Unlike broccoli and kale and cabbage, you won’t find many research studies devoted to the specific health benefits of collard greens. However, collard greens are sometimes included in a longer list of cruciferous vegetables that are lumped together and examined for the health benefits they provide. Based on a very small number of studies looking specifically at collard greens, and a larger number of studies looking at cruciferous vegetables as a group (and including collard greens on the list of vegetables studied). This connection between collard greens and cancer prevention* should not be surprising since collard greens provide special nutrient support for three body systems that are closely connected with cancer development* as well as cancer prevention*. These three systems are (1) the body’s detox system, (2) its antioxidant system, and (3) its inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system*. Chronic imbalances in any of these three systems can increase risk of cancer*, and when imbalances in all three systems occur simultaneously, the risk of cancer increases significantly*.
1- Detox Support Provided by Collard Greens
The detox support provided by collard greens includes antioxidant nutrients to boost Phase 1 detoxification activities and sulfur-containing nutrients to boost Phase 2 activities. Collard greens also contain phytonutrients called glucosinolates that can help activate detoxification enzymes and regulate their activity. Four key glucosinolates that have been clearly identified in collard greens in significant amounts are glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin. If we fail to give our body’s detox system adequate nutritional support, yet continue to expose ourselves to unwanted toxins through our lifestyle and our dietary choices, we can place our bodies at increased risk of toxin-related damage that can eventually increase our cells’ risk of becoming cancerous*. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to bring collard greens and other cruciferous vegetables into our diet on a regular basis.
2- The Antioxidant Benefits of Collard Greens
As an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), and manganese, and a good source of vitamin E, collard greens provide us with 4 core conventional antioxidants. But the antioxidant support provided by collard greens extends far beyond the conventional nutrients into the realm of phytonutrients. Caffeic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol are among the key antioxidant phytonutrients provided by collard greens. This broad spectrum antioxidant support helps lower the risk of oxidative stress in our cells. Chronic oxidative stress—meaning chronic presence over overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules and cumulative damage to our cells by these molecules—is a risk factor for development of most cancer types*. By providing us with such a great array of antioxidant nutrients.
3- Collard Greens’ Anti-inflammatory* Benefits
As an excellent source of vitamin K and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA), collard greens provide us with two hallmark anti-inflammatory nutrients. Vitamin K acts as a direct regulator of our inflammatory response, and ALA is the building block for several of the body’s most widely-used families of anti-inflammatory messaging molecules. In addition to these two anti-inflammatory components, one of the glucosinolates found in collard greens—glucobrassicin—can be readily converted into an isothiocyanate molecule called I3C, or indole-3-carbinol (I3C). I3C is an anti-inflammatory compound that can actually operate at the genetic level, and by doing so, prevent the initiation of inflammatory responses at a very early stage.
Like chronic oxidative stress and chronic weakened detox ability, chronic unwanted inflammation can significantly increase our risk of cancers* and other chronic diseases (especially cardiovascular diseases)*.
Collard Greens and Heart Support
Researchers have looked at a variety of cardiovascular problems—including heart attack, ischemic heart disease, and atherosclerosis—and found preliminary evidence of an ability on the part of cruciferous vegetables to lower our risk of these health problems. Yet regardless of the specific cardiovascular problem, it is one particular type of cardiovascular benefit that has most interested researchers, and that benefit is the anti-inflammatory nature of collard greens and their fellow cruciferous vegetables. Scientists have not always viewed cardiovascular problems as having a central inflammatory component, but the role of unwanted inflammation in creating problems for our blood vessels and circulation has become increasingly fundamental to an understanding of cardiovascular diseases. Of particular interest here has been the isothiocyanate (ITC) sulforaphane, which is made from glucoraphanin (a glucosinolate) found in collard greens. Not only does this ITC trigger anti-inflammatory activity in our cardiovascular system, it may also be able to help prevent and even possibly help reverse blood vessel damage.
