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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Marsh

Dark Leafy Greens

Dark Leafy Greens – Top of the List

dark leafy greens

When it comes to superfoods, dark leafy greens take the crown! Packed with chlorophyll, phytonutrients, and antioxidants, these vibrant greens offer a plethora of health benefits. From soluble and insoluble fiber to essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, they are a powerhouse of nutrition, making them a must-add to your daily diet.

Chlorophyll, the green pigment found in plants, is celebrated for its numerous health benefits. Dark leafy greens and sea algae are excellent sources of chlorophyll, making them an essential part of a balanced diet. However, in this article, our focus will be on the wonders of dark leafy greens.

Leafy greens have a unique structure, acting as photosynthetic tissue due to their high vitamin K content, which aids in photosynthesis. Interestingly, they also play a vital role in aiding the digestion of other plant-based foods. There's an abundance of dark leafy greens to explore, and here are some readily available varieties:

Lettuces - Crisp and slightly bitter, rich in vitamins A, C, and K:
  • Romaine

  • Green Leaf

  • Red Leaf

  • Arugula

  • Butterhead

Cruciferous Leafy Greens - Nutrient-rich with glycosylates and minerals like magnesium:
  • Kale

  • Mustard Greens

  • Collard Greens

  • Cabbage

  • Broccoli

Amaranthaceous - Rich in iron:
  • Spinach

  • Swiss Chard

Edible Green Leaves - A variety of phytonutrients:
  • Dandelion

  • Red Clover

  • Watercress

Including dark leafy greens in your daily diet is essential for optimal health. However, many find it challenging to consume enough greens regularly. One fantastic way to incorporate these superfoods is through juicing and making green smoothies. Green smoothies, in particular, have become a popular choice for health-conscious individuals, offering a concentrated burst of nutrition with minimal calories. They are great for clean energy and weight loss, and their high water content helps with hydration.

For those struggling to incorporate enough greens daily, high-quality dark leafy green supplements in concentrated powder form can be a practical solution. These supplements are far superior to sugar-laden, processed juices, soda, or coffee, acting as sustained energy drinks to keep you going throughout the day.

Now, let's indulge in two delicious and nutritious recipes:

green envy juice

Debbie's Green Envy Juice:


  • 3-5 Kale leaves (with stems)

  • 1 handful spinach leaves

  • 3-5 thick sprigs parsley (with stems)

  • 1-2 medium carrots (with leaves)

  • 2 stalks celery (with leaves)

  • 1 apple (recommend Red Delicious variety)

  • Purified water as needed


  1. Clean and cut all vegetables into pieces that fit your juicer.

  2. Turn on the juicer and add the cut ingredients a few pieces at a time for proper juicing.

  3. Once everything is juiced, add some purified water to extract any remaining nutrients from the juicer.

  4. Pour the juice into glasses and serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. This recipe makes 1 to 2 glasses, depending on the glass size.

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: 1 glass

  • Calories: ~100 kcal

  • Total Fat: ~0.5g

  • Saturated Fat: ~0.1g

  • Cholesterol: 0mg

  • Sodium: ~100mg

  • Total Carbohydrates: ~24g

    • Dietary Fiber: ~5g

    • Sugars: ~14g

  • Protein: ~3g

  • Vitamin A: ~260% of the Daily Value (DV)

  • Vitamin C: ~130% of the DV

  • Vitamin K: ~680% of the DV

  • Iron: ~15% of the DV

green smoothie

Basic Green Smoothie:


  • 1 cup purified water or coconut water

  • 2-3 large handfuls baby spinach

  • 1 small banana (peeled)


  1. In a high-speed blender, add all the ingredients in the order listed. For a colder smoothie, add a few cubes of ice.

  2. Blend the ingredients on high until smooth.

  3. Adjust the thickness by adding more liquid if necessary.

  4. Pour into glasses and enjoy! This recipe makes about 1-2 glasses, depending on the size of the glass.

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: 1 glass

  • Calories: ~100 kcal

  • Total Fat: ~0.5g

  • Saturated Fat: ~0.1g

  • Cholesterol: 0mg

  • Sodium: ~50mg

  • Total Carbohydrates: ~25g

  • Dietary Fiber: ~3g

  • Sugars: ~14g

  • Protein: ~2g

  • Vitamin A: ~30% of the DV

  • Vitamin C: ~30% of the DV

  • Vitamin K: ~140% of the DV

  • Potassium: ~15% of the DV

Make dark leafy greens a daily part of your diet to reap the countless health benefits they offer. Whether through delightful juices or refreshing smoothies, you'll find yourself falling in love with these nutrient-rich superfoods!

Note: Both recipes are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, and K, providing a significant portion of the daily recommended intake. They are also low in calories and fat, making them ideal choices for those looking to incorporate more nutrients without excessive caloric intake. However, individual nutritional needs may vary, and it's essential to consider the overall balance of your diet.

Remember to always consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making significant changes to your diet, especially if you have any specific dietary restrictions, allergies, or medical conditions.


Recommend Reading:
  1. "Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health" by Jo Robinson: This book delves into the nutritional history of fruits and vegetables, including dark leafy greens, and provides valuable insights on how to select and prepare these foods for maximum health benefits.

  2. "The Leafy Greens Cookbook: 100 Creative, Flavorful Recipes Starring Super-Healthy Kale, Chard, Spinach, Bok Choy, Collards, and More!" by Kathryn Anible: Discover a variety of delicious and nutritious recipes that showcase different dark leafy greens and how to incorporate them into your daily meals.

  3. "Greens Glorious Greens!: More than 140 Ways to Prepare All Those Great-Tasting, Super-Healthy, Beautiful Leafy Greens" by Johnna Albi and Catherine Walthers: This cookbook offers a wide array of recipes, from salads to main dishes, highlighting the versatility of dark leafy greens.

  4. "Dark Leafy Greens: A Guide to Superfood Greens, Kale, Chard, Spinach, and More" by Jodi L. Stoudt: Learn about the specific health benefits of different dark leafy greens and how to integrate them into your diet for improved well-being.

  5. "The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach" by Annemarie Colbin: While focusing on overall bone health, this book emphasizes the importance of dark leafy greens and other nutrient-dense foods in maintaining strong bones.

  6. "Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables" by World's Healthiest Foods: This online article provides detailed information about the nutritional value and health benefits of various dark leafy greens, as well as tips on selecting, storing, and cooking them.

  7. "Leafy Greens: An Overview of Their Nutritional Profile, Health Benefits, and Conservation" by Ana Rita Lopes et al. (Journal of Food Science and Technology): For a scientific perspective, this research article explores the nutritional content and potential health effects of dark leafy greens.

Remember, while these resources can provide valuable information, it is essential to use critical thinking and consult reputable sources for a well-rounded understanding of the topic. Always seek guidance from qualified health professionals to make informed decisions about your diet and nutrition.

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