If you’re planning to add more greens in your diet, try collard greens, also known as collards. These loose-leafed vegetables are commonly grown in the southern parts of the world, including Portugal, Brazil, and the southern U.S. These greens are a great addition to your diet because they offer these health benefits:
Collard greens are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients: They may not be as popular as kale or spinach, but collard greens are also highly nutritious. These greens contain high amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, folate, manganese, and calcium. They are also a good source of fiber and protein, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and E, betaine, choline, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.
Collard greens may protect against cancer: They contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxification properties that could help treat and protect against cancer. They are rich in sulfur-containing compounds like glucosinolates that are mainly responsible for their cancer-fighting potential. Animal studies have shown that these compounds are effective against different forms of cancer, including bladder, breast, colon, esophageal, liver, lung, melanoma, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Collard greens are also rich in chlorophyll that help block the cancer-causing effects of heterocyclic amines that are released when grilling foods at high temperatures.
Collard greens detoxify the body: Collard greens help remove toxins from the body because of their isothiocyanate and glutathione content. Regularly eating these cruciferous vegetables can help the body get rid of toxins that come from pharmaceutical drugs, pesticides, pollutants, and processed foods.
Collard greens strengthen the bones: Since these greens are rich in vitamin K, they can help keep the bones healthy. Vitamin K serves as a modifier of bone matrix proteins and enhances calcium absorption. Studies have also shown that this vitamin increases bone mineral density and reduces fracture rates in people with osteoporosis.
Collard greens are good for your skin and hair: As mentioned earlier, collard greens contain vitamins A and C and iron -- which are good for the skin and hair. Vitamin A helps prevent acne and is needed for sebum production, which helps keep the hair moisturized. Lack of this vitamin can result in poor skin complexion. Vitamin C helps the body produce and maintain collagen, which provides skin and hair structure. Iron helps prevent anemia, which is a common cause of hair loss.
Collard greens support the digestive system: Collards’ fiber and water content aid in digestion and help treat digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The glucoraphanin in collard greens also provide protection in the stomach lining by inhibiting bacterial overgrowth and preventing bacteria from sticking to the stomach wall.
Collard greens keep the heart healthy: Collard greens’ anti-inflammatory properties has a positive effect on cardiovascular health. Their vitamin K and fiber content is also good for the heart. Vitamin K can protect cells that line the blood vessels, arteries, and veins, as well as prevent the calcification of arteries, which can result in heart attacks. Fiber, on the other hand, can help lower cholesterol levels.
Collard greens reduce glaucoma risk: Consumption of vegetables rich in vitamins A and C -- like collard greens -- can help lower the risk of an eye disease that can lead to optic nerve damage called glaucoma by 57 percent, according to a study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology.