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Discover the Incredible Benefits of Including Collard Greens in Your Diet

Renowned for their thick leaves and earthy flavor, collard greens are a culinary staple and a powerhouse of nutrients. They’re one of the first vegetables to pop up in my garden in the spring, and I love incorporating them into soups and stir-fries. Here’s more on their health benefits and how you can make this versatile leafy green taste great (so even the kids will eat it!).

What Are Collard Greens?

Collard greens are one of those “green leafy vegetables” you’re always hearing about. They may also be a vegetable that’s harder to get kids to eat (more on that later). Collards and other leafy greens are the superstar veggies that can help you get enough calcium without dairy. But that’s not all they do. Collards are also part of a family called cruciferous vegetables, or “brassica.” Other members of this family include broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts. However, radishes, turnips, and horseradish are also brassicas.

Why Are Collard Greens Good for You?

Collard greens are an excellent way to get phytonutrients on an overall low-carbohydrate diet. Their carbohydrates primarily appear as dietary fiber. While not fully digested, fiber helps to maintain a healthy microbiome.

Nutritional Breakdown of Collard Greens

Collard greens are incredibly nutritious and rich in vitamins. They’re packed with vitamin A (as beta carotene), B vitamins (especially folate), and vitamin C. One cup of collard greens has over 300% of the daily value for vitamin A. It also provides over 50% of the daily value of vitamin C and nearly half (44%) of the daily value of folate. While folic acid is made in a lab, folate is the naturally occurring version. Along with kale, mustard greens, and Swiss chard, collards are one of the best sources of vitamin K1. One cup of collards supplies 836 mcg of vitamin K1. That’s a whopping 1,045 percent of the recommended daily value! Collards also provide important minerals like potassium, manganese, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, supporting bones, muscles, and overall health.

6 Health Benefits of Collard Greens

Here are six research-backed ways collard greens may support your overall health:

  1. Promoting Heart Health
  2. Anti-Cancer Effects
  3. Supporting Bone Health
  4. Good For The Eyes
  5. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
  6. Supporting Gut Health

Who Should Avoid Collard Greens?

Collard greens are an excellent food for the vast majority of us. However, those currently on blood thinning medications like Warfarin should be cautious. Because collards are high in vitamin K (named after the German word Koagulationsvitamin), they promote blood clotting. That’s usually a good thing, as it keeps us from bleeding out in case of an injury. However, it also means foods high in vitamin K can interfere with how blood-thinning drugs work. If you plan on adding more leafy greens to your diet, be sure to keep your doctor in the loop.

What About Oxalates?

Some people may wonder whether collard greens are high in oxalates. If you’re limiting your oxalates because of hypothyroidism, kidney stones, or other health conditions, collards can be a safer option.

How to Get Your Collard Greens In

When shopping for collard greens, look for fresh-looking, dark green leaves with no blemishes or wilting. The freshest leaves come straight from the garden. They’re excellent sauteed on the stovetop with olive oil and garlic. However, they’re quite versatile and work well in many dishes. Here are some ways to incorporate more collards into your meals:

  • Salads
  • Soups and Stews
  • Wraps
  • Stuffed Collard Leaves
  • Braised Collard Greens
  • Green Smoothies

Whether cooked or raw, collard greens offer a unique taste and texture that can complement a wide range of dishes.

Do you eat collard greens? What’s your favorite way to prepare them? Share with us below!

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