Fight Cancer with Collard Greens
By now the importance of leafy greens may have become common to you. But have you ever stopped to ask the question “Why?” It’s one thing to know that we should eat something, but it’s another thing to understand why. Because once you understand why your body needs something it then becomes easier to make it a part of your daily life. In other words…no excuses.
Dark leafy greens, such as collard greens, contain flavonols such as myricetin and quercetin. These phytochemicals are nutrients found in plants that act within the body to help decrease inflammation and fight cancer. Myricetin was also shown to assist the body in clearing triglycerides from the blood.
Collard greens are a member of the brassica oleracea family, along with kale and spring greens. They are a popular side dish in the Southern States that are gradually making their way north as their versatility as a healthier option to the typical wrap or tortilla becomes more widely known.
Choose collard greens that are relatively small with firm leaves. They will tend to go limp quickly, but storing in a damp paper towel within a plastic bag can delay the process. Store in the refrigerator.
Strip and discard the tough ribs from the center of the leaves. To decrease the bitterness, simmer or blanch-cook the leaves. This will help mellow the flavor and soften the texture.
Lentils, Onions, Tomatoes, and white beans. Goes well as a wrap for any filling.
Collards are a leafy green that provide a good source of vitamin A, C, and K as well as the mineral of Calcium. Additional plant nutrients include antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin as well as cancer fighting isothiocyanates. In ½ cup serving (roughly 1 large leaf) of collard greens, you’ll find:
- 348% of your daily vitamin K
- 43-55% of your daily vitamin A
- 19-23% of your vitamin C
- 13% of your daily calcium
- 7-11% of your daily fiber
- 22% of your daily folate
An important component of any athlete’s training plan is rest and recovery. The winter months often mean reducing training load for the offseason. One aspect that needs to match this reduced energy expenditure is a reduced energy intake.
Carbohydrates can be one of the easiest components to reduce if you keep the guideline simple: Maintain carbohydrate intake from vegetables, fruits, and legumes and swap out any bread and pasta products you may be eating.
One nutritious and easy swap you can adopt is the use of collard greens in place of wraps and tortillas. Their large size makes them ideal for wrapping up food on the go, while their nutrition profile adds fiber and potassium. Check out this Sriracha Bean Burrito: https://www.spartan.com/en/community/blog/lifestyle?article=43562
Collard Green Recipes
Slow Cooker Collard Greens
- 4 bunches collard greens
- 3 cup vegetable broth, low sodium
- 2 Large onions, chopped
- 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon Crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
- Wash and cut the collard greens and place them in a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to cover.
- Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 3-1/2 hours
Greens & Beans
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 bunch (1 to 11/2 lbs.) collard greens, stems removed, chopped into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup vegetable broth, low sodium
- 1 (15 oz.) can reduced-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- Optional ingredients (omit to keep simple, add to enhance flavor)
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. grated lime zest
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and slightly browned
- Stir in garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, stirring often
- Add collards, cooking until wilted, stirring often, about 4 minutes
- Add broth and simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, until greens are very tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. If using optional flavor enhancers, add them during this step
- Stir in beans and heat through, about 2 minutes. Enjoy!
Collard Green Wraps
Large bowl of ice water
Pan of hot water for blanching
Bunch of large leaf collard greens
- Bring a large pan of water to a simmer
- Wash collard greens
- Gather up sheets of paper towel (or actual towels). These will be used to dry the leaves after heating
- Using a paring knife, cut off any large stem. Turn the knife sideways to trim the remaining stem (the spine) down until it closely resembles the thickness of the leaf (as close as you can get it)
- One at a time and using a set of tongs, place a green into the simmering water. Simmer between 10-30 seconds. The goal is softening the green while keeping it firm enough to hold together.
- Using tongs, immediately place leaf in ice water for a few seconds.
- Using tongs, remove the leaf and place it on the paper towel. While the next leaf is simmering, dry the previous leaf with the towel
Use leaves as a substitution for a tortilla, wrap, or bread. Leaves will hold for 5-7 days in the refrigerator
Chickpeas and Collard Greens
1 bunch collard greens
2 15oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 red onion
Extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
Pink Himalayan sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up
- In a bowl, combine chickpeas and roughly chopped red onion red onion. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon each of cumin and turmeric. Add salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Spread evenly on baking sheet and roast for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, stir around the baking sheet, and return to oven for another 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a large saute pan, heat extra virgin olive oil, garlic and yellow over medium heat until onions are translucent
- Add the collard greens, stir and sprinkle remaining 1 teaspoon cumin. Reduce heat to low, cover and let sit, stirring occasionally, until collards are wilted
- Serve chickpeas on top of collard greens and enjoy!
Collard Greens and Quinoa
1 bunch collard greens
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup Quinoa, cooked
¼ cup pine nuts
- Prepare quinoa according to package directions
- Wash collard greens, remove ribs, and roughly chop
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add garlic and onion and cook until garlic is fragrant and onions are slightly translucent
- Add collard greens to skillet and saute until wilted
- Remove from skillet. Toss with pine nuts and quinoa. Grate lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice on top. Enjoy!
Collard Green Monster
1 cup collard greens, rinsed, stems removed
3 Celery ribs
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ inch piece of fresh ginger (more or less to taste)
- Wash all produce
- Core the Pear
- Run ingredients through juicer and drink immediately
Collard Green Mango Smoothie
1 cup collard greens, rinsed, stems removed*
1 cup mango
1 scoop Eat the Bear Vanilla Protein Powder
1 cup water (more or less to desired thickness)
- Wash collard greens and remove stems and ribs
- Wash and cut mango into chunks
- Place all ingredients in blender and blend until desired thickness
*To cut down on bitterness, blanch collard green leaves before making smoothie. If you made the Collard Green Wrap recipe you can use one or two of those leaves!
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