Collard greens belong to the Brassica family, the same family as cauliflower, kale cabbage and broccoli. These loose-leafed vegetables are cultivated for their large and edible leaves that are highly nutritious.
Collard greens are a nutrient powerhouse, with excellent levels of minerals and vitamins.
It contains vitamin A, pyridoxine (B6), niacin (B3) and riboflavin (B2), which are important for overall body health. They also contain high levels of vitamin K and C.
Health Benefits of Collard Greens:
1. Bone Health
A low intake of vitamin K has been linked with a higher risk of bone fracture. Vitamin K consumption acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, as it helps in improving calcium absorption, and it may help in reducing urinary excretion of calcium.
Just 1 cup of boiled collard greens provides about 770 micrograms of vitamin K, well over 100% of the daily recommended intake.
2. Boosts Immunity
Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley have discovered that a compound known as 3,3′-diindolylmethane in collard greens, is a powerful modulator of the natural immune response system with potent antibacterial, anticancer and antiviral, activity.
3. Cancer Prevention
High intake of cruciferous vegetables, like collard greens, has been linked with a lower risk of developing lung, colorectal, and prostate cancer.
Recent studies have shown that glucosinolates, which is a sulfur-containing compound present in collard greens, may be effective against melanoma, pancreatic cancer and esophageal cancer. They become biologically active when they are converted to thiocyanates, indoles and isothiocyanates through chewing or the digestive process.
This natural killing compound has been shown to neutralize cancer-killing chemicals, reduce inflammation and prevent the formation and metastasis tumors.
4. Digestive Health
The fiber content of collard greens, which is over 7 grams in every cup, makes this cruciferous vegetable a natural choice for digestive system support.
The fiber content of collard greens is only 1 of their digestive support mechanisms. Studies have determined that the sulforaphane, which is made from a glucosinolate in collard greens or (glucoraphanin), helps in protecting the health of the stomach lining, by preventing bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori in your stomach or too much clinging of this bacterium to your stomach wall.
5. Hair and Skin Health
Collard greens can benefit your skin because of its high vitamin A content. Vitamin A is necessary for sebum production, to keep your hair moisturized. Also, vitamin A is important for the growth of all bodily tissues, including your hair and skin.
Adequate intake of vitamin C is necessary for the maintenance and building of collagen, which provides structure to hair and skin. Just 1 cup of boiled collard greens provides over 50% of a person’s daily needs.
Iron-deficiency is a common cause of hair loss, and adequate intake of iron-containing foods like collard greens is a good remedy. Kack of iron in one’s diet can affect how efficiently your body uses energy. Collard greens, lentils, spinach, eggs and tuna are good sources of iron.
6. Heart Health
Collard greens help in reducing inflammation, and due to this, they impact your cardiovascular health. Vitamin K, which is rich in collard greens, is an essential nutrient for reducing inflammation and protecting the cells that line blood vessels, including both arteries and veins.
Vitamin K has been reported to help in preventing calcification of arteries, which is one of the leading causes of heart attacks. This works by carrying calcium out of the arteries and preventing it to form into hard, dangerous plaque deposits.
This vegetable is a natural remedy for high blood pressure and reduces your risk of health conditions including heart attack, stroke and diabetes.
7. Lowers Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance, which is made by the liver and required by your body for the proper function of cells, nerves and hormones. It travels in the fatty acids of your bloodstream and can build up in the walls of the arteries, therefore decreasing the flow of blood to vital areas of your body.
Collard greens lower cholesterol naturally because of its leaves, which are rich in fiber. Soluble fiber binds the cholesterol in your digestive system, causing it to be excreted by the body.
A study that was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, reported that fiber supplement provides significant and sustained reductions in LDL or bad cholesterol. This is without reducing the HDL or good cholesterol, or increasing triglycerides over a 51-week treatment period.