Collard greens is the American English name for various loose-leafed cultivars of Brassica oleracea, plants that are grown for their large, dark-colored, edible leaves. Collards belong to the Brassica family of vegetables, to which kale, cabbage, cauliflower, spring greens among others belong to too. Collard greens are considered to be a nutritional powerhouse and one of the most nutritious foods per calorie
Nutritional Content of Collards
Collards are good sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K and soluble fiber, and contain multiple nutrients with potent anticancer properties, such as DIM (diindolylmethane) and sulforaphane. In addition, collards are a source of manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium in trace, yet beneficial amounts.
Health Benefits of Collards
1. Lung health: Collard greens are exceptionally effective at boosting and helping to maintain healthy lung conditions. Smoke and other pollutants lead to a deficiency of vitamin A in the body, which induces the development of lung diseases such as emphysema. To make up for this, one should intake high amounts of vitamin A, which can be achieved by the regular consumption of collard greens.
2. Collard greens are high in folate and vitamin B6, which are required for cellular methylation, a process in which homocysteine, a potentially dangerous molecule to blood vessels and the cardiovascular system is made benign.
3. High amounts of vitamin K present in collards helps form healthy bones and is essential to prevent blood clotting. Vitamin K also has the beneficial effect in Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.
4. Niacin found in collard greens is an immense vitamin for managing and counteracting cardiovascular defects. Niacin helps reduce levels of cholesterol and prevent heart diseases, diabetes, atherosclerosis and cardiac arrest.
5. Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin A and carotenoid antioxidants such as lutein, carotenes, zea-xanthin, crypto-xanthin, etc. Vitamin A maintains healthy mucus membranes and skin and is also essential for healthy vision.
6. Collards are invaluable sources of the potent anticancer phytonutrients DIM and sulforaphane that have been proven beneficial against prostate, breast, colon, ovarian and cervical cancers by virtue of their cancer-cell growth inhibition and cytotoxic effect on cancer cells.
7. The wonderfully nutritious collard greens help control LDL cholesterol levels and offer protection against hemorrhoids, constipation and colon cancers owing to the good amounts of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.
8. Collard greens are an important non-dairy source of calcium that is absorbed very well into the body. Calcium is crucial to good bone health and can prevent osteoporosis and other bone ailments.
9. Vitamin C is important in maintaining overall immunity in the body including boosting healthy bones, blood vessels, skin etc. and collard greens are a good source of it.
10. Collard greens are rich in riboflavin which is important in the regeneration of glutathione, which is regarded as one of the most important antioxidants in the body that protects cholesterol from free radical damage.
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