Collard Greens are known for their leaves and are mostly grown in Southern US, Mediterranean and Asia. They belong to the Brassicaceae family. These plants are best suited to the warm climate. They belong to the same class as Broccoli or cabbage and are very similar to Kale. They are the staple food for the Southern USA. There are a lot of healthy delicious dishes made using Collard Greens. These are loose plants and they don’t form a head as cabbages.
Nutritional Value of Collard Greens:
Collard Greens are a rich source of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fibers. They are rich in vitamins like Vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C and vitamin A. It is also a rich source of proteins, fiber, Riboflavin, thiamine and Niacin.
In quantitative terms, 1 cup of collard greens contain 836 mcg of vitamin K, 177 mcg of folate, 0.2 mg of vitamin B6, 1.7 mg of vitamin E, 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 0.2 mg of riboflavin, 0.1 mg of thiamine and 1.1 mg of niacin.
Health Benefits of Collard Greens:
It has many health benefits. It is specifically helpful in preventing many of the lifestyle diseases like obesity, heart diseases and diabetes. It also helps in improving the skin texture and healthy growth of the hairs. Some of the other health benefits include:
It contains sulfur containing compounds. These compounds help in removing toxins from the liver and the body. Including Collard greens in the diet also helps to remove the free radicles from the body which can cause skin related problems and can also be the precursors of deadly disease like cancer.
2. Cancer prevention:
Cancer is one of the deadly diseases which have one of the highest mortality rates. It is better to include food items that can prevent the occurrence of cancer to the person.
Collard Greens is a rich source of vitamin C which is an anti-oxidative and helps in preventing damage due to oxidation. A cup of collard greens contains 35 mg of vitamin C which is sufficient to fulfill 58% of body’s requirement for the day.
3. Bone Strength:
Vitamin K is one of the most crucial vitamins required for the healthy bones. Vitamin K is as useful for the bones as calcium. 1 cup of Collard greens is useful for fulfill the body’s requirement for the day. Collard greens also help in preventing fracture of the bones. Inclusion of Collard greens in the diet also helps in preventing age and lifestyle related bone disease like arthritis and osteoarthritis.
It is believed that a good digestion is of utmost importance for healthy living. It is important to have a high fiber diet to have a good digestion as well as a good bowel movement. Collard greens are rich in fiber which also helps in preventing Intestinal bowel disease and also prevents constipation and associated diseases.
Collard greens are also rich in glucoraphanin which protects the lining in the stomach and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria which further act as probiotic and supports digestion.
Collard greens are an excellent source of iron, 100 gms of collard greens contain 0.5 mg of iron. Collard greens also contain folic acid which helps in better absorption of iron in the body. Collard greens help balance out the inadequate hemoglobin in the body. Thus inclusion of collard greens in the body helps in reducing the chances of less oxygen supply to the body cells and tissues. Thus helping preventing anemia.
Cholesterol deposition in the arteries is the root cause of many heart diseases. The fiber content in the Collard greens helps in the excretion of bad cholesterol from the body without affecting the presence of good cholesterol in the body. Most of the heart disease is caused because of the blockage of arteries and reduced blood flow to the body cells.
7. Hair Growth:
Collard greens are also the rich source of vitamin E, Proteins and iron. All these are required for the healthy growth of hairs. Including Collard greens in the diet helps in shining and long hairs. They help in providing adequate strength to the hairs. Their inclusion thus helps in preventing hair fall and other hair associated problems.
Free radicles cause oxidative damage. Collard Greens are rich in anti-oxidants which provide a lining between free radicles and the inner skin lining. Thus by providing the lining it helps in preventing wrinkles and reducing the age deterioration. Collard greens also help in keeping preventing the degeneration of the body cells from inside as well by removing the free radicles.
Collard greens are helpful in preventing lifestyle diseases and one of them is Diabetes, affecting lot of people. The high fiber content in Collard greens help in the excretion of excess glucose form the body and thus help in keeping it balanced.
The alpha lipoic acid present in Collard Greens also helps in lowering the glucose content in the body.
Collard Greens also help to alleviate the mood and are known to be natural mood stabilizers. Collard greens help to improve the sleep and memory of the person.
Thus these are a useful anti-depressants and help in keeping away depression.
Types and varieties of Collard Greens
Collard Greens vary in height depending in the conditions in which these are grown. The height varies between 20 – 36 inches.
They take 55-75 days for the complete growth. Harvesting of the plant includes cutting of the leaves or completely cutting the plant.
- There are majorly two varieties of Collard Greens viz. ‘Vates’ and ‘Georgia’: These are the traditional varieties.
- Newer Hybrids like ‘Moris’ – These are the newer varieties of collard greens which usually curve towards each other and form a loose head over them.
Various sub-varieties of Collard Greens are:
- Champion- Vates variety, mainly cultivated in smaller gardens
- Flash- These are small in size but grow at a fats rate
- Georgia: Large plants with waxy leaves
- Green Glaze: They have glossy and dark green leaves
- Vates: These are the compact variety of the collard greens with smooth leaves.
Cultivation of Collard Greens:
- Soil: Collard Greens require slightly acidic pH of the soil, usually the pH of 6-6.5 is most suitable for the growth. They require the soil to be rich in manures with a good content of organic matter in the soil.
- Planting: Collard green can be planted using a seed or can be planted using transplantation. They can grow in cool climate as well. The seeds of the planted directly in the soil in open environment generally 2 weeks before the last frost or it can be grown inside the house for the first 3-4 weeks and then the seedlings can be shifted outside around the last frost. If you want to harvest around in cool climate then sow the seeds 6-8 weeks before the start of first frost.
Growing collard greens in cool weather helps in sweetening their taste.
The seeds of the plant should be sown ½ -1/4 inches deep into the soil. Since they are spacious, they should be spaced 18-24 inches apart from each other to provide adequate space for growth and the distribution of nutrients, manure, water and other nutrient requirements.
- Growth:For the faster growth and regular maintenance of the plants, you need to keep them watered regularly; you also need to harvest them at regular intervals, this well help in the growth of the new leaves. Addition of the manure and a slow release of the manure to the soil help the plants in faster growth and the regular harvest of the leaves.
Mulch also spread over the soil to retain the moisture in the soil and also inhibit the growth of weeds in the areas. Collards grow very well during winters but often the plant is destroyed if the weather is sub-zero for a long duration. Collards are biennial plant which is grown twice in the year.
- Protection from pests and insects: Collards needs to be protected from the pests and insects same as cabbage and the plants belonging to same family.
- Collards are affected by aphids, cabbage loopers, cabbage worms, cabbage root maggots, flea and beetles.
- These plants are infected by diseases like blackleg, black rot, clubrot, cabbage yellows etc.
- To prevent these diseases from occurring one should rotate these plants and should grow these plant at the same spot year after year.
- One may also keep them under the shed for some of the part
Collard greens are a wonderful food item to be included in the diet. Collard greens can help in the cure as well as in preventing many of deadly diseases. They also help in boosting the immune system of the body as well.