A second area you can count on collard greens for cardiovascular support* involves their cholesterol-lowering ability*. Our liver uses cholesterol as a basic building block to product bile acids. Bile acids are specialized molecules that aid in the digestion and absorption of fat through a process called emulsification. These molecules are typically stored in fluid in our gall bladder, and when we eat a fat-containing meal, they get released into the intestine where they help ready the fat for interaction with enzymes and eventual absorption up into the body. When we eat collard greens, fiber-related nutrients in this cruciferous vegetable bind together with some of the bile acids in the intestine in such a way that they simply stay inside the intestine and pass out of our body in a bowel movement, rather than getting absorbed along with the fat they have emulsified. When this happens, our liver needs to replace the lost bile acids by drawing upon our existing supply of cholesterol, and as a result, our cholesterol level drops down. Collard greens provide us with this cholesterol-lowering benefit whether they are raw or cooked. In addition to the support factors described above, it would be wrong to talk about the cardiovascular benefits of collard greens without mentioning their diverse array of B vitamins. Collard greens are a very good source of vitamins B2, B6, and choline, and a good source of vitamins B1, B3, folate, and pantothenic acid. A well-balanced intake of B vitamins – especially vitamins B6, B12, folate, and choline – can be important in controlling cardiovascular disease risk. Since excessive or deficient intake of these B vitamins can have an unwanted impact on your disease risk, it is great to have a food like collard greens that provide a helpful amount of so many B vitamins. Collard Greens and Digestive Support*
The fiber content of collard greens makes this cruciferous vegetable a natural choice for digestive system support*. Yet the fiber content of collard greens is only one of their digestive support mechanisms. Researchers have determined that the sulforaphane made from a glucosinolate in collard greens (glucoraphanin) helps protect the health of our stomach lining by preventing bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori* in our stomach or too much clinging by this bacterium to our stomach wall*.
The anti-inflammatory* nature of glucosinolates/isothiocyanates and other nutrients found in collard greens has been the basis for new research on inflammation-related health problems and the potential role of collard greens in their prevention. Current and potentially promising research is underway to examine the benefits of collard greens in relationship to our risk of inflammation*-related conditions Collards are leafy green vegetables that belong to the same family that includes cabbage, kale, and broccoli. While they share the same botanical name as kale, Brassica oleracea, and some resemblance, they have their own distinctive qualities. Like kale, collards are one of the non-head forming members of the Brassica family. Collards’ unique appearance features dark blue green leaves that are smooth in texture and relatively broad. They lack the frilled edges that are so distinctive to their cousin kale.
Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), manganese, vitamin C, dietary fiber and calcium. In addition, collard greens are a very good source of vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and iron. They are also a good source of vitamin E, copper, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B5, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, vitamin B1 and potassium.
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Why Freeze Drying vs. other less expensive drying methods?
Freeze drying, or Lyophilization is the most common processing method for removing moisture from biopharmaceuticals, and it can increase the stability, temperature tolerance, and shelf life of these products. Although Freeze drying is well established within the industry, it requires expensive equipment that takes up a great deal of space within a production facility. Freeze drying also can take days to complete, and manufacturers that need a powdered product must incorporate a granulation step to the process. In an environment where budgets are tightening, and where time and facility space are at a premium, Freeze drying might be a difficult option for some companies.
Freeze drying removes the water, not the flavor. So freeze dried foods retain virtually all their fresh food taste, vitamins and nutritional content. Weighs less than fresh Freeze dried foods have 98% of their water removed. This significantly reduces the food’s weight, making it easier to handle and less costly to transport.
Once freeze dried, food products have the following benefits:
Appearance – Freeze dried foods maintain their original shape and texture, unlike air dried foods which shrink and shrivel due to high temperature processing. Just add water and in minutes the food rehydrates to its original form.
Taste – Tastes as good as fresh. Freeze drying removes the water, not the flavor. So freeze dried foods retain virtually all their fresh food taste, vitamins and nutritional content.
Weight – Weighs less than fresh. Freeze dried foods have 98% of their water removed. This significantly reduces the food’s weight, making it easier to handle and less costly to transport.
Long Shelf Life – Freeze dried foods can be stored for months or years at room temperature without deterioration or spoilage.
Low Storage Costs – Because it can be stored at room temperature, freeze dried food does not require costly cold or chilled storage facilities, making it much cheaper to store.
Freeze Drying vs. Other Drying Methods: