When most people think of Collard Greens, they think of southern comfort food.  Native to the Mediterranean, they were mentioned in writings by 17th century American colonists and were probably growing wild here before they arrived.  Ancient Romans and Greeks also mentioned Collard Greens in their historical accounts.  Low in calories and loaded with flavorful nutrients, Collard Greens are easy to grow in almost any region and are known as a winter vegetable.  They seem to enjoy the morning frost! Collard Greens enhance vitality.

Collard Greens are one of the “non-head forming” members in the family of cruciferous vegetables, which includes Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Arugula, Bok Choy, Mustard Greens, Turnips, Radishes, and Watercress.  In 1996, the medical journal, Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, published a landmark study on cruciferous vegetables and cancer.  Compiling and reviewing 94 other research trials, the authors concluded that “A high consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of cancer.  This association appears to be most consistent for lung, stomach, colon, and  rectal cancer.”

Cruciferous vegetables contain a rich storehouse of sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates.  These robust chemicals break down during digestion, which starts in the mouth with chewing, into active compounds called indoles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates.  From what we know so far, these chemicals stimulate the body’s antioxidant system and trigger the production of detoxifying enzymes in the liver.  These detoxifying enzymes help block free radical attack on your DNA.

It’s such fun to learn about the amazing way our world is designed.  These glucosinolates act as natural pesticides for the plant cells.  In our bodies, they help us LIVE YOUNGER because they:

  • Are anti-inflammatory
  • Have anti-viral properties
  • Can reprogram cancer cells to die off
  • May inhibit tumor formation and metastasis

Collard Greens are rich in many other phytonutrients, including Vitamins A, C, and E.  I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of soluble and insoluble fiber lately and this plant source is a good investment in digestive health.  Cutting Collard Greens into smaller pieces before cooking is a great way to enhance their flavor.  Let them sit for about 10 minutes.  You can optimally preserve their nutrient content by steaming them for five minutes.  This gentle method is just long enough to tenderize their cellulose fibers.  Dousing them with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper brings out more flavor and the olive oil increases the absorption of their fat-soluble nutrients.

Is too much of a good thing not a good thing?  There has been some concern that cruciferous vegetables in large amounts can harm the thyroid.  According to the research, eating large amounts of these vegetables and having an iodine deficiency can pose some risk for hypothyroidism.  If you have a thyroid problem, it may be wise to limit your intake to two servings a day of cooked cruciferous veggies.  

START SOMEWHERE today experimenting with adding Collard Greens and other cruciferous vegetables to your plate.  They are inexpensive, easy to grow, and loaded with benefits.  Collard Greens enhance vitality.  These nutrient-dense vegetables may require some taste bud adaptation if you’re not used to them, but the effort is worth it!  LIVE YOUNGER by giving your body more of what is was designed to use.  You can do it.  I will help you!

Collard Greens Enhance Vitality

Collard Greens Enhance Vitality