What are the health benefits of collard greens?


By Megan Ware RDN LD - Medical News Today



Collards are among many of the leafy vegetables Sampson County farmers grow each year. According to Sampson’s Cooperative Extension, some 1,200 acres of the greens are grown across the area. These nutrition powerhouses pack in lots of nutrients for a little amount of calories.


Collards are among many of the leafy vegetables Sampson County farmers grow each year. According to Sampson’s Cooperative Extension, some 1,200 acres of the greens are grown across the area. These nutrition powerhouses pack in lots of nutrients for a little amount of calories.


Collard greens are part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, rutabaga and turnips. These nutrition powerhouses pack in lots of nutrients for a little amount of calories. If you are trying to eat healthier, cruciferous vegetables like collard greens should be at the very top of your grocery list.

Nutritional breakdown of collard greens

One cup of boiled collard greens contains 63 calories, 5 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 11 grams of carbohydrate (including 8 grams of fiber and 1 gram of sugar), over 250percent of your daily needs for vitamin A, over 50 percent of your daily needs for vitamin C, 26percent of calcium needs, 12percent of iron and 10percent of both vitamin B-6 and magnesium.

Collard greens are an extremely rich source of vitamin K and also contain folate, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, choline, phosphorus and potassium.

Possible health benefits of consuming collard greens

Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like collard greens decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy and an overall lower weight.

Collard greens are an extremely rich source of vitamin K and also contain folate, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, choline, phosphorus and potassium.

Bone health: Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption is important for good health, as it acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption and may reduce urinary excretion of calcium.

One cup of boiled collard greens provides a whopping 770 micrograms of vitamin K; well over 100percent of the daily-recommended need.

Collard greens and other green vegetables that contain high amounts of chlorophyll have been shown to be effective at blocking the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines, which are generated when grilling foods at a high temperature. If you tend to like your grilled foods charred, make sure to pair them with green vegetables to help negate these effects.

Collard greens also contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes. Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have also shown decreases in peripheral neuropathy and/or autonomic neuropathy in diabetics.

Digestion: Collard greens are high in both fiber and water content, which help to prevent constipation, promote regularity and maintain a healthy digestive tract.

Healthy skin and hair: Collard greens are also great for your skin because they are packed full of vitamin A, a nutrient required for sebum production that keeps hair moisturized. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair.

Adequate intake of vitamin C (one cup of boiled collard greens provides over 50 percent of daily needs) is needed for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.

Iron-deficiency is a common cause of hair loss, which can be prevented by an adequate intake of iron-containing foods like collard greens. Not getting enough iron in your diet can also effect how efficiently your body uses energy. Collard greens are a great non-heme source of iron, along with spinach, lentils, tuna and eggs.

Sleep and mood: The choline in collard greens is an important nutrient that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.6 Folate, also found in choline, may help with depression by preventing an excess of homocysteine from forming in the body, which can prevent blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain. Excess homocysteine interferes with the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate not only mood, but also sleep and appetite as well.7

How to incorporate more collard greens into your diet

Look for collard greens that have firm, deep green leaves. Smaller leaves will be tenderer and have a milder flavor. Store collard greens in the refrigerator to keep fresh.

Collard greens with bacon

Collard greens can be enjoyed raw in salads or on sandwiches or wraps, braised, boiled, sautéed or added to soups and casseroles.

Collard greens can be enjoyed raw in salads or on sandwiches or wraps, braised, boiled, sautéed or added to soups and casseroles.

Try sautéing fresh garlic and onions in extra-virgin olive oil until soft then add collard greens and continue to sauté until desired tenderness. Avoid frying in bacon fat or lard and make sure to not overcook your greens, which will cause them to have a more potent and bitter sulfur taste. Add black-eyed peas and brown rice for a healthier version of this southern favorite.

Collard green chips: Remove the ribs from the collard greens and toss in extra-virgin olive oil or lightly spray and sprinkle with your choice or a combination of cumin, curry powder, chili powder, roasted red pepper flakes or garlic powder. Bake at 275 degrees F for 15-30 minutes to desired crispness.

In a food processor or a high-speed blender, add a handful of collard greens to your favorite smoothie for a nutrient blast without a big change in flavor.

Collards are among many of the leafy vegetables Sampson County farmers grow each year. According to Sampson’s Cooperative Extension, some 1,200 acres of the greens are grown across the area. These nutrition powerhouses pack in lots of nutrients for a little amount of calories.
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_012A3500-1.jpgCollards are among many of the leafy vegetables Sampson County farmers grow each year. According to Sampson’s Cooperative Extension, some 1,200 acres of the greens are grown across the area. These nutrition powerhouses pack in lots of nutrients for a little amount of calories.

Collards are among many of the leafy vegetables Sampson County farmers grow each year. According to Sampson’s Cooperative Extension, some 1,200 acres of the greens are grown across the area. These nutrition powerhouses pack in lots of nutrients for a little amount of calories.
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_012A3497-1.jpgCollards are among many of the leafy vegetables Sampson County farmers grow each year. According to Sampson’s Cooperative Extension, some 1,200 acres of the greens are grown across the area. These nutrition powerhouses pack in lots of nutrients for a little amount of calories.

By Megan Ware RDN LD

Medical News Today

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