Collard Greens: Health Benefits and How-To

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What if we told you that it’s possible to find in-season leafy green vegetables in the depths of winter? Often considered staple greens in the Deep South, collards are one of the few greens that are at their best between January and April, and have become more available across the country due to their growing popularity. Just when you thought you couldn’t have anything other than root vegetables!

Nutrition Tidbits for Collard Greens

  • 1 cup (190 g) of boiled, drained collard greens contains:
    • Calories: 49 kcal
    • Fat: 0.7g
    • Carbohydrates: 9.3g
    • Protein: 4 g
    • Fiber: 5 g
    • Glycemic Index (GI): Low (below 55)

Collard greens belong to the same family of vegetables as broccoli and cauliflower, but do not form “heads.” Instead, collard greens have broad, flat, dark green leaves that are high in fiber and packed full of nutrients. One cup of these greens provides more than 100% of the daily recommended intake for Vitamins K and A, and 50% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C and folate. It is also high in manganese and various phytonutrients that appear to have chemopreventive (cancer-preventing) properties.


Because collard greens withstand more intense cooking than many vegetables, traditional Southern recipes for collard greens often involve braising or slow-cooking the leaves in a broth infused with smoked bacon or ham hocks (the more health-conscious cooks nowadays substitute smoked turkey meats). When preparing collard greens for cooking, wash the leaves well because they tend to collect soil.

Ways to Include More Collard Greens in Your Diet

  • Use steamed chopped collard greens as a filling for sushi.
  • Toss them into your favorite soups to hike up the nutritional quotient.
  • Stir-fry thin strips with garlic and serve with a dash of cider vinegar or lemon juice and hot pepper flakes.
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