put it in sandwiches, add it to pasta, saute it into stir-fries, and much more.
Collard greens are another nutrient-dense leafy green. When eating collard greens, you’ll be taking in vitamins like vitamins a, c, and k, and high amounts of calcium.
Dark leafy greens like collard greens and kale tend to have a slightly bitter taste, so we recommend trying these cooked rather than raw. This green is commonly steamed, boiled, braised, or sauteed. It’s easy to incorporate into a stir fry, add to a salad, or add in a smoothie. Cooked collard greens are also popular on their own, sauteed until tender and served as a side dish.
Kale is another popular vegetable and is often a top pick when it comes to leafy green vegetables. Like other leafy greens, kale has a ton of fiber, is dense in vitamins and minerals, and has anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, one cup of kale goes over your daily needs for vitamins a, c and k, making it an easy way to get in your daily nutrients.
Though kale has a bitter taste when eaten raw, raw kale is the best form of kale to get all of its nutrients. Try adding kale into things like smoothies and fresh juices, or as a base for salads.
We recommend massaging the tender leaves first, to soften them and reduce the leaves’ bitterness for a more mild flavor. If you can’t eat kale raw you can add cooked kale into things like soups, stir-fries, or sauces.
Swiss chard is also a dark leafy green, popular for its use in salads. This is a green packed with nutrients like vitamin a, vitamin c, and vitamin k. It is also packed with antioxidants like beta carotene, which is great for improving heart, kidney, and lung health, and disease prevention.
If you want to incorporate swiss chard into your diet, it’s easy! Like other leafy greens, these are great for stir-frying, smoothies, soups, stews, casseroles, and salads. Swiss chard can be eaten cooked or raw, offering endless possibilities for you to use it in the kitchen.
Bok Choy is a small leafy green that is popular in Asian cuisine, and super high in nutritional content.
One of the biggest benefits of bok choy is the presence of a mineral called selenium. This mineral has been linked to cancer prevention, improving cognitive function, assisting you in having a better metabolism, and giving you a lower risk of developing thyroid issues.
Bok choy is mainly used in stir-fries and soups, as is popular in Asian cuisine. It can also be steamed or braised, though, served on its own as a side.
Most people think of microgreens as a decorative touch on a dish, but these tiny vegetables pack a mean nutrient punch.
Microgreens are the immature seedlings of green vegetables like broccoli, radishes, or cilantro. You might assume microgreens would be lower in nutrients, but these often tend to have even more nutrients than their mature counterparts.
Microgreens can be used the same way other green vegetables are. Use them to garnish dishes, add them to sandwiches and salads, stir them into soups, or even add them into smoothies. They are an easy and efficient way to get a lot of nutrients out of a small package.
Chinese CabbageChinese cabbage, also known as napa cabbage, is a popular green leafy vegetable used in Asian cuisine.
Chinese cabbage is nutrient-dense, with high levels of b vitamins, vitamin c, vitamin k, manganese, calcium, fiber, and iron. The nutrients and minerals have been linked to improving bone health, lowering blood pressure, improving one’s immune system, and aiding digestive health.
How can you begin to use Chinese cabbage? Napa cabbage is super popular for its use in kimchi, which can make a great addition to Asian dishes. You can also swap it for other kinds of cabbage in traditional slaws and salads, add it to stir-fries, use it for dumpling fillings, stuff them for cabbage rolls, and more. There is a ton you can do with this versatile ingredient!
Green peas are another small but mighty green vegetable on our list.
Peas have nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin that are known to improve eye health. It also has typical green vegetable vitamins and minerals that are great for improving heart health, lowering inflammation, and improving immune health.
The fiber found in peas makes them great for aiding digestion. There is also evidence that this fiber can positively affect blood sugar levels. The fiber and protein counts found here combined can lower the glycemic index, and reduce blood sugar spikes that happen after meals.
Many people love to eat peas on their own, prepared by boiling and serving them. Green peas can also be added to pasta dishes and stir-fries, used in soups, added to salads, and much more.
When people are asked to name a green vegetable, there’s good chance broccoli is the first one that comes to mind. Broccoli is a great healthy vegetable choice, and an amazing green vegetable to add to your diet.
Broccoli is a low-calorie vegetable that still holds a lot of nutritional benefits. There is evidence that broccoli has nutrients and minerals linked to reducing risks of cancers, reducing inflammation, and stimulating the immune system. There are also substances in broccoli that can bind with acids in your gut, lowering cholesterol levels.
Like other greens, broccoli can be eaten either raw or cooked. Many people prefer it boiled or steamed and served as a side dish. It can also be seasoned and cooked, with many people adding broccoli green florets into stir-fries, pastas, and other dishes.
Green Bell Peppers
Many people who are fans of bell peppers tend to choose red and yellow over green because of the difference in taste. While it’s true that red and yellow papers have a natural sweetness not found in green peppers, green peppers are still worth buying thanks to their nutritional benefits.
Green peppers are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that help to reduce swelling in the body, assist gut health, and reduce the risk of things like heart disease, cancers, and other health issues.
Along with being nutritious, green peppers have enough fiber to keep you fuller for longer. They also make for a good carb replacement in many dishes. (For example, dipping peppers in hummus instead of pita chips.)
Okra is another nutrient-dense green vegetable that has some surprising benefits.
