Best Leafy Green Vegetables List, Benefits, and How To Use

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Do you have memories of being forced to eat green veggies green as kid? Or do you remember being told those stories about  how eating spinach will make you grow big and strong like Popeye? Rarely did this bribery work, and some were even turned off greens for life by parents trying to do what’s best their kids nutrition-wise.

This repulsion to greens is mainly down to the way they were commonly prepared back then, often boiled to death, sloppy and pretty disgusting. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

This best leafy green vegetables list will also give you their amazing benefits and how to use them in a way that will have you, your kids and your whole family coming back for seconds.

The best way to prepare greens

We believe the only way to eat greens that will make them taste delicious is either raw and finely sliced in a salad with an amazing dressing, lightly steamed, or flash fried fast in a wok with lots of herbs and spices.

All these methods will ensure you get the most out of your nutritious veggies as they all use minimal cooking methods. Over-cooking any vegetables just means extra loss of precious vitamins and minerals that are already low in today’s over-farmed soils. Therefore, the more you can retain through correct preparation, the better.

Of course, when you keep a veggie raw you keep the fibre content high. This fibre acts as a great detoxifier and colon cleanser whilst it’s on its way out because it mops up and drags out toxins as it goes, ultimately leaving you with a more glowing complexion. Yes, it has to be said, greens make you beautiful!

Green Vegetables Benefits

1. Intense Nutrition

Green’s offer a hit of intense nutrition that gets more powerful the greener the greens get. So, go for the dark leafy greens for the best nutritional hit and don’t forget to keep them varied. Green’s are a super high antioxidant food, especially vitamin A which is good for all your organs including the reproductive system, eyes and immune system.

Your green leafy veggies also offer high amounts of vitamin C – another great immune booster and antioxidant that helps skin repair from environmental damage. Additionally, green veggies are abundant in potassium, vitamin K and Iron.


Green vegetables are also high in the vital mineral magnesium (of which most of us are deficient in) that is needed as one of the components of so many bodily functions, including:-

2. Metabolism Boosting

The high iron and fibre content of green vegetables means they can help keep you metabolism healthy and running full steam ahead. This may ultimately lead to weight loss over the long term, especially when they are eaten daily as part of a healthy diet plan.

You should also try our fat burning spice mix as part of your healthy, greens filled diet too!

meal plans

3. Low GI

Green veggies rate very low on the glycemic scale, meaning they don’t cause the insulin spike that high GI foods can. This can ultimately lead to weight gain and other obesity related issues. Low GI food’s also fill you up as they release their energy slowly into the system, thus helping to curb sugar craving and snacking on junk foods.

4. High fibre

Greens are full of fibre, especially when cooked lightly and not boiled to death. Fibre not only fills you up for longer, but is also calorie free, therefore a great weight loss friendly, belly filler.

High fibre foods also help to clear toxins out of your colon mainly due to their roughage dragging out impurities with it as it passes through.

5. Natural sun protection

Although this does not by any means mean you shouldn’t use sun protection, the high nutrient, folic acid and beta-carotene content of green vegetables does offer some sun protection.

6. Mood Enhancing

There’s a number of reasons why eating lots of powerful green superfood veggies may help make you happier. The first being they are high in folate which helps serotonin production. Serotonin is the body’s natural chemical that contributes to your mood and lack of it can cause depression, anxiety, sugar cravings and irritability, among other things.

Secondly, fruits and veggies have a positive impact on gut flora and healthy gut flora is now something that is widely recognised as being a contributor to mood. Couple this with the fact that the fibre and antioxidants in vegetables helps to drag out and neutralise toxins in the body then you can see the powerful impact they can have on mood as a ‘whole’.

Most Nutritious Green Vegetables List

  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Green cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Rocket
  • Watercress
  • Lamb’s lettuce
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Seaweeds – wakame, nori, kombu, dulse, hijike, Irish moss
  • Purple sprouting broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • All other dark leafy green salad vegetables

Tasty Greens Side Dish Recipe

bok choy stir fry

One of our favourite green vegetables recipes is also the most simplest and fastest way to prepare and cook them. You seriously only need less than 10 minutes to do this and it makes the perfect, healthy and nutritious accompaniment to literally any meal. Honestly, ANYBODY can like greens when they’re cooked like this.

The best greens to use here are the ones with similar cooking times, so we would usually go for a mix of Swiss chard, kale and cabbage. OR, for the hardier veggies then we would use sliced Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and maybe some other veggies like carrots, onions and cauliflower depending on what you prefer, but they all work well. You can also just cook the one veggie in this way too, of course.


  • A medium sized colander full of your sliced and washed green veggies mix.
  • 1 x tablespoon of olive/ or 1 x teaspoon of coconut oil.
  • 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic.
  • 1x tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce.
  • Pepper (you probably won’t need salt due to the saltiness of the tamari or soy sauce).
  • Finely sliced red chilli (optional).
  • Generous squeeze of lemon juice.


  1. Heat a large wok with the oil and soy or tamari (don’t let it burn).
  2. Add your green veggies that still have some moisture after being washed (this is good), plus your chilli if using, then stir-fry. Keep it all moving constantly for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to over cook.
  3. Add your garlic and pepper and fry for another 30 seconds or so. The reason you should add the garlic so late is to hold in its powerful nutrition as much as possible which is often destroyed fast in the cooking process.
  4. Add your lemon juice after you’ve turned the heat off. If you add it during the cooking process it can turn bitter tasting.
  5. You’re ready to serve. Everybody will LOVE this!

