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Can You Eat Collard Greens Raw?

Collards, kale, and other leafy green veggies can add a healthy boost to any meal, but they also have some health risks if consumed raw.

Is collard greens healthier cooked or raw?

Cooking collard greens is not only an excellent way to make them taste better, it’s also one of the best ways to reduce its cancer-causing properties.

The process of cooking turns out carcinogens into harmless compounds called “volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which aren’t easily absorbed by our bodies.”

However, this doesn’t mean you should toss away those steaming hot collard leaves!

They still contain plenty of nutrients like vitamin K, C, A, B6, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants.

The key benefit of cooking collard greens is that it reduces their cancer causing potential.

But how much do we really know?

Well, according to the American Cancer Society, there isn’t enough evidence yet to determine whether or not cooking helps lower colorectal cancer risk—but research has shown that consuming certain types of cruciferous vegetables may be linked with reduced prostate cancer risk.

In addition, many studies show that people who consume cooked broccoli tend to absorb less than half of its phytochemicals compared to those who ate uncooked broccoli.

So while cooking might protect us from certain forms of cancer, it could also decrease the amount of nutritional value we receive.

And the fact remains that no matter what form they take, these greens continue to pack a punch when it comes to nutrition.

One thing is clear though: Collard greens are far superior when eaten raw, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Here’s why…

  • Raw collard greens provide a whopping 120% of RDI of Vitamin K
  • Raw collard greens supply 15 percent of daily requirement of Magnesium
  • A 1/4 cup serving provides 21% of daily requirement of Folate
  • A ½ cup serving provides 19% of daily requirement of Calcium
  • A ¼ cup serving supplies 10% of daily requirement of Potassium
  • ¾ cup contains 7% of daily requirement of Iron
  • ½ cup of boiled collard greens will give you 5% of daily requirement of Vitamins C and E

Cooking collard greens is not only an excellent way to make them taste better, it’s also one of the best ways to reduce its cancer-causing properties.

The process of cooking turns out carcinogens into harmless compounds called “volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which aren’t easily absorbed by our bodies.”

However, this doesn’t mean you should toss away those steaming hot collard leaves!

They still contain plenty of nutrients like vitamin K, C, A, B6, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants.

The key benefit of cooking collard greens is that it reduces their cancer causing potential.

But how much do we really know?

Well, according to the American Cancer Society, there isn’t enough evidence yet to determine whether or not cooking helps lower colorectal cancer risk— So next time you start thinking about adding another side dish to your plate, consider throwing down some collard greens instead.

You won’t regret it.

These superfoods are packed full of vitamins and minerals, plus fiber and protein too.

Plus, they’re incredibly easy to prepare and cook.

With a few simple additions, they become a delicious part of almost every meal.

What are the benefits of eating raw collard greens?

Collards can help boost immunity against colds and flu, as well as infections such as bacterial pneumonia, urinary tract infections, stomach bugs, and even food poisoning.

Just remember to wash them thoroughly before preparing them for consumption.

When consumed in moderation, collards have been known to contribute towards weight loss because they’re low on calories but high in volume.

Since they’re very dense, they fill up your belly fast without taking up much room inside your digestive track.

This makes it easier to feel fuller longer.

Also, since most collard recipes call for using just the stems (unless specified) you’ll get more of the nutrient-rich leafy portion.

That means you’ll experience greater health benefits from each bite.

They’ve got powerful anti-cancer effects thanks to their rich content of glucosinolates, indoles, flavonoids, saponins, oxalic acid, lignans, and other anticancer agents.

In fact, collard greens are considered a powerhouse among all green veggies due to their ability to fight against various cancers including colon, breast, lung, ovary, liver, kidney, skin, and cervical.

While collards were originally used to treat respiratory issues, modern medical science now considers them effective at treating chronic conditions like asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

It was actually discovered back in 1847 that the juice extracted from the plant helped cure tuberculosis patients.

As a result of this discovery, collard greens became popular throughout Europe during the 1800s where it eventually made its way across America.

Over time, researchers began discovering new uses for collard greens like helping prevent osteoporosis, lowering cholesterol levels, preventing heart disease, and fighting off diabetes.

Today, collard greens are used to treat diseases ranging from gout to arthritis.

As mentioned above, collard greens are extremely versatile and can be prepared several different ways depending on personal preference.

