Greens! All the greens in the best way! Here are f great reasons to eat more collard greens!
Collard greens are a dark leafy green that are a member of the Brassica family, alongside broccoli and cauliflower, cabbage and kale. Their unique appearance features dark blue-green leaves that are smooth in texture and relatively broad. They have a mild, almost smoky flavor that tastes pleasantly bitter.
Where Did They Originate?
Collards are a descendant of the wild cabbage: a plant thought to have been consumed as food since prehistoric times and to have originated in Asia. From Asia, they spread to Europe and have been cultivated since the ancient Greek and Roman civilization times. Eventually, they made their way to the United States and had become a staple of the Southern parts of the United States and are an integral food in traditional South American cuisine.
Why Eat More Collards Greens?
So, what makes these leafy green so great, and why should you eat more of them? Here are 5 reasons.
Being a member of the Brassicas family, collard greens naturally stand out as an anti-cancer food. The phytonutrients which are present in collard greens appear to lessen the occurrence of a variety of cancers. Some of the phytonutrients in collard greens activate detoxifying enzymes in the liver that help neutralize potentially carcinogenic substances.
Collard greens contain three main antioxidants: vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These three antioxidants seek out and disarm free radicals (unstable atoms) that can damage cells in the body and cause damage to molecules, enzymes, cells membranes, mitochondria, and DNA.
Free radicals contribute to the development of all degenerative diseases because they cause inflammation in the body at a cellular level. The good news is the antioxidants in collard greens can help rid the body of these damaging chemicals and help reduce or prevent many inflammatory causing diseases.
Strengthens Bones and More
Collard greens contain an excellent source of calcium, which is known for maintaining the strength and density of bones. Calcium is also important and plays a vital role in preventing blood clots, migraines, and PMS symptoms. In addition, the calcium in collard greens can help prevent bone loss that can occur particularly in women who are going through menopause.
Boosts Immune System
Collards greens are packed with immune supportive nutrients such as vitamin A, C, and zinc. These nutrients are significant to help the immune system function at its optimum levels. If you are getting frequent colds or infections, it can be because your vitamin A is low and wreaking havoc on your immune system. A cup of collard greens provides 118.9% of the daily amount of vitamin A. Not bad for this amazing dark leafy green.
Zinc is a critical mineral for immune function and works together with vitamin A to protect you against free radical damage. Zinc also prevents viruses from invading our body.
Lastly, the antioxidant vitamin C also supports a healthy immune system. It helps to disarm free radicals and prevent cellular damage and reduces inflammation.
Aids in Cardiovascular Protections
Collard greens are an excellent source of folate, vitamin B2, B3, B6, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. All these nutrients are important in maintaining good cardiovascular health. They help to lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure, regenerate glutathione (one of the body’s most important antioxidants) all of which helps protect against cardiovascular disease.
Collard greens are truly an exceptional leafy green vegetable in the prevention of a wide range of health reasons as stated above. Including them in your day will help you in more ways than one.
If you have not eaten collard greens before or just don’t know what to do with them, try my Collard Green Goddess Wrap recipe to get you started.