Not All Greens are Created the Same – Here are the Right Ones to Eat

17. Spinach Spinach is highly regarded as one of the best greens to eat for its nutrients. It’s rich in Vitamin K, C, A, as well… Trista - October 26, 2021

17. Spinach

Spinach is highly regarded as one of the best greens to eat for its nutrients. It’s rich in Vitamin K, C, A, as well as magnesium, folate, iron, lutein, and more. Spinach is a versatile green that can be eaten raw or cooked. According to Everyday Health, one cup of spinach has 16 percent of your daily vitamin A needs, as well as all of the necessary vitamin K your body needs in a day. Often described as having a mild flavor, spinach can be cooked in various ways to best suit your diet. A member of the Amaranth family, spinach is related to beets and Swiss chard.

Spinach is a healthy green that helps to strengthen your immune system. If you’re looking for a great way to utilize spinach, pair it with strawberries and a balsamic glaze for a flavorful salad, or cook it down in a sautee pan and mix it into your favorite pasta dish. This versatile green has endless applications in all of your cooking! You can also blend it into a smoothie for a sweet addition to your usual drink. Spinach is also easy to grow on your own. California is the largest spinach producer, with 44,000 acres of farmland available to produce this green every year.


16. Parsley

Did you know parsley is a superfood? It’s typically put on your plate as a fancy garnish, but it’s actually a spectacular green to eat. Packed with vitamin K, this superfood can help to control your appetite. It also tastes great and leaves your breath fresh. Parsley is grown in gardens worldwide and is highly regarded as one of the best herbs to use for any type of dish. There are two types of parsley – curly and flat-leaf. Both types have the same health benefits and are great to use in soups, stocks, Italian dishes, and more.

Just one sprig of parsley can give you a vitamin boost. Rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, and Vitamin A, parsley is plentiful with antioxidants that help your body. Eating parsley can help to control certain medical conditions such as diabetes, stroke, cancer, and even heart disease. So, instead of using this herb as a garnish, add it to your meals for the additional vitamin and antioxidant boost your body needs. Native to the Mediterranean, parsley grows well in temperate climates. So if you want to grow your own parsley, setting up a small herb garden indoors will work best. Also, did you know parsley comes from the same family as cumin and carrots? It’s an interesting herb that you can use in various ways to make your meals shine, including holiday dinners.


15. Leaf Lettuce

Leaf lettuce is one of the best you can eat. This lettuce is packed with vitamin K – a necessary vitamin needed to control bleeding and blood clots. If you’re deficient in Vitamin K, you may have difficulty getting a cut or scrape to stop bleeding. While adults usually have enough Vitamin K in their bodies to control bleeding, there are situations where you can become deficient. Certain diseases like Celiac disease and Crohn’s Disease can cause a deficiency due to the absorbed vitamin. If you have either of these diseases, speak with your doctor about your bleeding risks. 

Leaf lettuce is well-known for its sweet and slightly bitter taste and smell. It also holds up well to dressings and toppings – giving you a nice crunch when you bite into it. Two cups of this type of lettuce per day will provide you with all the needed vitamin K for your body. Leaf lettuce comes in a variety of styles and colors, and each has there own distinct taste. Green leaf lettuce is known to be sweet, while red leaf lettuce has a slightly bitter taste. If you’re interested in trying new lettuce, leaf lettuce is a superb replacement for Romaine or iceberg lettuce.


14. Romaine Lettuce

This is the type of lettuce people use in classic Caesar salads; Romaine lettuce has tons of folic acid. Folic acid is good for male reproductive health as well as battling depression symptoms. It’s a suitable replacement for kale, as many people don’t like the taste. According to Eat This, Not That!, Romaine lettuce studies have shown a boost in male fertility. Folic acid and folate are found in Romaine as a water-soluble form of vitamin B. These vitamins are crucial to your overall health. So, when choosing a type of salad for your next meal, why not try a classic Caesar salad with chicken added to make it a spectacular dinner?

