“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf
It is in this spirit that we present re:iimmune’s new blog series “Whole Foods Spotlight” where we will focus in on a specific whole food, its nutritional benefits and provide you with a few links to some tasty recipes that may inspire you to add more of that particular food into your diet. After all, good health begins with good nutrition! Bone health booster, collard greens is our focus this week!
Collard greens are a cruciferous vegetable belonging to the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and kale. This family of veggies is known for their cholesterol-lowering abilities and collard greens are the king of the family when it comes to it’s impressive means of binding to bile acids (which are made of cholesterol) in the digestive tract, making it easier for them to be excreted from the body. They are much more effective at this when cooked than when ingested raw.
Collard greens are also a rich source of vitamin K, beneficial for bone health as it helps improve calcium absorption. Which is great because collard greens are also loaded with calcium! Two cups contain over 450 mg of calcium, which is almost 90% of daily recommended intake. They are also high in folate which is one of the B vitamins necessary for red and white blood cell formation in bone marrow. It also assists in converting carbohydrates into energy and producing DNA, so it’s doubly important to increase folate intake during pregnancy, infancy and adolescence, all periods of rapid growth. In addition, collard greens are loaded with choline which assists in good restful sleep, muscle movement and memory. Collard greens also contain thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and potassium.
When purchasing collard greens, you want to look for firm, unwilted, vivid green leaves. Smaller leaves mean tenderness and milder flavor. Be sure to store them in the refrigerator to prevent wilting and bitterness and to minimize loss of nutrients. Collard greens are also relatively easy to grow. Planted in spring and fall, gardeners typically prefer fall plantings as the frost brings out sweetness in the leaves. They need fertile, well drained soil and at least 4 to 5 hours of full sun to bring out their flavor.