For example, some prefer to sauté them in oil until tender then add seasonings such as garlic, onion powder, pepper, bay leaves, chili peppers, etc., then top them with cheese.

Others like to steam them whole in water along with salt and pepper.

Still others enjoy making a slaw by mixing chopped collard greens with shredded carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, onions, celery, and dressing.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to collard green preparation.

If you want to try any recipe, please check out our article detailing 8 Ways To Prep Your Own Raw Collard Greens to find inspiration.

Or if you’d rather skip the prep work altogether, here are 3 Easy Collar Green Recipes that require little effort or ingredients.

What is the best way to eat collard greens?

Many people don’t realize that there’s nothing wrong with eating collard greens raw.

You can definitely prepare them in many delicious ways so long as you know how to select healthy ones.

but research has shown that consuming certain types of cruciferous vegetables may be linked with reduced prostate cancer risk.

In addition, many studies show that people who consume cooked broccoli tend to absorb less than half of its phytochemicals compared to those who ate uncooked broccoli.

So while cooking might protect us from certain forms of cancer, it could also decrease the amount of nutritional value we receive.

And the fact remains that no matter what form they take, these greens continue to pack a punch when it comes to nutrition.

One thing is clear though: Collard greens are far superior when eaten raw, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The following information will teach you about the pros and cons of consuming collard greens raw.

  • “Raw” collard greens contain no preservatives, additives, or artificial colors and flavors which makes them an excellent choice for those on special diets that avoid foods containing MSG or wheat gluten.
  • However, collards also contain lots of nitrates, especially in older varieties. Nitrate occurs naturally in soil and plants and helps protect them from bacteria growth. Unfortunately, too much nitrate has negative side effects on humans. Some experts believe that overconsumption could lead to cancerous tumors. So while fresh collard greens may not cause harm, processed versions should always be avoided.
  • Another reason why you shouldn’t consume raw collard greens is because they tend to lose nutrients quickly once removed from the ground. They must first undergo dehydration prior to being packaged and shipped from farm to table. Dehydration results in significant losses of vitamins A, B1, C, K, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, and potassium. These nutrients are essential for proper human function and development. If you choose to purchase pre-packaged collard greens, make sure to read labels carefully to determine whether they include added sugar, sodium, fat, and/or preservative chemicals.
  • Lastly, raw collard greens aren’t only limited to salads alone. Many people use them interchangeably with spinach when cooking. While collard greens can certainly complement dishes like soups, stews, casseroles, stir fries, meatloaf, chicken salad sandwiches, pasta, eggs, omelets, and vegetable sides, you won’t see anyone recommending eating them plain. Instead, they’re usually served alongside proteins, grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dairy products, oils, sauces, spices, herbs, condiments, and sweets.

How to cook collard greens

In order to create the perfect dish featuring cooked collard greens, start with choosing organic, non-irradiated, washed, and trimmed collard greens.

Next, rinse them under cool running tap water to remove dirt, debris, sand, insects, and insect eggs from between the leaves.

Once rinsed, pat dry with paper towels and place cut ends pointing down onto sheets pan lined with parchment paper.

Place pans directly in oven set at medium heat temperature (around 350 degrees Fahrenheit).

Turn the oven light on to keep temperature constant within the pan and let greens sit for 15 minutes.

Afterward, flip them around to ensure even cooking.

Continue to bake for another minute or two and then remove to a cooling rack to allow excess moisture to evaporate completely.

When cooled, store leftovers in refrigerator for future usage.

Other ways to cook collard greens

  • Steam – Cut collard greens lengthwise into strips and submerge into boiling pot filled with enough water to cover bottom half of the leaves. Cover pot and bring water to boil. Reduce heat to simmering point and wait 5 minutes. Remove lid and drain excess liquid. Serve immediately. Repeat process 2 times per batch.
  • Sauté – Chop kale, chard, and collard greens separately. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté collard greens for one minute. Add remaining ingredients and continue sauteeing for additional 4 minutes. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Broil – Preheat broiler and line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange collard greens on baking sheet. Broil for 4 minutes turning halfway through cooking period. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve warm.
  • Bake – Prepare collard greens according to directions listed above. Bake covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. Uncover and sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon oregano. Return to oven uncovered and continue to roast for another 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill – Grilling adds extra flavor to collard greens. Grill them over hot coals or charcoal grill, turning frequently to assure uniform coloration. Use tongs or turn fork to baste leaves with melted butter or barbecue sauce.

