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Collard greens can grow in the garden during the winter, make a 'guilt-free' snack

Collard greens are perfect for the winter garden - and for the dinner plate. These southern favorites pack a lot of nutrition and are in season in January.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Collard greens are a southern favorite, and thrive in cooler weather months. We have a patch of Collard greens growing in Gandy's Garden at News 19. It turns out these beautiful winter greens pack a lot of nutrition too!

Why you may want to eat more collard greens?

Collard greens are part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Some of these noteworthy greens include bok choy, kale, broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts. They contain nutrients that can play an important role in a healthful diet.

The 2015-2020 United States Dietary Guidelines recommend that women between consume 90 mcg a day of vitamin K, and men of the same age consume 120 mcg. It turns out, one cup of collard greens provides this much vitamin K several times over. To be exact, one cup of boiled collard greens provides 770 micrograms of vitamin K.

What are the health benefits of collard greens? 

Vitamin K can help decrease the risk of fractured bones and osteoporosis. It does this by helping the body absorb and hold onto the calcium it needs to be strong.

On top of vitamin K collard greens have sulfur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates.  According to a 2012 study published in the Annals of Oncology, these compounds may help prevent the cancer process at different stages of development for lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers, and possibly melanoma, esophageal cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

There is also evidence that collard greens and other green vegetables containing high amounts of chlorophyll can help to block the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines. These substances are generated when grilling foods at a high temperature.

According to another study, Collard greens can help control blood sugar and digestion. 

One cup of boiled collard greens provides nearly 8 grams of fiber. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 22.4 to 28 grams of fiber a day for women, depending on age, and 28 to 33.6 grams a day for men.

Results of a study published in 2014 suggest that a high intake of fiber might reduce inflammation and glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes. The Fiber in collard greens may also help people with type 2 diabetes to achieve better levels of blood sugar, lipids, and insulin.

Collard greens are high in both fiber and water content. Together These help to prevent constipation, promote regularity, and maintain a healthy digestive tract.

Collard greens can help keep skin and hair healthy too.

Collard greens have a high itamin A content. Vitamin A is necessary for sebum production, and this keeps hair moisturized. It also supports the immune system eyes and helps keep the body's organs healthy.

A cup of boiled collard greens provides nearly 35 mg of vitamin C. This is about half the recommended amount required for optimal health. An adult woman needs 75 mg of vitamin C a day, and a man needs 90 mg. Vitamin C enables the body to build and maintain levels of collagen, which provides structure to both skin and hair.

One cup of boiled collard greens provides 2.5 mg of iron. Adults need to consume 8 mg of iron a day, and women during their reproductive years need 18 mg.

Iron prevents anemia, a common cause of hair loss. A lack of iron in the diet can also affect how efficiently the body uses energy. Collard greens, spinach, lentils, tuna, and eggs are good sources of iron to help those energy levels.

At the end of the day collard green help you relax and stay happy.

Collard greens contain choline, an important neurotransmitter. Folate present in chlorine may help reduce the risk of depressive symptoms in some people. Overall chlorine helps with mood, sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory functions.

Collard green nutrition

One cup of boiled collard greens, drained and without added salt, contains:

For more information on collard green nutritional info, Cick here: USDA

  • 63 calories
  • 5.15 g (g) of protein
  • 1.37 g of fat
  • 10.73 g of carbohydrate, including 7.6 g of fiber and less than 1 g of sugar
  • 268 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 2.15 mg of iron
  • 40 mg of magnesium
  • 61 mg of phosphorus
  • 222 mg of potassium
  • 28 mg of sodium
  • 0.44 mg of zinc
  • 34.6 mg of vitamin C
  • 30 mcg of folate
  • 722 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A (RAE)
  • 1.67 mg of vitamin E
  • 772.5 mcg of vitamin K

Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, a rich source of vitamin K, and a good source of iron, vitamin B-6, and magnesium.  They also contain thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and choline.

Risks of eating foods high in Vitamin K. 

People who use blood-thinners, such as Coumadin or warfarin, should not suddenly increase or decrease their intake of foods containing vitamin K, as it plays a major role in blood clotting.  Check in with your doctor if you have a question about collard greens and your health condition or medication.

The most important factor in achieving good health and avoiding disease is the overall diet, not a specific food item. Choose collard greens as part of a varied diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Collard green recipes

You can use collard greens:

  • raw in salads or on sandwiches or wraps
  • braised, boiled, or sautéed
  • in soups and casseroles

Try a collard green wrap. They are similar to lettuce wraps however a bit longer lasting and easier to pack for lunch.  Collard leaves are bigger and stronger than most lettuce leaves so you can make burrito-like wraps without them falling apart. If you haven’t tried them because you’re not a huge raw collard green person, once you stuff the leaf with hummus and veggies, you won’t even realize you’re using healthy collard leaf instead of a flour wrap.

If you have some leaves left over, store them in a freezer safe zip lock bag. 

You can add a handful of collard greens to a favorite smoothie. This provides extra nutrients without changing the flavor significantly.

You can make collard-green chips easy like this:

  • Remove the ribs from the collard greens.
  • Toss the leaves in extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Bake them at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 to 30 minutes until they are crisp.
  • Sprinkle lightly with your favorite seasoning. A few ideas; a combination of cumin, curry powder, chili powder, roasted red pepper flakes, and garlic powder or even a touch of Parmesan cheese.


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