Collard greens are highly nutritious staple green “cabbage-like leaves” vegetable. Collards are one of the most popular members of the Brassica family, closely related to kale and cabbage and could be described as a non-heading (acephalous) cabbage. Collards are probably originated in the eastern European or Asia Minor region and now days grown almost all parts of the cooler temperate regions. The plant grows up to 3-4 feet in height and bears dark-green leaves arranged in a rosette fashion around an upright, stocky main stem.
- Wonderfully nutritious collard leaves are very low in calories (provide only 30 calories per 100 g) and contain no cholesterol. However, its green leaves contain a very good amount of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber that helps control LDL cholesterol levels and offer protection against hemorrhoids, constipation as well as colon cancer diseases.
- Widely considered to be wholesome foods, collards are rich in invaluable sources of phyto-nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as di-indolyl-methane (DIM) and sulforaphane that have proven benefits against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers by virtue of their cancer-cell growth inhibition and cytotoxic effects on cancer cells.
- Di-indolyl-methane has also found to be effective immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties by potentiating Interferon-gamma receptors.
- The leaves are also an excellent source of folates, provides about 166 µg or 41.5% of RDA. Folates are important in DNA synthesis and when given during the peri-conception period can prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
- Fresh collard leaves are also rich in vitamin-C, provides about 59% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural anti-oxidant that offers protection against free radical injury and flu-like viral infections.
- Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin-A (222% of RDA per 100 g) and carotenoid anti-oxidants such as lutein, carotenes, zea-xanthin, crypto-xanthin, etc. These compounds are scientifically found to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A also required maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is also essential for healthy vision. Consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- This leafy vegetable contains amazingly high levels of vitamin-K, provides staggering 426% of recommended daily levels per 100 leaves. Vitamin K has a potential role in the increase of bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bone. It also has the beneficial effect in Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.
- Collards are rich in many vital B-complex groups of minerals such as niacin (vitamin B-3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and riboflavin.
- Further, the leaves and stems are good in minerals like iron, calcium, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc.