top of page
  • Writer's pictureLaurenWallace

Collard Greens Nutrition Helps Fight Cancer, Provide Detox Support and More

By Christine Ruggeri, CHHC

January 30, 2022

Original article and page source found here.

If you aren’t familiar with the benefits of collard greens nutrition, you may be surprised what this leafy green can do.

Collard greens (or collards) are various loose-leafed plants that belong to the Brassica oleracea species. This beneficial vegetable is related to others in the Acephala group, including:

  • cabbage

  • Swiss chard

  • broccoli

  • cauliflower

  • kale

  • Brussels sprouts

Collard greens date back to prehistoric times, and they are one of the oldest members of the cabbage family. The Ancient Greeks cultivated several forms of both collard greens and kale.

Today, it grows in:

  • Brazil

  • Portugal

  • the southern United States

  • many parts of Africa

  • Montenegro

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • southern Croatia

  • northern Spain

  • northern India

The collard green plant is grown for its large, dark-colored and edible leaves. Similar to kale, it has an upright stalk, often growing up to two feet tall. The leaves are thick and have a slightly bitter taste.

Cruciferous vegetables, like collard greens, are unique because they’re rich in sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, which support detoxification, and indole-3-carbinol that greatly reduces the risk of breast, colon and lung cancer.

Collard greens are a great vitamin K and vitamin A food. They’re also rich is soluble fiber and have strong antioxidant properties.

By adding collard greens to your diet, you can reduce disease-causing inflammation, help treat digestive conditions, detox your body and boost cardiovascular health.

One of the most important components of collard greens, and other cruciferous vegetables, is glutathione. This peptide consists of three key amino acids that play several vital roles in the body.

It helps the liver cleanse and detoxify fat, boosts immune function, fights cancer, protects the body from environmental toxins, and prevents drug resistance.

Glutathione is so important to our health that longevity researchers believe the levels that are present in our cells serve as a predictor of how long we are going to live. Collard greens nutrition boosts glutathione levels and allows this molecule to do its magic.

Collard Greens Nutrition Facts

Collard greens are among the best vitamin C foods, and they’re a good source of vitamin K and soluble fiber. They also contain multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and sulforaphane.

One cup (about 190 grams) of chopped collard greens nutrition contains approximately:

  • 49 calories

  • 9 grams carbohydrate

  • 4 grams protein

  • 1 gram fat

  • 5 grams dietary fiber

  • 836 micrograms vitamin K (1,045 percent DV)

  • 15,416 international units vitamin A (308 percent DV)

  • 35 milligrams vitamin C (58 percent DV)

  • 177 micrograms folate (44 percent DV)

  • 1 milligram manganese (41 percent DV)

  • 255 milligrams calcium (27 percent DV)

  • 0.2 milligrams riboflavin (12 percent DV)

  • 0.2 milligrams vitamin B6 (12 percent DV)

  • 2.2 milligrams iron (12 percent DV)

  • 38 milligrams magnesium (10 percent DV)

  • 1.7 milligrams vitamin E (8 percent DV)

  • 57 milligrams phosphorus (6 percent DV)

  • 220 milligrams potassium (6 percent DV)

  • 0.1 milligrams thiamine (5 percent DV)

  • 1.1 milligrams niacin (5 percent DV)

  • 0.4 milligrams pantothenic acid (4 percent DV)

  • 0.1 milligrams copper (4 percent DV)

Health Benefits

1. Help Prevent Cancer

Collard greens detoxify the body, have high levels of antioxidants and reduce inflammation — making this powerful vegetable a natural cancer fighter and preventer.

The National Cancer Institute indicates that the secret behind the cancer-killing ability of collard greens nutrition and other cruciferous veggies is they’re rich in glucosinolates — a large group of sulfur-containing compounds.

These chemicals are known to break down during the chewing and digestion process into biologically active compounds that prevent the growth of cancer cells. The compounds are called indoles, thiocyanates and isothiocyanates, and studies suggest that they protect rats and mice against cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung and stomach.

These powerful glucosinolates are also known to:

  • reduce inflammation

  • reprogram cancer cells to die off

  • prevent tumor formation and metastasis

  • deactivate carcinogens

  • contain antibacterial and antiviral properties

2. Provide Detox Support

Just like the health benefits of kale, one of the top health benefits of collard greens is that they’re a natural detoxifier. They not only help remove toxins, but they eliminate them from the body, too.

A component in collard greens nutrition called isothiocyanates is made from glucosinolates. They’re reported to help detox the body at the cellular level.

Glucosinolates and compounds found in greens help activate detoxification enzymes and regulate their activity. They also trigger the liver to produce detoxifying enzymes that block free-radical attacks on your DNA.

By eating collard greens regularly, you help the body eliminate toxins, or poisons, that come from processed foods, pollutants, pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

3. Support Cardiovascular Health

Because collard greens reduce inflammation, they impact our cardiovascular health. Vitamin K, which is abundant in collard greens nutrition, is a critical nutrient for reducing inflammation and protecting cells that line blood vessels, including both veins and arteries.

Vitamin K has been shown to help prevent calcification of arteries, one of the leading causes of heart attacks. It works by carrying calcium out of the arteries and not allowing it to form into hard, dangerous plaque deposits.

It helps treat high blood pressure and reduces the risk of health conditions such as stroke, heart attack and diabetes.

4. Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance made by the liver and required by the body for the proper function of cells, nerves and hormones. It travels in the fatty acids of the bloodstream and can build up in the walls of the arteries, decreasing the flow of blood to vital areas of the body.

Collard greens help lower cholesterol naturally because the leaves are high in fiber. Soluble fiber binds cholesterol in the digestive system, causing it to be excreted by the body.

A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that a fiber supplement provided significant and sustained reductions in LDL (bad cholesterol) without reducing HDL (good cholesterol) or increasing triglycerides over a 51-week treatment period.

5. Support Digestive System

Because collard greens are some of the best high-fiber foods, eating this beneficial vegetable stimulates the digestive system. Collard greens consumption can be added as an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) diet food, for example, because they help combat IBS.

The amount of people who now struggle with some form of IBS is a shocking 60 million people — that’s nearly 20 percent of Americans!

IBS generally causes severe symptoms, such as diarrhea or ulceration of the digestive tract. One major cause of IBS is a low-fiber diet and nutritional deficiencies.

Because of the high fiber content in collard greens nutrition, this veggie can help treat this syndrome that’s often related to a number of other health conditions, including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and leaky gut syndrome.

The glucoraphanin present in collard greens nutrition also helps protect the health of the stomach lining by preventing bacterial overgrowth and the clinging of bacterium to our stomach wall. Animal studies show that glucoraphanin is not destroyed by digestive enzymes in the microbiota so it’s able to pass through the digestive tract and help balance bacteria.

6. High Source of Bone-Building Vitamin K

A cup of cooked collard greens nutrition has way over 100 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin K, an essential fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin K is most well-known for being responsible for bone building and blood clotting. In fact, vitamin K builds bones better than calcium.

Human intervention studies demonstrate that vitamin K not only increases bone mineral density in osteoporotic people, but reduces fracture rates, too.

Vitamin K is also one of the most crucial vitamins for preventing heart disease. Studies show that individuals who increase their intake of dietary vitamin K have a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality.

A vitamin K deficiency can lead to health conditions including IBS, heart disease, weakened bones, tooth decay and cancer.

7. High Source of Inflammation-Reducing Vitamin A