The Latest News about Collard Greens
What's New and Beneficial About Collard Greens
- In a 2011 study by the Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, collard greens turned out to be cheaper than many of their fellow cruciferous vegetables in terms of average U.S. price per edible cup (chopped and cooked). Cauliflower florets, turnip greens, mustard greens, broccoli florets, and kale showed up as being more expensive than collard greens after being trimmed to their edible portion and cooked. Among the cruciferous vegetables, only cabbage turned out to be less expensive than collard greens on a per cup basis (chopped and cooked). The affordable nature of collard greens is great news in terms of nutrition, since this cruciferous vegetable achieves 6 rankings of excellent, 4 rankings of very good, and 11 rankings of good in our WHFoods rating system!
- In a study on indigenous vegetable intake in the southeastern United States, collard greens were determined to provide the 4th greatest amount of antioxidant capacity related to overall dietary intake among 12 nutrient-rich foods in the study. In these research findings, collard greens ranked 4th behind sweet potato greens, mustard greens, and kale. Alongside of the four nutrient-rich greens listed above, this regional study also examined the antioxidant contributions of purple hull peas, rutabagas, eggplant, purslane, butter beans, butter peas, and green onions.
- Intake of collard greens has long been known to have the capacity to lower blood cholesterol levels, including blood levels of LDL cholesterol. But a recent study on cruciferous vegetables has taken our understanding of collards and cholesterol to a new level. In this study, researchers focused on the ability of fiber-like components in vegetables to bind together with bile acids. (When bound together with fiber-like components, bile acids are more readily excreted from our body, and following their excretion, our cells break apart some cholesterol into its component bile acids as a way of replacing the bound bile acids that got excreted. In this study, lab samples were obtained from eight steamed vegetables. These eight vegetables were: collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, green bell pepper, and cabbage. The researchers then measured the ability of all eight vegetable samples to bind bile acids, and the winner of this measurement process was collard greens. In other words, steamed collard greens did a better job of binding together with bile acids than any of the seven other steamed vegetables. In this study, it is also worth noting that both raw collard greens and steamed collard greens showed bile acid binding ability, but steamed collard greens did a better job in this respect.
- We get unique health benefits from collard greens in the form of cancer protection. The cancer-preventive properties of collard greens may be largely related to four specific glucosinolates found in this cruciferous vegetable: glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin. Each of these glucosinolates can be converted into a corresponding isothiocyanate (ITC) that can help lower our cancer risk by supporting our body's detox and anti-inflammatory systems.
- A second study from the southeastern region of the United States has recently caught our attention with respect to collard greens. In this study, researchers determined that among 35 commonly eaten foods in this geographical area, collards came in second (behind chicken) as the most preferred food among older adults. This very high ranking of collard greens took place despite the presence of survey choices like cake and ice cream! We believe that the results of this study are totally in keeping with our experience at WHFoods. Although some people may have preconceptions about the taste and texture of certain foods, and may be convinced that a food like collard greens could never become one of their favorites, we believe that their minds might change after preparing and sitting down to a serving of one of our collard greens recipes, such as our 5-Minute Collard Greens with Sunflower Seeds. That's because many of our website visitors have taken the time to write to us and tell us about exactly such an experience with one or more of our WHFoods.
You'll want to include collard greens as one of the cruciferous vegetables you eat on a regular basis if you want to receive the fantastic health benefits provided by the cruciferous vegetable family. At a minimum, we recommend 3/4 cup of cruciferous vegetables on a daily basis. This amount is equivalent to approximately 5 cups per week. A more optimal intake amount would be 1-1/2 cups per day, or about 10 cups per week. You can use our Veggie Advisor for help in figuring out your best cruciferous vegetable options.
It is very important not to overcook collard greens. Like other cruciferous vegetables overcooked collard greens will begin to emit the unpleasant sulfur smell associated with overcooking. To help collard greens to cook more quickly, evenly slice the leaves into 1/2-inch slices and the stems into 1/4-inch pieces. Let them sit for at least 5 minutes and then steam for 5 minutes Serve with our Mediterranean Dressing. See 5-Minute Collard Greens.
Cruciferous Vegetable Benefits
All cruciferous vegetables—including collard greens—provide integrated nourishment across a wide variety of nutritional categories and provide broad support across a wide variety of body systems as well. For more on cruciferous vegetables see:
Collard greens provide numerous health benefits including:
- Anti-inflammatory benefits
- Antioxidant properties
- Detoxification benefits
- Cardiovascular support
- Digestive support
- Cardiovascular support
For more details on collard green's health benefits, see this section of our dollard greens' write-up.
Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), manganese, vitamin C, dietary fiber and calcium. In addition, collard greens are a very good source of vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and iron. They are also a good source of vitamin E, copper, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B5, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, vitamin B1 and potassium. Phytonutrients in collard greens include phenols like caffeic and ferulic acid, flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol, and glucosinolates like glucobrassicin and glucoraphanin.
Collard Greens and Goitrogens
You may sometimes hear collard greens being described as a food that contains "goitrogens," or as a food that is "goitrogenic." For helpful information in this area—including our WHFoods Recommendations—please see our article What is meant by the term "goitrogen" and what is the connection between goitrogens, food, and health?.
For more on this nutrient-rich vegetable, including references related to this Latest News, see our write-up on collard greens.