What do collard greens taste like raw?

Collard greens have a slightly sweet yet tart taste.

Like most leafy green veggies, it’s very high in antioxidants and vitamin k, both of which help promote good health by helping your body fight off free radicals and other harmful compounds present in food.

When purchasing collard greens, look for firm stems, bright green outer leaves, and shiny dark green inner leaves.

Avoid wilted leaves and any brown spots.

Which greens should not be eaten raw?

Some types of fresh produce are best served at room temperature or even chilled (if they’re cold-sensitive).

Others need to stay cool until after cooking so their nutrients can fully absorb into the plant’s cells.

In general, this includes many leafy green items, but also some root vegetables including carrots, turnips, parsnip, and potatoes.

The list goes on.

“Cold-tolerant” fruits and berries include strawberries, blueberries, grapes, raspberries, plums, currants, blackberries, pears, nectarines, peaches, apricots, melons, watermelon, and tomatoes.

Some of these foods will keep longer if refrigerated or frozen instead of being stored in a refrigerator drawer with all the rest of your perishables.

  • If you buy prewashed salad mix, make sure the bag says “ready to serve.” This means there are no dirty ingredients mixed together — just the greens, dressing, and seasoning. And when possible, choose bags that don’t say how much per serving they hold! Salad mixes often come in smaller sizes than single servings, making it easy for people who aren’t hungry to grab only what they want without wasting anything extra.
  • It’s great to toss any leftovers from a meal in the fridge to use later. Just store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month before thawing out and using again. Leftover pasta dishes freeze well too!

Is it OK to eat raw greens?

The answer depends on which type of greens you’re eating.

Raw is fine for most leafy greens like kale, chard, lettuce, bok choi, arugula, endive, and mustard greens.

These kinds of leaves contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which help protect our bodies against free radicals and other harmful substances.

Antioxidants have been found to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve cholesterol levels, fight cancerous tumors, and prevent heart disease.

Raw leafy greens provide a good source of vitamins A, C, K, folate, magnesium, manganese, zinc, potassium, fiber, and phytonutrients that may boost immune system function.

But some raw leafy greens are more nutritious than others.

For example, iceberg lettuce has less vitamin K than romaine lettuce because it contains fewer chlorophyll compounds.

Chlorophyll helps plants capture sunlight during photosynthesis, allowing them to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.

Vitamin K promotes bone health by helping us absorb calcium from food sources and maintain healthy bones.

When we talk about the nutrient content of certain greens, we usually mean the amount of calories each one provides per 100 grams.

Calorie counts vary significantly among different types of greens depending on factors like moisture level, texture, and size.

When choosing between two similar options, look closely at nutrition facts labels.

You’ll find information here on everything from total fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, sodium, sugar alcohols, trans fats, and caffeine.

How do I know whether my greens are ready to eat?

In general, leafy greens should be crisp enough to snap off easily.

They should also feel firm to the touch.

If they’re wilted, limp, or soggy, discard them immediately.

The same goes for roots and tubers including sweet potato, carrot, radish, beet, celery root, turnip, parsnip, and parsley root.

Don’t wait to cook greens until right before you plan to consume them.

To avoid losing nutritional value, try to prepare them within 24 hours of purchase.

If you’d prefer to leave them uncooked for several days, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a zip-top bag to preserve their color.

Stored properly in the crisper section of your refrigerator, they’ll last about 4 to 5 days.

What else needs to be considered while preparing leafy greens?

You might think that steaming, sauteeing, microwaving, roasting, grilling, baking, broiling, frying, stir-frying, stewing, braising, boiling, or simmering would work equally well for every kind of edible plant.

That isn’t always true.

Steaming, sauteeing, microwaving, and roasting tend to retain more of the nutrients in leafy greens compared to other methods.

Roasted broccoli, for instance, loses half its antioxidant power compared to boiled broccoli.

Grilled zucchini retains twice as many antioxidants as pan-fried zucchini.

Cooked greens become tender faster than raw ones.

So if you’ve got leftover cooked greens, consider tossing them into salads the next day rather than storing them in the fridge overnight.

Or give them a quick reheat under the grill when you need to add flavor to a dish that calls for raw veggies.

