Dinner Diva: Keen on collard greens

the-dinner-divaBy now, most of us know how important it is to get an adequate amount of dark leafy greens into our diets on a regular basis. And the best kind of dark leafy green to eat a lot of is any dark leafy green that belongs to the cruciferous family.

Collard greens are one of those dark and leafy friends! These loose-leafed veggies are related to kale, cabbage and cauliflower. Their dark thick leaves have hard stems and a mild bitter taste that gets sweeter in colder temperatures. A mild frost will actually bring out the best flavor in collard greens.

Collard greens are a wonderful item to add to your veggie rotation. They are versatile, they taste good, and they’re one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat.

Blood health. Collard greens have a tremendous amount of chlorophyll in them. Chlorophyll is excellent for building blood in the human body. For this reason, juicing collard greens is excellent for anyone suffering from anemia or other disorders of the blood.

Bone strength. Collards aid in the repair and development of bones.

Cancer prevention. Collard greens have very high levels of antioxidants, lowering your risk of developing cancer.

Cholesterol levels. Collards are high in folate, fiber and vitamins A and C—all nutrients that help level blood cholesterol levels.

Dementia prevention and heart health. Collard greens contain high levels of folate which can lower levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease as well as stroke sand heart attacks.

Skin health. Collard greens contain lutein which helps improve the elasticity and firmness of skin.

Immunity. Vitamin C is found in abundance in collard greens and Vitamin C, of course, is wonderful for strengthening the immune system and fighting several diseases.

Weight loss. The chlorophyll and nutrients found in collard greens help rev up your metabolism. Adding collard greens to your juice in the morning will help to melt that fat off your bod!

Eye health. Collard greens contain carotenoids which are special antioxidants that protect your eyes from damage due to ultraviolet lights.

I could go on all day about the amazing nutritional profile of collard greens but let’s talk about how to consume these leafy green wonders.

At the market, look for collards with smooth firm leaves. You don’t want to keep them around the kitchen for more than 3 days in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. If you can’t use them up in that amount of time, put the leaves in a zipper bag and freeze them for later use.

My favorite way to eat collard greens is juiced raw. you can cook them as a side dish if you like but if you do choose this route, only steam them for a couple of minutes in a bit of water. That helps to keep their nutrients in tact. If you overcook collard greens you cook all the nutrition out of them and you end up with a mushy mess!

A little warning before you go too crazy with the collards. Consume in moderation! Too much collard green juice can cause your thyroid to swell so limit your intake to about 3 servings of collard green juice per week. These greens also contain oxalic acid which should be avoided in anyone with a history of kidney disease.

For most folks, though, adding a collard green leaf or two to your green juice is a great way to pump up the nutritional value of your juice.

More from dinner diva leanne ely at SavingDinner.com.

         
 

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