Welcome to this week’s collard greens spotlight! (The leaves on the right in the picture above).
Commonly known as a southern dish, collard greens are a large leafy green that are part of the cruciferous family of vegetables. It grows as a large, dark-colored, edible leaf in a variety of areas. While they can be grown year round, Collard Greens enjoy a warmer environment, but a touch of frost can improve flavor. They have a mild, smoky flavor. Let’s dive into the health benefits.
1 cup of Collard Greens chopped is only 49 calories and includes 1058% of vitamin K, 308% of vitamin A, 41% of manganese, 58% of vitamin C, and 21% of fiber. They also include calcium, iron, VB-6, magnesium, folate, thiamin, niacin, choline, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.
Detox Support: Collard greens contain phytonutrients called glucosinolates that can help activate detoxification enzymes and regulate their activity. When we fail to give our body’s detox system adequate nutritional support and expose ourselves to unwanted toxins through our lifestyle and our dietary choices, we place our bodies at increased risk of toxin-related damage that can lead to cancer.
Antioxidant Benefits: As an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, and vitamin E, collard greens provide us with 4 core conventional antioxidants. But they also provide caffeic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol that are among the key antioxidant phytonutrients provided by collard greens. This broad spectrum antioxidant support helps lower the risk of oxidative stress in our cells. By providing us with such a great array of antioxidant nutrients, collard greens help lower our cancer risk by helping us avoid chronic and unwanted oxidative stress.
Anti-inflammatory Benefits: As an excellent source of vitamin K and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA), collard greens provide us with two hallmark anti-inflammatory nutrients. Vitamin K acts as a direct regulator of our inflammatory response, and ALA is the building block for several of the body’s most widely-used families of anti-inflammatory messaging molecules.
Cardiovascular Support: collards can lower your risk of a heart attack, ischemic heart disease, and atherosclerosis. Collard greens can also lower your cholesterol.
Cholesterol Fighter: The cholesterol-lowering ability of collard greens may be the greatest of all commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. When digested, collard greens help bind bile acids together to help remove them. Since bile acids are made from cholesterol, the net impact of bile acid binding lowers the body’s cholesterol level. The cholesterol-lowering ability of raw collard greens improves significantly when they are steamed.
Digestive Support: The fiber content of collard greens—over 7 grams in every cup—makes this cruciferous vegetable a natural choice for digestive system support. The sulforaphane made from a glucosinolate in collard greens also helps protect the health of our stomach lining.
Bone health: Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk of bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption is important for good health, as it acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins and improves calcium absorption. Vitamin K also has the beneficial effect in Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.
Healthy skin and hair: Collard greens are 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 is needed for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.
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. 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.
That’s it on the Collard Greens Spotlight. Please also check out the recipe for this week if you haven’t already.
Stay Healthy! 🙂