Collard Greens: Nutrition, Health Benefits and Tips to add in Diet

Collard greens are a type of green leafy vegetable that belongs to the Brassica oleracea species, which also includes cabbage, kale, and broccoli. They are known for their large, dark green leaves, which are thick and slightly bitter in taste.

Collard greens are a staple in Southern cuisine in the United States and are often cooked as a side dish or cooked with ingredients like bacon, ham hocks, or vinegar for flavor. However, they can be adapted to various cuisines and recipes, making them a versatile addition to many dishes.

Buying and Storage: When buying collard greens, choose ones with crisp, dark green leaves. Store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, and they should stay fresh for about a week. It’s best to wash them thoroughly before use to remove any dirt or impurities.


Collard greens are highly nutritious and are a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and calcium. They also contain dietary fiber, antioxidants, and small amounts of iron and protein.

Here is the nutritional values per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of cooked collard greens:

  • Calories: 33 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 0.6 grams
  • Vitamin A: 170% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin C: 58% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 426% of the DV
  • Folate: 18% of the DV
  • Calcium: 12% of the DV
  • Iron: 6% of the DV

Collard greens are low in calories and carbohydrates while being rich in dietary fiber, which can aid in digestion and help regulate blood sugar levels. They are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. Vitamin A is important for eye health and immune function, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and supports immune health, and vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting and bone health. Collard greens also provide folate, which is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division, as well as calcium for bone health and iron for oxygen transport in the body.

Including collard greens in your diet can contribute to a well-rounded nutrient intake and support overall health.

Health Benefits

Collard greens offer numerous health benefits due to their rich nutritional profile. Here are some of the key health benefits associated with consuming collard greens:

1. High in Antioxidants

Collard greens are packed with antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and various flavonoids. Antioxidants help protect the body against oxidative stress and damage caused by harmful free radicals, which can contribute to chronic diseases, inflammation, and aging.

2. Anti-inflammatory Properties

The antioxidants and phytonutrients present in collard greens have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to the development of various diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Including collard greens in your diet may help reduce inflammation and promote better overall health.

3. Heart Health

Collard greens are beneficial for cardiovascular health. They are low in calories and fat while being high in dietary fiber and potassium. The fiber content can help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health by reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Potassium is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

4. Bone Health

Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, which plays a crucial role in bone health and calcium metabolism. Vitamin K helps activate proteins necessary for bone mineralization and may reduce the risk of fractures. Consuming collard greens regularly can contribute to maintaining strong and healthy bones.

5. Eye Health

The high vitamin A content in collard greens is beneficial for eye health. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining good vision, especially in low-light conditions. It also helps protect the surface of the eye and reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

6. Digestive Health

Collard greens are rich in dietary fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and prevents constipation. The fiber content adds bulk to the stool, aids in regular bowel movements, and supports a healthy gut microbiome.

7. Weight Management

Due to their low calorie and high fiber content, collard greens can be beneficial for weight management. The fiber helps promote feelings of fullness and satiety, which can prevent overeating and support weight loss or maintenance goals.

It’s worth noting that while collard greens offer significant health benefits, individual dietary needs and health conditions may vary. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice and guidance regarding your specific health goals.

How to Add Collard Greens to Your Diet?

Adding collard greens to your diet is a great way to incorporate their health benefits into your meals. Here are some ideas on how to add collard greens to your diet:

  • Cooked Collard Greens: One of the most common ways to enjoy collard greens is by cooking them. You can boil, steam, or sauté them. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:
    • Remove the tough stems from the collard greens and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
    • Heat a large pot of water to boiling and blanch the collard greens for about 5 minutes.
    • Drain the collard greens and saute them in a pan with olive oil, garlic, and your choice of seasonings (salt, pepper, chili flakes, etc.) until tender. You can also add some onions or diced tomatoes for extra flavor.
  • Soups and Stews: Add collard greens to your favorite soups and stews for added nutrition. They can be a tasty addition to vegetable soups, minestrone, or even traditional Southern-style soups like ham and bean soup.
  • Smoothies: Believe it or not, collard greens can be added to smoothies for an extra boost of nutrients. Blend a handful of raw collard greens with fruits like bananas, berries, or mangoes, along with some liquid like water or almond milk. The fruit will help mask the slightly bitter taste of the greens.
  • Wraps and Sandwiches: Use collard greens as a healthy alternative to tortilla wraps or bread. Fill the collard green leaves with your favorite fillings like lean meats, grilled vegetables, hummus, or avocado. It makes for a refreshing and nutritious wrap.
  • Salads: Add raw collard greens to your salads for a nutrient-packed base. You can combine them with other greens like spinach or kale, along with toppings like tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and a protein source such as grilled chicken or chickpeas. Drizzle with your favorite dressing for a satisfying and healthy salad.

Remember to thoroughly wash collard greens before using them to remove any dirt or impurities. Additionally, if you find the taste too bitter, you can blanch or sauté them briefly before incorporating them into your dishes. Start by adding small amounts of collard greens to your meals and gradually increase as you become accustomed to their taste.

Feel free to experiment with different cooking methods and recipes to find the ones that suit your preferences. Enjoy exploring the versatility of collard greens and discovering new ways to incorporate them into your diet!


Overall, collard greens are a nutritious and versatile leafy green vegetable that offers several health benefits. Collard greens are low in calories and carbohydrates while being rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Incorporating collard greens into your diet can provide a nutritional boost and contribute to overall health and well-being. They are rich in antioxidants, which help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation. Enjoy exploring different ways to prepare and enjoy this nutritious leafy green vegetable!