Health

Your Guide to Leafy Greens

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If there’s one essential in my diet, it’s leafy greens. The consensus among doctors and scientists is that there’s little that compares to the nutritional value of organic, raw greens. A diet full of them can ease or reverse just about any health condition, not to mention make your skin glow and waistline shrink (just ask Michelle Pfeiffer and many other stunning A-listers).

Your Guide to Leafy Greens

Raw, organic leafy greens are loaded with fiber and water — fiber scrubs and loosens up stuck toxins while water washes those toxins away. They’re also packed with vitamins, minerals, and plant-based substances that can protect you from heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. The wide variety of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds found in leafy greens are nearly impossible to get in any other food.

Plant chemicals (called phytochemicals) reduce inflammation, eliminate carcinogens, regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce (important when it comes to the reproduction of mutated and cancerous cells), and eliminate old cells. You can’t watch any morning news program without hearing the latest scientific research showing that people who eat more greens have…

  1. Lower risks of stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.
  2. Lower risks of certain types of cancer and digestive problems.
  3. Reduced risk of kidney stones and osteopenia and osteoporosis.
  4. Lower biomarkers for oxidative stress — an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to detoxify their harmful effects.
  5. Higher cognitive test scores. (Load up on kale before that big presentation!)

This handy guide to leafy greens will help you up your daily intake. And no, you won’t have to commit to a salad-only diet. Dig in to discover which greens take the top nutrition prize and how to prepare, store, and enjoy the wide variety that’s available:

Pages: 1 2 3

Dr Marina Gafanovich attended one of the most prominent medical schools around the world, Sackler School of Medicine. She went on to practice as a Primary Care Physician and is now the founder and primary consultant at RejuveNYC, the renowned New York City skin rejuvenation centre.

53 Comments

  1. Good read, nice article on the benefits of the healthy greens. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Lena Dzeko

    Thanks for the post. I grow most of the above, but have never tried eating the turnip greens. Will try them as they are already growing in my garden. My sister is a big fan (we live together). She always goes on about how good they are, but for no reason at all I’ve been very prejudging about it. I know, I must try it!!

  3. Jae Medina

    Good article. Thanks for sharing. Simply love all of these. Dr Marina Gafanovich did a great job laying out the infographic, clean and easy to read. Keeping this one handy. I can honestly say that I’ve learnt a lot from this. Thank you again!

  4. Sonja Fallow

    Very informative. Thank you. Love, love turnip greens and grow them every year, as well as a wide variety of heritage romaines. I’ve been lazy with the others, so will have to try a few new recipes when I get to the farmers’ market again.

  5. Christina Norelli

    Love them all. We are growing collard greens and kale in our garden this summer. We have also been harvesting dandelion greens which are supposed to be packed with nutrients. As my Daughter remarked some years ago, “Let’s throw out the beets and eat the leaves.” 🙂

  6. Elin Hanks

    I see a lot of posts like this on other sites but without references to the scientific literature that supports these claims, it is pretty much worthless. Seeing this is from a doctor, I’ve found all the information here very comforting. Thank you.

  7. Debbie Jones

    Good list but missing some. So many more not covered in this, not to mention that the leafy veggies that aren’t green such as radicchio can add other nutrients that are also beneficial. Mix it up.

  8. Samantha Anthony

    Yummy, yummy. Greens are good for everyone, even our pets 🙂 Just make sure it’s the right type for your furry friend, especially rabbits!!

  9. Lucretia Asher

    Years ago in the food world, kale was called ‘garnish’. No pone taste that stuff, except, I assume in southern US.

  10. Dana Rosatti

    Very useful information. Thank you for the info and compilation. We love greens! The GREENER the better 🙂

  11. Christina Cavanaugh

    I have just started to take Warfarin med. and when you do, you can’t eat any of these because you have to be so careful of vit. K . I hope other people are aware of this fact.