Romaine lettuce has a mild flavor with a wonderful crunch. It holds up well to dressings and doesn’t get soggy like iceberg lettuce. In fact, according to Lettuce Info, Romaine lettuce is the number two pick for best lettuce in the United States. Romaine lettuce is grown in California, where every year, 1.1 million tons of this crunchy lettuce is harvested. Surprisingly, romaine lettuce is harvested by hand with a knife. That’s a lot of lettuce to harvest by hand every year! Romaine lettuce is an excellent choice for your next salad and offers a variety of essential vitamins and minerals.


13. Chicory

One of the lesser-known greens, chicory, is a bitter green that packs a punch with nutrients. Highly praised as one of the best sources of polyphenols – chicory can help to prevent diseases. Polyphenols are micronutrients necessary for immune system health. Chicory is best utilized when added to salad mixes, as it does have a bitter taste on its own. According to RX List, chicory is often used for upset stomachs, loss of appetite, constipation, and more. It’s also used as a supplement to protect the liver and to help curb symptoms of cancer. Chicory has laxative properties that increase bile production in the gall bladder.

This healthy green is actually a flowering plant native to Europe. It grows in the wild as well as in gardens. Chicory can be located in the wild by looking for its radiant light blue flowers. Farmers and herders initially used this flowering plant as a crop for livestock to eat. Grown commercially in Nebraska, France, and South Africa, chicory has become famous for its medicinal properties in recent years. If you want to try chicory, it’s best to add it to a mix of greens to curb the slightly bitter taste. Mixing it with other greens such as endive, leaf lettuce, or spinach will give you a serious boost of nutrients and provide a tasty salad with various tastes and textures.


12. Swiss Chard

One of the more interesting-looking types of lettuce, Swiss chard, has large green leaves and red stalks. This green is a member of the amaranth family with other greens like spinach and beets. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Swiss chard tastes bitter when cooked and has a milder flavor when eaten raw. According to Eat This, Not That!, Swiss chard contains 13 types of polyphenols that help with various aspects of your help. One of the more interesting polyphenols, anthocyanins, helps to protect your body from Type 2 Diabetes. Anthocyanins help to lower insulin resistance and regulate blood glucose levels in the body.

Swiss chard is an excellent source of Vitamins A, K, and C, as well as magnesium and lutein. This combination of vitamins and minerals makes Swiss chard one of the better greens to eat. You can add it to soups, salads, and even casseroles to boost healthy ingredients. If you want to add Swiss chard to your diet, try adding it to a mix of greens for a salad, or add it to your favorite soup for a bitter component. You can add this green to just about anything to bring it up a notch with flavor! You could also substitute Swiss chard for spinach in any recipe asking for spinach.


11. Bok Choy

Healthline teaches us that Bok Choy is a type of Chinese cabbage used primarily in Chinese cuisine. Bok Choy’s green leaves and white stalks can be utilized in a variety of ways to elevate your cooking. This Chinese vegetable provides a source of Selenium. Selenium is a mineral that helps to support fertility, thyroid function, immunity, and even cognitive function. Found in water, soil, and some foods, Selenium is a necessary mineral the body needs to function correctly. Bok Choy and other vegetables need to grow in Selenium-rich soil, as the mineral isn’t found in foods naturally. It’s an earth-based mineral that seeps into the food we eat from the fields where it’s grown.

Bok choy is well-known for its taste. It tastes similar to spinach and has a mild bitterness that goes well with Asian cuisine. You can eat it raw or cooked. Researchers trace bok choy back to the fifth century A.D. in China. It has since become a staple in Asian cooking. If you’re looking for ways to use bok choy, try adding it to a salad or add it the next time you make a chicken stir fry. You won’t be disappointed with the taste and added crunch it brings to your dishes. Bok choy is rich in beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and folate. These nutrients and vitamins have cancer-fighting properties. A great addition to your diet, bok choy is a versatile vegetable that can be used in various ways to maximize your vitamin and mineral intake.


