- Calories: 49 (1 Cup, Chopped, Boiled, No Salt)
- Originated: Europe
- Main Health Benefit: Bone Health
- Other Known Benefits: Immune System Health, Weight Loss, Skin Health
- High in: Vitamin K
At this point, you probably know that any leafy green vegetables are going to be good for your health. After all, your parents probably told you that when growing up. Even then, though, you probably weren’t told specifically why they were so good for you. Among the leafy greens that are going to be the best for your health are collard greens. These vegetables are related to kale, which is typically the “go-to” health food.
Collard greens are grown around the world, and are quite popular in the United States, especially in the southern states. While there are many different ways to prepare collard greens, boiling them without adding salt is one of the healthiest foods that you can eat. What is it about collard greens that are so good for you? Just look at the nutritional breakdown, and we’ll give you some of the proven health benefits of collard greens.
Nutrition of Collard Greens
Collard greens are great if you’re looking for a food that has a ton of nutrients without many of the calories. Each one cup serving of boiled collard greens has just under 50 calories, while bringing about 10 percent of your daily protein recommendation and more than 20 percent of your fiber recommendation. There are just about nine grams of carbohydrates and less than one gram of fat, to make it even better.
In the vitamin department, collard greens have a whopping 1000 (yes, thousand) percent of your vitamin K recommendation and more than 300 percent of your vitamin A needs. Vitamin C checks in at about 60 percent while you get half of your daily folate. Other vitamins in smaller amounts include vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin. There are some helpful minerals, too, with 40 percent of your manganese levels and a quarter of your daily calcium. Right around 10 percent, there’s iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper. With some omega-3 fatty acids thrown in and no cholesterol, collard greens are insanely healthy.
When you get 10 times the amount of a vitamin that you need, you’ll experience some almost immediate benefits in your body. Since there’s more than 1000 percent of the daily recommendation for vitamin K, your body will react quickly, especially in your bones. Vitamin K is one of the minerals that makes your body absorb more calcium, which your bones will need to maintain strength and density for a longer period of time.
It’s been shown that those that get a necessary amount of vitamin K in their diet don’t suffer from calcium deficiencies, leading to a lower chance of osteoporosis and other age-related bone problems. There’s even a boost in calcium that you get from eating collard greens, which will surely go to your bones instead of being wasted. Vitamin K can also help prevent internal bleeding while also helping your heart.
When looking at the nutrition, it’s clear that vitamin C is the one of the big nutrients in collard greens. What makes vitamin C so great is that you can actually take more than the 100 percent of your daily recommended value without experiencing any health problems. When you have more than you need, your body will simply flush it out. The only problem is not having enough vitamin C in your body.
Obviously, most know that vitamin C is the big nutrient when it comes to your immune system. It’s not just vitamin C, either, as collard greens contain plenty of other antioxidants that can help lower your chances of diseases that include cancer. One of these antioxidants is known as diindolylmethane, which promotes your immune system’s response. Your chances of developing any form of cancer can be drastically reduced by eating more collard greens, overall.
You can eat a lot of collard greens without experiencing a noticeable increase in your calories. This makes them great as part of a well balanced meal or just something to snack on, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. With fewer than 50 calories per one cup serving of chopped collard greens, you can eat multiple servings without feeling guilty. There’s also quite a bit of fiber in each serving, which will allow you to feel more full throughout the day.
That fiber also benefits your digestive system, boosting your metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day. If you’re looking for a temporary detox diet instead of a long term plan, eating more collard greens can even help you there, as they remove toxins from your body to alleviate bloating and retaining water.
Not only can collard greens enhance your appearance by allowing you to get slim, but they can also help other aspects. Starting with your skin, collard greens have a lot of the essential vitamins that you need, including vitamin A, C and E. Vitamin C is more known for helping the immune system, but is actually huge for your skin as it works as an antioxidant to fight free radicals that can cause wrinkles while also producing collagen to give your skin more elasticity.
Vitamins A and E work together to give your skin a natural glow that removes oil and increases moisture so that you don’t look worn down. That benefits also extends to your hair, improving your scalp health and promoting faster hair growth with thicker and more voluminous hair.
One more benefit that you can get from collard greens comes from perhaps the most important organ; the brain. Eating more collard greens gives your body more choline, which has been linked with an increase in your brain’s efficiency that includes memory and muscle movement. Collard greens also include folate, and research has said that those who get more folate in their diet are less likely to be diagnosed with depression, while also improving their overall mood and getting more restful sleep at night. That little boost of iron will also make you feel less fatigued while reducing your chances for age-related neurological disease.
Summing it Up
With all of the fantastic nutrition, health benefits and lack of unhealthy contents in collard greens, are there really any negatives that you should know about? As long as you’re eating a well-balanced diet that includes vitamins that collard greens don’t contain, you’re highly unlikely to experience any problems. Just know that collard greens don’t contain a lot of the B vitamins that you need, so even taking supplements will make up the gap.
If you’re someone that doesn’t get a lot of fiber in your diet, you’ll also discover that going from a low-fiber diet to a high-fiber one can result in some temporary side effects. You could feel discomfort in your digestive system, but that’s just a sign that you’re body is balancing out and it can feel strange. Other than that, you’re good to go. There’s not really a maximum amount of collard greens that you can eat, as long as you’re doing it the healthy way, so go out and enjoy them as much as you want and enjoy the benefits!