  12. Brenda Nelson

    Hello there! Thanks for the awesome good. Since you’re a doctor, I figured you’d be the right person to ask… I love roasted veggies, but It always upsets my stomach. I`m trying to eat healthier, so I`m laying off a lot of fried foods and getting tired of always steaming the veggies. I have tried different oils, olive oil, peanut oil, etc. But they didn’t seem to work.So what can I use for the vegetables?

  13. Deborah Henry

    I am beginner vegetarian and I’m really struggling to adapt. What can I do to start eating more vegetables?

  14. Nancy Musselman

    Amazing guide! Today I was told I need a tablet. The ONLY reason I would invest in a tablet is to carry it around for this incredible site! You information is given logically and completely but I need you with me in the kitchen, not my office…guess I’ll be looking for a cheap tablet.

  15. Pamela Sanabria

    Thank you for taking the time to do this! I am trying to lose weight and my food pyramid has been ridiculous. Mostly carbs, few veg and lots of oils! I’m going to sort that now.

  16. Delilah Peyton

    Amazing guide. As a newbie vegan I really appreciate it. Wondering if you could make a guide about how to raise our own herbs at home? That’d be great. 🙂

  17. Monica Collins

    Great guide about the leafy greens. I wish you would do a Persian / Middle Eastern one as well. 😊

  18. Kaitlyn Barrett

    I have tried all except the Swiss chard. Watercress is my favorite, but at first it was an adventure to get a new green every time I went to the market. I now know when to get them depending on what I cook. I grow many of my own greens in the fall and plant my own. Nothing beats fresh picked greens for dinner.

  19. Helena Stevens

    Loving this guide. Never heard of some of these. Which is better for me, because i love trying new veggies. They all look soooo delicious!

  20. Olivia Peterson

    i just want to say out loud, how much i freakin’ LOVE spinach!!! i just wish they weren’t so expensive, compared to other greens.

    i like to make a little vinaigrette with olive oil, grainy brown mustard, honey, and s&p and then mix it with a ton of pea shoots, dried cranberries, and diced granny smith or gala apples.

  21. Andrea Mitchell

    Great tips! I love using most of these in salads. I love salads – especially mixing up the colours with chicory etc!

  22. What a brilliant idea for a post. Thanks for the guide. I feel very enlightened now, as I wasn’t sure about some of the listed leafies.

  23. Charleen Washington

    This is a great article! Really well done! Really clear. Super helpful. You guys have seriously stepped up your game with this guide. Loving it! 🙂

  24. Anna Kaplan

    Oh, this is nice. I’ve been learning about them through trial-and-error, this is way better. 😉

  25. Julia MacLean

    What a great guide! I love wandering the produce section, but don’t know what to do with most of it. So thanks! Keep these guides coming!

  26. Celine Carter

    Love this – very helpful. Thanks for this! While I enjoy reading about the taste testing of junk foods, this article has actually inspired me to try some of the mentioned greens, and pick up some new greens next time I’m at the market. 😃

  27. Franny Pimms

    Great guide, this is just what I was looking for from the Urbanette Magazine. Well done. This is really helpful! Two words: THANK YOU!😊

  28. Lana Urie

    This is a wonderful article. Thanks! Love this guide. Bookmarked into my permanent collection.

  29. That’s one heck of a list but a good one! So many pretty colors. It makes me think of my grandpa because he refuses to eat anything other than iceberg.

    The only tip I can share is I store my lettuce in foil. It works best on the heartier ones. It’s still as crisp and fresh three weeks later as day one.

    • What a great tip about storing your lettuce in foil. Three weeks?! I can’t wait to try that one!

  30. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! What beautiful photos and wonderful information. Excellent guide. One that everybody needs to read!

  31. Monica Conover

    Wow! This is so helpful! I never realized how many different types of greens there are out there, sadly, most of which I have never tried. I just planted a kale mix in my garden and I’ve been having fun seeing what pops up! I will be saving this post and trying to cross off as many different types of leafy greens as I can this summer!

  32. Marina Henderson

    This is such a great resource. I was marveling at all the different leafy greens at the farmers’ market on Saturday. I’m currently all about the kale and spinach! Pinning this for future reference and recipe ideas!

