Collards are my sexy green of the week because starting this month they are officially in season (January-April)! And during the winter, nothing makes me happier at the grocery store than realizing summer isn’t the only season for good food! Collard greens have a very mild, almost smoky flavor. I’ve cooked them in soups and have made raw sandwich wraps with these dark green leaves.
Along with the ‘off the charts’ vitamin ratings (note that the chart below is their cooked value and not their raw value, which is most likely higher given raw food has more nutrients duh), collards also have glucosinolates which are able to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers, including breast and ovarian cancers.While scientists aren’t sure exactly how yet, they know that these glucos. have detoxifying enzymes in the liver that help neutralize potentially carcinogenic substances.
One more big word for us today is sulforaphane, which is formed when cruciferous vegetables such as collards are chopped or chewed. This triggers the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing chemicals, inhibits chemically-induced breast cancers in animal studies, and induces colon cancer cells to commit suicide, and helps stop the proliferation of breast cancer cells, even in the later stages of their growth.*
Collards are also high in antioxidants, are great for the immune system, and helps with an array of random daily ailments (thanks to its various vitamins and minerals). For example the calcium in collard greens can:
- Help protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals
- Help prevent bone loss that can occur as a result of menopause or certain conditions like rheumatoid arthritis
- Help prevent migraine headaches in those who suffer from them
- Reduce PMS symptoms during the luteal phase (the second half) of the menstrual cycle*
Basically, we can widely consider collard greens to be a cancer fighting ARMY of nutrients and a vitamin and mineral powerhouse for your general wellbeing.
Eat your Collards:
Raw collards are most easily eaten as a wrap, using the collard greens in place of a tortilla. Choosingraw.com has a good picture demonstration of rolling up collard wraps (the first step is on the right). To make a nutritious and filling meal, your collard wrap should be loaded with veggies (carrots, avocados, olives, tomatoes, zucchini, etc), laced with a substantial nut “cheese.” I think a nut cheese can be made with any nut/seasoning combination. Here are a couple examples, feel free to be creative based on the veggies you’re using and the taste you want:
Sunflower Cheese (modified from Rawvolution)
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp nama shoyu (optional)
2 tbs lemon juice
1 Tablespoon ginger
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup almonds, dry
1 lemon’s juice
1/4 cup filtered water
Conquering Lion Cashew Cheese (from happycow.net)
2 cups cashews
1 cup filtered water
1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced (void if not in season or use a bit of hot pepper)
2½ tablespoon green onion, diced
2 tablespoon cilantro, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon Nama shoyu, or to taste
¼ teaspoon seat salt, or to taste
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
For cooked collards, try water sauteing for 5-10 minutes, topping with vinegar or ghee, salt and pepper and eating as a side. Or try a very delicious collard green and black eye pea soup.
*many parts of these sections were taken and slightly modified from the Whole Foods website.