The biggest benefit of okra is its role in promoting good heart health, thanks to its polyphenol content and a substance called mucilage that binds to your cholesterol during digestion to get it out of your system. This makes it one of the best green vegetables for heart health.
Okra is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and beneficial antioxidants that improve overall health. It is most often used in savory dishes in South Asian cuisine and is also used in dishes like gumbo popularized in the southern United States. Though some people are put off by its texture and taste, its health benefits definitely make it worth a try!
Brussels sprouts are small but mighty, full of nutrients like vitamin c, vitamin k, folate, omega 3s, and much more! They have been linked to improved heart health and immune system function, and can also assist in achieving weight loss.
Though brussels sprouts have been the bane of many vegetable eaters, there are some easy ways to make them taste great. Brussels sprouts can be roasted, baked, steamed, boiled, grilled, and much more. The possibilities are endless!
Arugula is another leafy green that is nutrient-dense, improving overall health, reducing disease risk, and helping people with weight loss. The thing that makes it most distinct is the presence of glucosinolates, which have been linked to cancer prevention and fighting inflammation.
In fact, it is the glucosinolates in arugula that gives it the distinct peppery flavor it’s known for. Because of its flavor profile, it is used as both the main ingredient in dishes as well as a garnish. Use arugula as the base in a salad, or as garnish on pizza or pasta to add some fresh green leaves to your next meal!
Asparagus is a popular springtime vegetable, and like others on this list, has a range of health benefits. Where asparagus shines best is in aiding gut health, supporting the beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive tract. Its high folate count also makes it great prenatal food, promoting healthy fetal development in pregnancy.
To eat asparagus, we recommend having it cooked, either roasted, stir fried, steamed, or sauteed. It makes a great side dish for most proteins or is good to enjoy on its own.
Some people assume cucumbers are all water, and thus not nutrient-dense, but that’s not true. While cucumbers do hold a lot of water, they can still add some vitamins and minerals to your diet, particularly vitamin a and c, as well as potassium.
Many people prefer to eat cucumber raw, either on their own, in sandwiches, or salads. While most people don’t cook cucumbers, they are good for pickling! It’s important to note, though, that to get the most nutrition out of cucumbers, it’s best to eat them with the peel on.
Traditional cabbage is a healthy leafy green that can be cooked in a number of ways.
These vegetables look a lot like lettuce, but it’s actually more closely linked to brassica vegetables like cauliflower, kale, and broccoli. Like these vegetables, cabbage is loaded with beneficial minerals and vitamins linked to preventing cancer, improving digestion, and helping with weight loss.
Like other leafy vegetables, cabbage is best for use in salads and slaws. It’s also a great vegetable to add to stir-fries and soups, use in dumpling fillings, or even roast and eat on its own.
Most people see celery as a low-calorie snack, but its low-calorie count isn’t the only great thing about this vegetable. Celery has a lot of good stuff going on inside when you take a closer look.
Celery is rich in antioxidants and contains a phytochemical called phthalides which are known to help improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. It also contains luteolin, which has been linked to reducing inflammation in the brain and reducing the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases.
Celery is easy enough to add cooked into stir-fries, and is super popular for its use in soups, or eaten raw with a paired dip. Celery is also becoming an increasingly popular addition to fresh juices and smoothies, for optimum vitamin intake.
Watercress is a unique vegetable, as one of the few aquatic green vegetables on our list. This vegetable is popular both for its use in herbal medicine, as well as its use in cooking.
A serving of watercress (one cup) contains over 100% of the daily amount of vitamin k a person needs, making it a great food if you want to support blood and bone health. It also has a ton of dietary nitrates which can also support proper blood flow and relax blood vessels, linking watercress to improved athletic performance.
To add this leafy green into your diet, try using it in salads, smoothies, sandwiches, sauces, and soups.
Fennel is a super common ingredient in Italian kitchens, but it hasn’t exploded into widespread popularity like other greens on this list. We hope that changes, though, because there’s a lot to love about fennel.
Fennel is a vegetable made of distinct layers, with a mild licorice flavor. It can be eaten cooked or raw, which will change its flavor profile. Many people choose to roast and bake fennel or ingest fennel seeds and flowers in teas.
Research has indicated fennel is high in antioxidants with anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Some people also note that fennel seeds can aid in breast milk production in women, thanks to naturally occurring estrogen in fennel.
When most people eat beets, they eat the red beetroot and toss the green tops. Next time you have beets, you should save these greens!
Beet greens are delicious and good for you, filled with nutrients that boost immunity, improve bone health, lower blood pressure, and more. They also have a ton of folate and vitamin b9, making them a good food choice during pregnancy.
Before mustard can be made into a delicious condiment, it is grown in the form of a rich green plant, which produces green leaves known as mustard greens. Mustard greens have a lot of essential nutrients, with more vitamin c than oranges, more vitamin a than spinach, and glucosinolates that are linked to preventing tumor growth and fighting cancer.
Mustard greens have a distinct bitter, slightly spicy taste, which is why many prefer them cooked over eating them raw. Many people will puree them for sauces, sautee them on their own, or add them into casseroles.
Hey, I’m Joey. I’ve been cooking since I was a little kid and love everything about it. You can find my writing about food, kitchen appliances (such as blenders) and much more. Thanks for stopping by!