Collard Greens belongs to the Brassica Oleracea species or the cruciferous family which also includes cabbage, and broccoli. It is a part of the Acephala cultivator group like kale and spring greens.
Collard comes from the word ‘colewort’ which refers to the wild cabbage plant. These plants do not have a close-knit core of leaves referred to a ‘head’ as cabbage does. The plant is very similar to kale. It grows up to two feet tall and is moderately sensitive to salinity. It is cultivated for its edible leaves which are thick and slightly bitter. The leaves need to be picked before they reach their full size, usually after the first frost for added nutrition.
Collard greens have abundant minerals, vitamins, and fibre. It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, B6, C, and K. It also contains protein, folate, thiamine, niacin and dietary fibre that is vital for a healthy lifestyle. The sulphur-containing compound glucosinolates in collard greens is a detoxifier which is a natural liver cleanser. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that help fight oxidative damage and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Vitamin K and calcium help in strengthening the bones and teeth. Dietary fibres in collard greens help in digestion and enhance overall immunity. The soluble fibre in collard greens removes LDL cholesterol from the blood and aids in reducing heart ailments. Other benefits include anti-aging, aids in hair growth, prevents anaemia and diabetes.