  33. Colleen Frasier

    Wow! That is the most wonderful, informative post I have seen on the different varieties of leafy greens! I LOVE collards but haven’t been able to find in in the States except for in a mix at Whole Foods and there are only 4 in the whole container!! One of the foods I miss most about France!

  34. Bethany Miles

    It’s probably sad how little i know about these greens that I eat so often! I feel so educated now! Thanks! 🙂

  35. Betty O'Leary

    Have you read the book Taste of Tomorrow? There is a whole chapter about the American transition from iceberg to bagged lettuce and looked at what the next salad trend might be (specifically looking into radicchio). Any way, great post! Very appreciated!

  36. Ariana Rhyder

    Found your site today and very much like the overall appearance and style. Just when I thought I knew all about leafy greens you introduce me to some I have never heard of. Can’t wait to incorporate them into my diet. The pictures are simply beautiful and make want to take a bit out of them:) I eat and drink greens everyday. Can’t wait to try out the new ones!

  37. Wow! This is so comprehensive. I’m going to share this. The most useful!!! So glad I’ve found it.

  38. Danielle Wilson

    Thank you for this post! I work with a school garden that recently planted many of these greens. It will be a great guide for our Foods Lab teacher and kitchen staff to reference when making fresh salads with the greens students grow in the garden.

  39. Janet Roper

    I am entering the world of greens and this article is really helpful and timely. There are so many options out there and it is so hard to understand it all without any reference. Thank you very much for sharing the info. 🙂

  40. Lulia Jan

    Useful article! It’s really a great and helpful piece of information, For a good diet collard greens, turnip greens , spinach, mustard greens and broccoli vegetables are necessary . Thanks for sharing.

  41. Issabell Symon

    Very informative article! It is very essential for women’s as we know that women’s need iron to get rid of anemia. A good diet make your health better. It is very good for losing weight and gain in brain.

  42. Pasty Clin

    Very use full article! Green leafy vegetables contains vitamins and minerals. Compound present in green leafy vegetables can inhibit the growth of certain type of cancer

  43. Monika Smith

    I have a funny trick that helps mi greens stay good for so long. I containing my greens in my zip lock bag because Carbon die oxide helps keep them full of life for probably a week .Leaving it 1/4 zip. Its little bit a weird but it works

  44. Renee Wilk

    Quite possibly one of the most informative reads for me. I grew up on those greens and I love all of them. I eat all forms of leafy vegetables and have converted many people over to enjoying their wonderful flavors. My mom loves to cook and would put them in everything. Unlike most people that would kill dandelions, my mom would have me pick them and put em in a salad.

  45. Naincy Winget

    I came across your article. Thanks for sharing. Now i will sneak them into a smooth or serve them in a salad.They boost loads of benefits and they are excellent source of fiber . They also contain vitamin C and K and minerals like iron and calcium .
    Don’t forget to wash them before using them.

  46. Heather Strobel

    Such important and enlightening ideas to wake up to. Leafy greens could save the nutritional problems of the human race if more people would just eat them. Beet greens and kale are excellent too. Now that I have all these information at my fingertips, I’ll try a few kinds of leafy greens that are new to me this week. Thanks for the reminder to eat my leafy greens.

  47. Alice Stanford

    This is a nice read. I’d have to admit that I can’t commit to salad-only diet. But reading this article made me stop and think. I would consume “MORE” veggies from now on… *fingers crossed*

  48. Leafy greens make me feel and look young (and radiant). Based on experience, I would agree agree that they prevent or reduce digestive problems!

    • I agree! Leafy greens contribute to our young-looking and radiantly beautiful skin!

  49. Just wanted to ask, Dr. Marina, is it true that leafy greens cure glaucoma?! Which among these leafy greens? Thanks!

  50. Informative article! Thanks for writing about their countless benefits.

    Leafy greens are part of my kids’ diet, I make sure that they consume at least 3-5 servings of vegetables daily.

  51. Very useful article! Thanks for writing about this! My problem with leafy greens is proper storage. I don’t really dry them, probably one of the reasons why they lose freshness easily. Will follow your advice!

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