The Importance Of Green Leafy Vegetables For An Energized Heart

Written by Rama Manikumar on Tue, 01 August 2023 — Fact checked by Dr. Pramod Mane

Key Highlights

  • A heart-healthy diet must contain all essential nutrients, fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
  • 5 to 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day lowered death risk by 36.
  • Some heart-healthy green vegetables include kale, spinach, lettuce, and broccoli.
  • Smoothies, juice, and salads are a great way to eat.

By now you know that the foods you eat plays a significant role in how healthy and happy your heart is. A poor diet is a key risk factor for many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, cancer, and respiratory conditions. CVD affects approximately 17.9 million people annually and significantly impacts global healthcare costs. If you are looking for a natural and tasty way to promote heart health, you might be surprised to learn that some of the best foods for your heart are actually green!

From leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables to herbs and spices, these vibrant and nutrient-packed plant foods are some of the most heart-healthy choices you can make. Packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients, green foods can help protect your heart from disease and promote optimal cardiovascular function.

Whether you’re looking to improve your cholesterol levels, lower your blood pressure, or reduce your risk of heart disease, incorporating more green foods into your diet is a simple and effective way to support your heart health.

So, let’s explore the many benefits of these powerful plant foods and discover how they can help you achieve optimal heart health!

Benefits of eating leafy green vegetables

The benefits of Green Leafy Veggies for heart health

Research has shown a strong correlation between the regular intake of vegetables of the dark green family and a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Nitrate is widely available in the diet, with vegetable sources accounting for approximately 60%–80% of total daily consumption. Nitrates are available in abundance in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce as well as fennel, rocket, radishes, Chinese cabbage, and parsley.

  • Acute intakes of inorganic nitrate significantly lower resting BP, reduce arterial stiffness and platelet aggregation, and improve endothelial function, all major risk factors for the development CVD
  • Dark green leafy vegetables are recommended weekly in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calorie-based, 0.5 cups to 2.5 cups per week)
  • Green leafy vegetables, high in phylloquinone, lutein, nitrate, folate, -tocopherol, and kaempferol, as well as about one serving of these every day, may help reduce the cognitive impairment that comes with aging
  • 36% of mortality risk reduced by eating 5 to 7 fruits and vegetables daily
  • 29% risk reduction with 3-5 servings
  • 14% risk reduction with 1-3 servings

Green vegetables for better heart health

The benefits of Green Leafy Veggies for heart health

Research indicates a 12% decreased risk of CVD with 5 servings of vegetables per day. Vegetable nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants have been linked to a lower incidence of CV.

Here are some green leafy vegetable benefits that come with heart-healthy nutrients:

1. Spinach

This widely used and favored green vegetable can be found in many different cuisines, soups, and salads. It is high in iron, manganese, zinc, and magnesium, as well as vitamins E, A, C, K, B1, B6, and riboflavin.

There is evidence that vitamins like A, D, E, B6, B9, and C have a significant impact on how the heart functions.

2. Kale

Kale has an abundant number of vitamins, flavonoids, and minerals. It has a sweet, somewhat bitter taste and a similar appearance to lettuce and Swiss chard. Kale has long been used in traditional medicine to prevent and treat a variety of health disorders.

  • 100 gm of raw kale give 2.9 g of protein.
  • 4.4 g of carbohydrates, 4.1 g of fibre, and only1.49 g of fats, according to the USDA database.
  • It has more iron (1.6 mg/100 g) than meat.
  • 2-3 times more calcium (254 mg/100 g) than milk.
  • 3-4 times more folic acid (241 ug/100 g) than eggs.
  • Twice as much vitamin C (93.4 mg/100 g) as oranges.

3. Lettuce

Lettuce is a good source of antioxidants like vitamins C, E, and anthocyanin.

The antioxidants, fiber, and micronutrients in lettuce increase lipoprotein levels and have a variety of intriguing impacts on CVD risk factors

4. Swiss chard

Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable high in magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin A. Swiss chard reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease when consumed regularly.

A daily intake of 1.5 servings of leafy greens, such as Swiss chard, reduced the risk of heart disease by 17%.

5. Broccoli

Broccoli is a good source of riboflavin, vitamins A and C, phosphorus, iron, and phosphorus. Broccoli eating may be heart-healthy.

Broccoli provided considerable cardio protection, based on improved postischemic ventricular function and decreased myocardial infarct size.

6. Collard greens

Collard greens are high in vitamins A, K, B-6, and C, as well as calcium, iron, and magnesium. They lower cholesterol and blood pressure, enhancing general heart health.

In the DASH and Mediterranea diets, greens leafy vegetables are naive. Maintaining a DASH or Mediterranean diet can be good for your heart's health. According to studies, the Mediterranean diet reduced the chance of developing heart disease by 50% to 70%.

How to consume green leafy vegetables the right way 

Now that you are aware of which green vegetables to eat, it’s crucial to understand the proper way to consume them.

To prevent nutritional loss, vegetables should be chopped shortly before cooking, if feasible by hand or with metal tools with as little contact as possible.

Now that you are aware of the best way to consume, let’s find a delicious dish in which greens are enhanced and easily consumed.

1. Smoothies

You can blend spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens with various fruits, almond milk, and honey to make smoothies.

2. Salads

Add veggies to salads, season with healthy oil such as vitamin E oil and sauce to add flavor, and eat nutrient-dense meals.

3. Soups

Prepare nutritious soups to keep your heart healthy and strong.

4. Sandwich

Have a healthy snack every day by stuffing your sandwich with green leafy vegetables.


When it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease and promoting heart health, lifestyle factors such as nutrition play a critical role. One of the most powerful dietary choices you can make is to incorporate more green leafy vegetables into your diet. These plant-based powerhouses are packed with essential nutrients, fiber, and bioactive compounds that can help lower your risk of heart disease and improve your overall cardiovascular health. To get the most benefit from these nutrient-dense foods, it's important to choose the right preparation and cooking techniques.

So, whether you prefer to enjoy your greens raw in a salad or lightly steamed, make sure to include these heart-healthy foods in your diet to give your heart the nourishment it needs to thrive!


Rama Manikumar

Rama is a nutritionist and a lifestyle consultant. Having worked in the health industry for more than 20 years, her expertise in health and well-being brings a fresh and healthy approach to everyday habits- food and lifestyle. She walks the talk and delivers excellent quality nutrition, and helps develop habits that peak health & Well- being. Rama Holds a Batchelor’s degree in Biology; Extended/Specialized degree in Nutrition & Dietetics (Pennsylvania State Univ. USA).

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Our team of experts frequently monitors developments in the health and wellness field, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

Aug, 01 2023

Written By

Rama Manikumar

Fact checked By

Dr. Pramod Mane