Collard Greens – Harness the Nutritional Power of These Healthiest Foods
Collard greens are leafy vegetables that belong to the cruciferous family. They feature firm, dark green leaves and taste like kale and cabbage. These nutritious leaves contain essential nutrients that your body needs to stay active and fit. A healthy diet is incomplete with these superfoods. It is mainly used in a plant-based or vegetarian diet. The best thing about collard greens is that they are high in nutrients and low in calories.
Whether you are following a paleo diet, keto diet, vegetarian diet or any other healthy diet, these hearty cruciferous vegetables are versatile enough and possess innumerable health benefits. There are a number of creative ways to add collard greens to your diet – lunch wraps, spring rolls, salads, curries, and a lot more. You can prepare these leafy greens in a way you like most.
Cruciferous veggies include:
- Brussels sprouts
- Bok choy
Why You Should Eat Collard Greens?
There are hundreds of thousands of reasons to add collard greens to your diet. They are nutritionally rich and contain more chlorophyll that contains all the essential nutrients that keep you healthy. Collard greens are one of the richest sources of vitamin K. They are packed with vitamin A, C, B9 and healthy fatty acids that are good for your overall health. Furthermore, collards contain high fiber content and rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium which are important for performing important functions.
One of the best things about adding collard greens to your diet is that they are flavorsome and can make yumilicious meals. These leafy vegetables are available in every season – fall, winter, and spring. You can harness the nutrient richness of collard greens all year-round.
Nutritional Value of Collards
One cup of boiled collard greens contains:
- Calories: 63
- Protein: 5.15g
- Fat: 1.37g
- Carbohydrates: 10.73
- Vitamin K: 772.5 mcg
- Calcium: 268mg
- Iron: 40mg
- Phosphorus: 61mg
- Potassium: 222mg
- Sodium: 28 mg
- Zinc: 0.44mg
- Vitamin C: 34.6mg
- Folate: 30mcg
- Vitamin A: 722 mcg
- Vitamin E: 1.67mg
Things to Consider When Cooking Collard Greens
When it comes to preparing collard greens, it is important to keep these points in mind:
Cut off the Stems
Many people can’t be able to digest collard greens; if you are one of those, it is recommended to remove the entire stem part and only use leaves for cooking.
Cook until they are tender
If you want your gut to digest leafy greens easily, it is advised to cook them until they are tender and achieve a bright, deep green color.
To enhance the flavor of collards, simply sauté them in oil for several minutes. Add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor.
Some Creative Ideas to Cook Collard Greens
Make a Delicious Salad
Collards can be eaten raw in the form of salads and slaws. Use your favorite veggies and collards to make a healthy salad.
Make Collard Wraps
Use hummus, sprouts, avocado, or your favorite filling to make delicious collard wraps. You can make burritos, tacos, vegetable rolls, and even burgers with these nutritious leaves.
Sauté collards until tender and add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to enhance the taste.
Make Collard Green Chips
It is a creative and scrumptious way to eat collard green that can also be used as a healthy snack option. Toss the leaves in oil, bake them until crisp.
Steam the leaves for 10 minutes, add peppers, herbs, spices, chopped onions for added flavor.
Blanch the Greens
Blanch a bunch of collards to make your favorite pesto. Add parmesan olive oil and other ingredients to make it more flavorsome.
Make a Nutritious Smoothie
You can use collards to make a delicious green smoothie. Add dark green leaves to your favorite smoothie to get extra nutrition. Simply blend the leaves with other ingredients. Don’t forget to remove the hard center rib.
Make a Soup
Make your favorite winter soup with these nutrient-dense leafy greens. Add chopped collard leaves in chicken broth and season it with salt, red pepper flakes, or your favorite seasoning.
Add Them into Meaty Dish
If you want to enhance the nutritional value of your next meal, consider adding chopped collard greens to your favorite chicken recipe.
Health Benefits of Collard Greens
Promote Healthy Bones
Leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamin K that is considered an important bone material that can improve calcium absorption. You can get a healthy dose of vitamin K by simply eating collard greens to promote bone health and lower your risk of developing osteoporosis, bone fracture, and other bone-related issues.
May Prevent Cancer
Many studies have shown that people who eat leafy greens have a lower risk of developing certain cancers, such as colorectal cancer, kidney cancer, prostate cancer, upper digestive tract and lung cancer. It is because collards are rich in sulfur-containing compounds, glucosinolates that can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. A study suggests that consumption of cruciferous vegetables can lower the risk of breast cancer.
Healthy Liver Function
Many studies suggest that consuming collard greens can support the liver to perform actively.
These nutritious vegetables contain more fiber and water content which is key to promote healthy digestion. They can prevent constipation, regularize bowel movements, and maintain a healthy digestive system.
Good Skin and Hair
Add cruciferous vegetables to your skincare diet and achieve a natural glow. Collard greens are loaded with vitamin A which is important for sebum production and keeping your hair moisturized. Vitamin A is important for skin and hair growth, boosts the immune system, promotes eye health and keeps your organs functioning properly. They also contain vitamin C, which is important for collagen production, which is important for healthy skin.
Collards contain choline which is an important neurotransmitter that is mainly responsible for improving mood, sleep patterns, muscle movement, memory function, and learning ability. Choline can also help with depression and lower the risk of depressive symptoms.
Control Blood Sugar Levels
A high intake of collards can reduce glucose levels in people with diabetes. The high fiber content and alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) are responsible for lowering glucose levels, increasing insulin sensitivity, thus treating diabetes.
Nutritious and Super easy Collard Greens Recipes
Collard Greens with Ham and Smoked Hock
- Quick Braised Collards with Pot Liquor
- Ethiopian Spiced Collards
- Cast Iron Collard Greens
- Collard Roll-Ups with Coconut Curry Kale
- Polenta Al Forno With Collard Greens, Cheddar & Ricotta
- Braised Chicken Legs with White Beans and Collard Greens
- Braised Greens with Tomatoes
- Brazilian-Style Collard Greens
- Mean Green Collard Terrine
- Beer and Bacon Braised Collard Greens
- Sautéed Greens with Pine Nuts and Raisins
- Fried Eggs & Collard Greens over Polenta
Over to You
Collard greens are nutrient-packed superfoods that are vital for good health. They are available year-round and can be cooked in a number of delicious ways. Add collards to your diet and harness their nutritional and medicinal benefits.