10. Chinese Cabbage

Chinese cabbage, also known as Napa cabbage and celery cabbage, is an excellent source of iron and calcium. It ranks high on the list of greens you should be eating. Chinese cabbage is terrific for people with heart disease, as it helps to reduce inflammation. Eat This, Not That! tells us that those who eat one and a half cups of Chinese cabbage per day have 13% less inflammation. Chinese cabbage is a part of the cruciferous family closely related to arugula, bok choy, broccoli, and more. Chinese cabbage, or napa cabbage, is primarily used in Chinese cooking. It has endless applications in all of your cooking.

Chinese cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked. In Chinese cuisine, it’s often stir-fried with other vegetables. It can be added to soups, salads, and even boiled for a quick and easy snack. Chinese cabbage is a versatile vegetable with a sweet taste when cooked. When eaten raw, Chinese cabbage has a crisp texture similar to romaine lettuce or celery. Chinese cabbage is vastly different from regular green or red cabbage. It isn’t as tough and can actually be eaten in more ways than green or red cabbage. Chinese cabbage grows differently than green cabbage, as well. Green cabbage grows into a ball, while Chinese cabbage grows into an oblong shape, making it lighter and easier to eat raw.


9. Turnip Greens

You may not have known it, but you can eat the leaves of turnips! They are packed with vitamins K, C, and A, as well as manganese, calcium, and folate. Turnip greens offer a spicy flavor that’s enjoyed best when cooked. They can also be eaten raw as a spicy element in your favorite salad. As part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, turnip greens offer benefits to your health. They can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. So, even if you don’t like turnips, try the greens to see if you want them instead! You never know unless you give them a chance.

You may be surprised to hear that just one cup of turnip greens offers 138 micrograms of vitamin K. That’s more than enough for an entire day! Eating turnip greens can also help stave off bone illnesses. Did you know that turnip greens offer anti-inflammatory benefits? Turnip greens can help to minimize pain from conditions like arthritis. You can use these healthy greens to replace recipes calling for spinach or kale, as they have the same taste profile. So, next time you make your favorite dish with spinach, take a chance and try some turnip greens instead. You may enjoy them more than spinach. Keep reading for more of the best and worst greens to eat.


8. Escarole

Escarole is a well-known type of lettuce with great health benefits. It looks and tastes similar to endive. It just has smaller, wavy leaves. Escarole is a member of the chicory family – meaning it has a slightly bitter taste. Rich in vitamin A and K, escarole is especially popular in Italian cooking. In fact, it’s one of the main ingredients in Italian Wedding Soup! The outer leaves of escarole tend to be more bitter than the inner leaves, making them a perfect choice for cooking. Cooking escarole removes some bitterness, making the leafy green more palatable for those who want the health benefits but don’t like bitter foods.

You can cook escarole in various ways, but the easiest is cooking it as you would collard greens. The innermost leaves of escarole are perfect for salads, as the crunch and bitterness add complexity to your dish. You can also pair it with other bold flavors such as blue cheese, walnuts, and goat cheese. Vinaigrettes also pair nicely with an escarole salad. If you’re a fan of radicchio and want to try something new, escarole is an excellent replacement. Escarole is best when used fresh. It’s typically at its peak of freshness in the fall. You should try to avoid buying escarole in the summer months, as that’s when it’s been stored for an extended period.


7. Butter Lettuce

Butter lettuce, also known as Bibb lettuce, is known for its large, soft leaves perfect for wraps. It’s a tender type of lettuce with bright green or purple coloring. Butter lettuce gets its name from the texture of the leaves. It doesn’t taste like butter; instead, it has a silky texture that feels like it’s melting in your mouth. It’s a sweet type of lettuce that pairs well with a variety of dishes. You can use it for tacos, wraps, sandwiches, and more. Butter lettuce is one of the healthier types of lettuce due to its vitamin and mineral content.

