Cruciferous Vegetable: Nutritional Value of Collard Greens and Health Benefis of Collard Greens. Extraordinary Health Benefits Collards. Collards Greens are high in nutrients and low in calorie.
Collard greens are a part of cruciferous vegetables and they belong to the same family of cabbage. Collard greens are very similar to kale and mustard greens. It’s a quite popular vegetable throughout the world especially in Southern America. This vegetable normally contains dark blue green leaves but they come in different varieties as well. This leafy vegetable is considered good for the health for its strong nutrient compounds. Along with the important vitamins and minerals, collard greens contain impressive source of phytonutrients. These phytonutrients or phytochemicals are important for providing protection against many deadly diseases. Studies on this leafy vegetable showed that it’s an important food for health and responsible for some extraordinary health benefits.
Collard Greens Nutrition – Nutritional Value of Collard Greens
Nutritional profile of collard greens is very long and it is quite understandable why they provide such important health benefits. Collard greens are an excellent source of three very important vitamins – Vitamin K, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. They are also packed with manganese, folate, dietary fiber and calcium. Besides, collard greens provide quite a significant amount of tryptophan, potassium, protein, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and iron. Along with three important vitamins (Vitamin A, C & K) this nutritious vegetable contains good amounts of Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine, Vitamin B2 or riboflavin, Vitamin B3 or niacin, Vitamin B1 or thiamine, Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid and Vitamin E as well. Collard greens are a powerhouse of phytonutrients. The primary phytonutrients in collard greens are caffeic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol. They also contain phytonutrients called glucosinolates. All of these important nutrients provide lots of health benefits.
Health Benefits of Collard Greens
Health benefits of collard greens are primarily associated with three important benefits- antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and body detox system. But like other cruciferous vegetables these are also good for overall health. Cruciferous vegetables including collard greens are considered as a great food for cancer prevention. Given below is the list of wonderful health benefits that collard greens provide to the body.
1. Collard greens are very good for detox support. Detox is extremely important to get rid of toxins from the body and cruciferous vegetables are great detox foods. Toxin related damages can cause cancers. Phytonutrients such as glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin help in detoxification process and protect body from harmful toxins.
2. Cruciferous vegetables including collard greens are very good for cancer prevention. Phytonutrients in this vegetable play an important role in this. Four important glucosinolates in collard greens, glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin are responsible for supporting detox system and anti-inflammatory systems. Thus, they the cancer risk. Other phytonutrients found in collard greens such as di-indolyl-methane (DIM) and sulforaphane are anticarcinogen compounds and protective against cancers such as cervical, colon, ovarian, prostate and breast cancers. Besides, antioxidants in collard greens such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc and manganese along with beta carotene lowers the risk of oxidative stress in the cells. By lowering the oxidative stress these antioxidants reduce the chances of developing cancers. Chronic and unwanted inflammation can lead to various cancers. Phytonutrients such as Caffeic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol are also strong antioxidants and they play crucial role in reducing cancer as well.
3. Anti-inflammatory properties in collards come mainly from ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and Vitamin K. In addition, glucobrassicin (a glucosinolate) helps to prevent inflammation at a very initial stage. Chronic inflammation not only increases the chance of cancers but it also raises the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Ant-inflammatory benefit is one of the major health benefits of collard greens.
4. Dark green leafy vegetables are always great food for the heart. It is said that collard greens are the best cruciferous vegetable for lowering cholesterol levels. Steamed collards are best for lowering cholesterol levels. They bind the bile acid and help the excretion of it. Bile acids are made from cholesterol and by flushing out those from the body, they actually lower the cholesterol levels in the body. In addition, anti-inflammatory health benefits of collards protect the blood vessels by reducing the unwanted inflammation and in this way they lower the chances of cardiovascular disease. Antioxidant properties in this vegetable protect the cells from oxidative damage, reduce the oxidization of cholesterol and thus protect from heart diseases including heart attack and stroke. Collard greens are highly rich in heart healthy compounds such as folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K and Vitamin B6. Folate and Vitamin B6 reduce the production of homocysteine and prevent from heart and stroke. In addition, all the B vitamins in collards especially niacin and riboflavin provide important heart health benefits.
5. It’s a good vegetable for digestive system as well. Phytonutrients and dietary fiber in this cruciferous vegetable protect stomach lining from Helicobacter pylori (bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers and inflammation) by preventing the overgrowth of this bacterium.
6. Collards are good for the eye health. Lutein and lipoic acid- two carotenoids are good for the vision and they prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamin A also plays important role in eye health benefits.
7. Strong presence of Vitamin K and calcium is extremely good for the bone health. These two nutrients increase the bone mass and make the bone stronger. Calcium and phosphorous produce a mineral- hydroxyapatite, which is responsible for strengthening bone structures.
8. Collard greens provide some other health benefits as well. Vitamin E in them reduces hot flushes during the time of menopause in women. High amounts of folate prevent neural tube defects in the baby. Lipoic acid found in this cruciferous vegetable is helpful in regulating blood sugar levels. Because of high dietary fiber this vegetable is considered a good food for weight loss.
According to the researchers, collard greens are very good food for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Crohn's disease, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Collard greens offer many extraordinary health benefits; this is one of the best cruciferous vegetables for overall health.