Collard greens is a name for a group of loose-leaf vegetables that belong to the same family is the cabbage and broccoli, Brassica oleracea. They are genetically similar to kale and spring greens and they are cultivated all over the world.
Unlike broccoli, kale or cabbage, there are not many scientific studies that focus on health benefits of collard greens, and they are usually included in lists together with other cruciferous vegetables, which are examined as a group. However, they deserve an individual examination because they seem to have significant health benefits, among which the ability to fight cancer stands out as very important.
Cancer prevention and cancer development is strongly linked to the function of three systems in the human body. Those systems are detox system, antioxidant ability and anti-inflammatory system. Chronic problems with one or all of these symptoms is believed to lead to growth of cancerous cells. Collard greens support and improve the function of all three of them, which makes this vegetable a worthy ally in the fight against cancer.
Detox benefits of collard greens
Detoxification activities can be divided into phase one and phase two activities. Collard greens support phase one thanks to the antioxidants in contains, and they support phase two as well, because of their sulfur content. They also contain phytonutrients and glucosinolates, which activate detoxification enzymes in the body and promote the process.
If a person does not provide sufficient detox agents and continues to expose him or herself to toxins and harmful agents, it increases the chance of toxin-induced damage and formation of cancerous cells.
Antioxidant properties of collard greens
Collard greens are an excellent source of all five core antioxidants, which include vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, beta-carotene and manganese. But that is not all, as this vegetable contains phytonutrients like caffeic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin and kaempferol, which have strong antioxidant abilities. Antioxidants reduce the effects of oxidative stress of the cells and thus reduce the risk of many serious diseases, including cancer.
Anti-inflammatory benefits of collard greens
Vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, namely alpha-linoleic acid or ALA, are two important anti-inflammatory agents that are found in collard greens in significant amounts. Vitamin K regulates the body’s response to inflammation, while ALA participates in the building of anti-inflammatory messaging molecules in the human body.
In addition, collard greens contain glucobrassicin, which is a glucosinolate that works on genetic level and prevents and fights inflammation in very early stages.
Since chronic inflammation processes increase the risk of diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases, it is clear why collard greens are so beneficial for the health.