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Collard greens

Collard greens, sometimes known as "collards," is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family of vegetables. Collards are a good source of calcium and a variety of vitamins and minerals, and their vivid green hue indicates that they are high in antioxidants. They should be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to maintain their crispiness. This is because washing the collards introduces excessive moisture and can speed up the spoilage process. Collard greens are a winter crop that can be found all year. Look for dark green leaves without visible yellowing, when purchasing.

Collards are bitter and have a rough texture on their own. Their flavor softens and gets softer the longer you cook them, which is when you add some moist heat. You may prepare them in the same way you would any other dark leafy greens, such as kale or spinach.

Nutrition

1 cup of raw collard greens contain: 

  • Calories: 11.5
  • Fat: 0.22g
  • Sodium: 6mg
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Fiber: 1.4g
  • Sugar: 0.2g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Calcium: 83.5mg

Collards contain vitamins A, D, C, E, and K. It also has carotene, lycopene, riboflavin, niacin, retinol, and thiamine among other things. It is a nutrient-dense vegetable. 

Recipe

With a dash of lemon juice and a little bit of olive oil, these collard greens can be a very delicious side dish. It’s nutritious and it’s sure to be a hit! This recipe serves two people. Simply repeat the ingredients and procedures below to produce multiples (cook each batch separately for best results). 

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces of collard greens
  • 1 and ½ tbps extra virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of salt, to taste
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, to taste
  • A pinch of chili flakes (optional)
  • A few lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions:

  1. To prepare the collards: Cut out the thick center rib out of each collard green. Stack the rib-less greens and roll them up into a cigar-like shape. Slice over the “cigar” as thinly as possible (″ to ¼″) to make long strands. Shake up the greens and give them a few chops so the strands aren’t so long.
  2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, then add the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add all of the collard greens and the salt.
  3. Stir until all of the greens are lightly coated in oil, then let them cook for about 30 seconds before stirring again. Continue stirring in 30-second intervals until the greens are wilted, dark green, and some are starting to turn browns on the edges (this is delicious). This will take between 3 to 6 minutes.
  4. Once the collards are just about done, add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to break up the garlic and cook until it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Immediately divide the cooked collards onto plates, and serve with a lemon wedge each.

Health benefits

Enhances eye health

Collard greens contain vitamin A and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants aid in preventing eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy.

Aids in cell damage repair

Collard greens have lutein and other additional antioxidants that can help protect the body from oxidative stress and inflammation. 

Promotes heart health

According to a number of researches, a high intake of leafy and cruciferous vegetables is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (by as much as 16%). This is through reducing atherosclerosis, bad cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure.

Promotes gastrointestinal health

Increasing your fiber intake can be done by eating more collard greens. Collards contain fiber which can help you have a healthier digestive system by increasing regularity and feeding your gut bacteria.

Improves bone health

Collard greens are particularly high in calcium and vitamin K, which are both beneficial to bone health. 1 cup (170 grams) of cooked greens delivers 27% of the daily need for calcium and 883% of the daily value for vitamin K.

Precautions

For starters, this vegetable is abundant in vitamin K, a component involved in the coagulation, or blood clotting, process. Thus it could interfere with blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin. Collard greens are high in fiber as well. Although eating a diet rich in fiber is beneficial to your health, eating too much of it too rapidly might produce intestinal gas or bloating. Therefore, if you wish to incorporate collard greens into your diet, start slowly, especially if you're not used to eating a lot of high-fiber foods.

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