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Publication #FAR8030

Green Leafy Vegetables1

Terrell Cummings and Donna Davis2

Figure 1. 
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While there are plenty of people I know who say that chocolate is the only food group we need, reality reminds us that eating a variety of foods with different nutrients is necessary for good health. One food group that many Americans skimp on is the vegetable group, especially the dark green, leafy vegetables. Although young children often don't enjoy the strong taste of some deep green vegetables, serving them in a variety of ways can help them acquire a taste for these nutritional powerhouses.

As a group, the leafy greens are rich in vitamins A and C, dietary fiber, and the minerals iron and calcium (Center for Young Women's Health 2005). The benefits of including these vegetables in your diet are impressive. For example, research indicates that a diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables lowers the risk for a variety of cancers (American Institute for Cancer Research 2007).

Leafy greens include kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and spinach, just to name a few. Many of these vegetables have pungent tastes, which can be an intimidating flavor to some people. If taste is a factor, try various preparation methods, such as combining greens into pastas and casseroles, or serving with rice or potatoes to mellow the flavor. Spinach and arugula are delicious served raw in salads.

No matter how they are prepared, dark green leafy vegetables are a great nutritional boost to any diet. Green is one color you don't want to miss in your or your family's diet!

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

To listen to the radio broadcast:


American Institute for Cancer Research. (2007). Foods that fight cancer: dark green leafy vegetables. Retrieved May 8, 2007, from

The Center for Young Women's Health at Children's Hospital Boston. (2005). Dark green leafy vegetables. Retrieved May 8, 2007, from



This document is FAR8030, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 188 and published February 2008. Revised May 2008. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Terrell Cummings, undergraduate student, and Donna Davis, senior producer, Family Album Radio, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.