Best Green Vegetables To Juice

green juices

When it comes to juicing you will get more out of a watery vegetable rather than something drier, so bear this in mind. Don’t waste your juice pulp as it has many other uses.

  • Kale
  • Broccoli (be sure to use the stalks also as this is here a lot of its nutrients lie)
  • Cucumber
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Coriander

Best Veggies For Smoothies

When it comes to a smoothie, you will be using the ‘whole’ vegetable as opposed to juicing where the fibres are taken out. There is an argument that smoothies are better for you, which is due to the fact that you are keeping the vegetable or fruit intact. This means keeping all the fibre in thus lowering the over-all GI.

It makes sense that eating foods in their whole and natural state could very well be better for our bodies. But, juicing on the other hand does mean that there will be an intense hit of nutrients.

On balance, juicing just green veggies is fine, but when you start adding carby, sweeter veggies to the mix such as beetroot and carrot then you will need to take care not to over consume. Higher sugar/calorie juices like this can spike your blood sugar and make you gain weight. Take care to only consume about 150ml a time and preferably not on an empty stomach (again, this could spike your blood sugar if there is no other food in your stomach to slow down the sugars).

For a green vegetable smoothie, taste-wise, you probably want to go for spinach, baby kale, parsley and coriander. They are softer to break down in your blender more easily, and they are more palatable.

Easy Green Smoothie Recipe

A common favourite and very simple green smoothie recipe is a blend of just 4 ingredients:-


  • A handful of baby spinach.
  • 1 ripe medium sized banana.
  • Half a ripe avocado.
  • About 200ml of any sugar-free plant milk (oat is delicious).


  • Chuck all ingredients in blender and whizz on high speed for 20 seconds. You may wish to slice and freeze your banana first as it gives the final product it a cold and frothy milkshake texture. You may also wish to add a couple of dates if you want to make it into more of a meal replacement or pre/post workout smoothie.
  • Serve immediately if possible. Or keep in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 24 hours.

Green Superfood Powders

green superfood powder

The ULTIMATE greens! Green superfood powders like Dr. Schulze’s greens are just so convenient and perfect as a green top up on days that you can’t get your daily quota. They also usually comprise of foods that you wouldn’t buy in your supermarket, such as wheatgrass, barley grass, spirulina, moringa and blue-green algaes.

The fantastic thing about greens powders is the fact that they are a powerful hit of intense, raw green nutrition that can give you a noticeable boost of energy, boost your immune system, and make your skin glow from the inside.

If you buy only raw organic green powders, then you can be sure that they are pesticide free, are planet friendly, and have been picked and freeze or tumble dried at the peak of their nutrition. When you buy your fresh greens from the supermarket you can’t be sure how long they’ve been hanging around losing nutrition, which is why it’s great to top up on a daily basis with a green superfood supplement.

This is not to say that you don’t need to eat your greens in the good old-fashioned way too. You really do need the bulk, the fibres and the diversity.


Green vegetables, along with all the other different coloured fruits vegetables, offer amazing nutrition and are brimming with anti aging antioxidants.

Making sure your family and you eat at least 7 portions a day of a rainbow of coloured fruits and veggies, along with a highly plant based lifestyle in general will help to keep you in the best health possible for your amazing future.

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7 thoughts on “Best Leafy Green Vegetables List, Benefits, and How To Use”

  1. Hi there, this is an interesting read. I’ve always heard that vegetables are good for you so it was great to read specific benefits like the ones that you share here. I tend to eat my vegetables boiled or steamed or I add them to my protein shakes. I’ll have to check out the green powders that you mentioned though, they sound like a great addition to my diet.

    1. Hi Tamika, sounds like you got your green veggies covered if you already eat them in so many ways. Yes, a green superfood powder is definitely a good back up to have for those times when you just can’t get enough in. Check them out!

  2. Man I freakin love green veggies!!!

    Stefanie you seem to be very knowledgeable about plant based eating and I look forward to learning more by reading through some of your other pieces here on zestforever

    You’ve inspired me to make a green juice in the morning as well.
    Broccoli (be sure to use the stalks also as this is here a lot of its nutrients lie)
    seems like a solid combo!

    Your Friend


    1. Hi Will, I’m glad you like my website and are going to check it out for more information. This is news I always LOVE to hear! I hope you find everything you are looking for, and if not, hit me up and let me know as I’m always looking for new article ideas.

      Yes, green juices are the best as they really give you an intense hit of energy and nutrition for the day ahead. Enjoy!

  3. You are right about how veggies used to always be boiled to death. lol. I love having the raw leaves in my salads. I usually go for those rather than iceberg, when selecting my foliage at a salad bar. That being said, our family has never had a problem with spinach. We did tell our boys they’d get strong arms if they ate their spinach.

    1. Ha ha, yep, the old strong arm analogy – never fails!
      It’s good you go for other other green vegetables other than iceberg lettuce as that’s one of the lowest in nutrients. The darker the green the more nutritious is the general rule of thumb. Also, be sure to mix up lot of different kinds and not stick to the same thing wherever possible.

  4. Pingback: What is a Whole Food Plant Based Diet and its Benefits?

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