Rich in Vitamins A, C, and K, butter lettuce is a healthy option to replace iceberg lettuce in your diet. You can use it the same way as iceberg lettuce but with added health benefits. Also rich in calcium and iron, eating butter lettuce can help fight off infections and help with inflammation. When using butter lettuce for a salad, stay away from the heavy dressings like ranch or blue cheese and instead use something like Italian or a vinaigrette. Butter lettuce doesn’t hold up well to heaviness. You won’t be disappointed! If you’re interested in trying some great butter lettuce recipes, use your butter lettuce to replace tortillas on taco night, use it on your next sandwich, or use it as the bun for your next burger.


6. Savoy Cabbage

Similar to red and green cabbage, savoy cabbage offers the same types of health benefits. It’s a versatile vegetable that can be braised, boiled, and even eaten raw. Savoy cabbage is green in color and has textured leaves that almost look like veins. The texture is slightly different from green cabbage, as the leaves aren’t quite as dense. The outer leaves of this type of cabbage protect the plant and are often discarded as they don’t taste quite the same as the inner leaves. Savoy cabbage is an excellent substitute for any recipe requiring cabbage. This healthy vegetable offers plenty of versatility. You can use savoy cabbage in all of your favorite recipes.

Many people don’t like cabbage due to its tough texture, but savoy cabbage is slightly different. These greens are known for their unique look compared to other types of cabbage. Savoy cabbage tastes earthy with a hint of sweetness. Unlike other types of cabbage, savoy cabbage contains a high amount of fiber, plus the added benefits of calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and more. This type of cabbage goes excellent in soups, salads, stir-fries, and more. When utilized correctly, savoy cabbage may even change your thoughts on cabbage. Even if you don’t like green or red cabbage, you may like savoy! Use it as a substitute in your favorite coleslaw recipe or for things like cabbage rolls to get a nice twist on your classic recipe.


5. Broccoli 

We’ve all had broccoli at least once in our lives. Whether you like it is another story. Broccoli is part of the brassica family, including other vegetables such as red and green cabbage, mustard greens, and cauliflower. People know broccoli has a slightly bitter and earthy taste; broccoli is actually one of the vegetables you should be eating regularly. This green contains high amounts of Vitamin K and C, as well as chromium and folic acid. Broccoli can help reduce inflammation and the risks of breast and bladder cancer. According to Food Source Information from the Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence, broccoli contains various other vital nutrients for your health.

Broccoli offers a good source of nutrients like dietary fiber, manganese, choline, magnesium, Vitamins B1, B6, E, and more. It’s packed full of nutrients your body needs! If you don’t like broccoli, there are a plethora of recipes available online that will make you change your mind. You’re sure to find the perfect recipe to help you enjoy this flowering vegetable. Broccoli has grown in popularity over the past 35 years due to its convenience, healthy benefits, and availability. Broccoli can be eaten raw or cooked, making it a convenient snack. Instead of picking up that bag of chips, cut up some broccoli and other vegetables to have with dill dip. You’ll get the same crunchy aspects of your favorite snack with the added health benefits.


4. Celery

We all know celery as a crunchy, watery vegetable that tastes slightly salty and bitter, but did you know it has some great health benefits as well? According to Live Science, celery offers a good source of Vitamin K, Fiber, and potassium. Celery is mainly made of water, making it one of the worst greens to eat. Particularly when there are other options available with higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin K is a necessary nutrient for the body that helps to control bleeding. So, if you are Vitamin K deficient, adding celery to your diet will give you 30% of your daily value. If you don’t like celery, there are plenty of other greens available to provide you with all of the necessary vitamins and minerals for your daily intake.

