Collard greens are nutritional rock stars loaded with beneficial phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Rich in antioxidants, B vitamins and important minerals. An excellent choice for heart health. Sulfurous phytonutrients (glucosinolates and cysteine sulfoxides) inhibit growth of many types of cancers. Some stimulate liver to produce detoxification enzymes that work synergistically to speed up removing free radicals and toxins. Vitamins and minerals promote cardiovascular, immune system, brain and overall health through direct interactions and antioxidant effects. Provide antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin C protects water-soluble areas (inside and outside of cells). Vitamins A and E protect fatty molecules and structures, together protecting cell machinery (proteins, enzymes, cell membranes, DNA, mitochondria). Free radicals oxidize cholesterol, which converts to a form that sticks to blood vessel walls (initiating plaque buildup). Vitamin A and zinc help maintain healthy epithelial cells (skin, mucus membranes, gastrointestinal tract, vaginal epithelium), the first line of defense against infection. Folate and other B vitamins moderate homocysteine level in blood by converting to safe form. Potassium and magnesium help reduce elevated blood pressure. Manganese is enzyme cofactor (activator) and integral part of enzymes that make vitamin C useable. Also facilitates antioxidant superoxide dismutase, protecting mitochondria from free radical byproducts. Calcium, essential for healthy bone, also helps prevent menopausal bone loss, migraines, PMS symptoms and helps protect colon cells from carcinogens. Dietary fiber promotes smooth, healthy digestion, helps regulate blood sugar and lowers elevated cholesterol.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Vitamins – K, A, C, E, B9 (Folate), B6 (Pyridoxine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B1 (Thiamin) and B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Minerals – Manganese, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron
Collards may provide risk reduction or symptom relief for atherosclerosis, heart disease, osteoarthritis, macular degeneration, osteoporosis, diabetes, and cancers of lung, breast, ovary, prostate and colon.
How to Grow
Very popular Southern vegetable, yet grow well in cooler regions, too. These crucifers are cold hardy, similar to kale and cabbage. See Kale for site, soil and maintenance needs. Spring usually best time for planting. Plant seeds ¼ inch deep a few weeks before last frost. When seedlings emerge, space them 1 foot apart in rows 3 feet apart. For fall harvest, plant seeds 2-2.5 months before the first frost. Collards slower to mature than kale (70-80 days). Keep soil moist. Collards like foliar feeding. Apply liquid fertilizer a few times during growth season and spread out evenly. Leaves ready to harvest when the plant is about 1 foot tall. Pick outer leaves first.
See Cabbage and Kale for pest control methods.
Flavor is better after cool weather, especially right after frost.