Celery can be eaten raw or cooked. You can also use the leaves of celery in your favorite salad! This vegetable is pretty versatile as far as vegetables go. You can add it to your favorite soups or eat it raw with peanut butter or dill dip. Celery grows wild in marshlands but can also be grown easily in your garden. The best part about celery is that when it is cooked, it retains most of its nutrients, unlike other greens. So, give celery a chance in your diet by adding it to your favorite soups, salads, and casseroles. It tastes great in chicken noodle soup, added to roasts, or even raw with some peanut butter. We’re getting towards the end of our lest! Have you seen your favorite green yet? We still have a few more to go!


3. Red Cabbage

Red cabbage is well-known for its vibrant color and uses in things like coleslaw and salads. This type of cabbage is similar to green cabbage as far as vitamins and minerals go. It’s a versatile vegetable that can be eaten grilled, raw, braised, boiled, steamed, pickled, stewed, and even sauteed. Red cabbage is grown in California, where 270,000 tons of cabbage is harvested every year. A popular vegetable for cabbage rolls and coleslaws, red cabbage has endless possibilities for usage. Do you know how red cabbage gets its color? It contains flavonoids that give it that vibrant red color. Flavonoids are a type of metabolite found in a variety of foods, such as blueberries. The specific flavonoid, in this case, is called anthocyanin, which can also be found in flower petals.

Now to get to the facts about vitamins and minerals. Red cabbage contains an excellent amount of vitamin C that goes 797% above your necessary daily intake. Its also rich in potassium, iron, magnesium, Vitamins B6 and K, and calcium. Adding red cabbage to your diet will help to reduce inflammation, maintain a healthy bone structure, and even keep your digestive system healthy. It is rich in fiber, making it a fantastic food option for those struggling with digestive concerns. This healthy veggie can also give your immune system a boost to help your body remain healthy. If you like red cabbage but you’re stumped on how to use it, there are plenty of yummy recipes available online at websites such as The Food Network, All Recipes, and A Taste of Home.


2. Kohlrabi

Also called a German turnip, kohlrabi is an interesting green from the same family as cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and more. It tastes somewhat sweet and peppery with a mouth-feel similar to that of broccoli stems. It grows underground, similar to beets, but looks like a large, round, white ball with green stems. Kohlrabi has a high amount of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and anthocyanins, putting it in the middle of the pack as far as what you should and shouldn’t eat. Diets rich in Vitamin C have been shown to reduce the risks of premature death, diabetes, and metabolic diseases. Keep reading to learn more about kohlrabi!

Kohlrabi is also rich in fiber, making it a perfect vegetable choice for those with digestive concerns. It can be eaten raw or cooked, but most people prefer to cook it. Kohlrabi originated from Europe and grew best in cool climates with direct sunlight. If you’re interested in growing your own kohlrabi, be sure to have proper drainage as kohlrabi doesn’t do well with excessive water. Did you know kohlrabi is actually a flowering plant? That’s right! Kohlrabi grows cabbage-like leaves that often turn purple or green and has yellow flowers. It’s an interesting vegetable that often gets overlooked. There are two different kinds of kohlrabi – white and purple. Each type has its own distinct taste.


1. Sorrel

Sorrel is another type of herb plant that often gets overlooked for consumption. It’s a member of that buckwheat family, and there are over 200 different species. While some species of sorrel are invasive, others are safe to eat and offer a variety of health benefits. Sorrel grows best in grassy areas and meadows where it can get direct sunlight. You may be curious what sorrel looks like, as most people have never heard of it. Sorrel is a male and female plant. The males have yellow flowers, while the females have red flowers. Sorrel can be used in a variety of ways to make the most out of its health benefits. 

If you’re interested in adding sorrel to your diet, it’s best used in soups, stews, and teas. Sorrel is high in vitamin C and fiber, making it an excellent choice for those with digestive issues. It can help prevent illnesses and works wonderfully as a tea to help you get over an illness like a cold or the flu. Sorrel can also be used in salads to give an additional boost of nutrients. It’s often described as tasting bold with fruity and lemony flavors. Sorrel has a variety of uses in your kitchen and holds up well to cooking into soups and stews, as well as an addition to your favorite drink or salad.