Do collard greens need to be cooked?

Collards (also known as “kale”) aren’t technically part of the cruciferous vegetable family since they don’t grow underground.

However, collards’ close cousins include broccoli, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, cabbages, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, and romanesco squash.

All of those varieties are members of the brassica genus.

Collards, however, fall closer to kale.

Both collards and kale are grown for their dark green leaves with little stem attached to long stems.

If you want to enjoy collard greens without cooking them first, just wash thoroughly and pat dry.

Then either chop, tear, shred, slice, or cut them into bite-sized pieces.

Toss ’em with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, fresh herbs, and lemon juice.

Serve warm or cold.

Cooked collards can taste slightly bitter if not prepared correctly but still offer plenty of benefits.

Does collard greens clean your colon?

The health benefits of eating leafy greens have been proven time and again by research studies, including one that found collard greens were among the top 10 foods most likely to lower LDL cholesterol levels.

” Leafy greens contain high amounts of fiber, which helps move waste through the digestive tract — helping prevent constipation,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Gina Homolka, MPH RDN.

She adds that these nutrients also help keep blood sugar under control by lowering glucose absorption from food.

Fiber is also vital to good bowel function because it keeps things moving along while preventing too much gas production.

In addition to being loaded with vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, protein, and omega 3 fatty acids, leafy greens are low on calories and packed full of antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin.

As we’ve already mentioned, collards pack more nutritional punch than many other veggies.

In fact, collard greens may even outdo some popular superfoods like blueberries, acai berries, pomegranates, and cranberries according to WebMD.

Are greens healthier cooked or raw?

We can’t say for sure if collard greens are better when eaten as an uncooked vegetable or prepared in recipes.

But here’s what we do know about cooking them: The Environmental Working Group (EWG) ranked collards dead last in their 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce report.

That means there is no need to worry about consuming pesticides during preparation.

  • To cook collard greens, boil them until tender but not mushy. This takes around 20 minutes depending on how thick they are cut.
  • Cooking collards leaves off any bitterness, so don’t add anything extra such as salt or fat before boiling.
  • Collard greens can be sautéed, steamed, roasted, grilled, stir-fried, and microwaved.
  • You can use collard greens instead of cabbage in Korean kimchi.

It’s important to note that raw collard green leaves carry risks of bacterial contamination since they’re exposed to dirt and insects.

As long as you wash your hands after handling them, this won’t pose a problem unless you choose to eat raw collard greens without washing first.

Do collard greens clean your colon?

This question has been asked by people who have recently undergone colonoscopy.

Collard greens contain high amounts of folic acid which helps prevent cancer cells from growing inside the body.

While it may help with cleansing out toxins, it cannot replace regular bowel movements.

If you want to try eating more collard greens, make sure to drink plenty of water while doing so.

If you enjoy eating these vegetables, then go ahead and incorporate some into your diet once every couple days.

You might just find yourself feeling fuller longer than usual.

How much should I eat per day?

“I would start small,” says Dr.Andrew Weil because he recommends starting at 1/4 cup per meal.

“As you get used to [collard greens], you’ll probably want less.”

He suggests having three servings each week.

Which collard greens varieties are best?

There are several types of collard greens available.

Each variety contains different nutrients due to its unique taste, texture, and color.

Here is a list of common ones:

  • Green leaf — most commonly sold canned or frozen
  • Curly leaf — looks like broccoli stems
  • Red leaf — similar to curly leaf, but darker red
  • Rough leaf — resembles broccoli stem
  • Sour leaf — reddish purple

The following list shows what you can expect to see at grocery stores:

  • Canned collard greens (choose organic)
  • Frozen collard greens (choose organic)

In addition to all of the above listed ingredients, collard greens can contain healthy fats, omega 3s, vitamin K, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.


Should you eat greens raw or cooked?

Whether you choose to steam them first depends on how you plan to use them later.

Raw collards will be easier for children to chew.

However, cooking collards makes them softer and milder tasting.

For adults and teens, raw collards will also work well if they’re combined with other soft foods like fruits and veggies such as avocado slices, cucumber wedges, and carrots sticks.

For those over 40 years old, steamed collards are recommended since they don’t retain their bitter flavor as long after being boiled.

They become very tender and flavorful when served this way.

Raw collard leaves are good sources of folate, vitamins A and C, fiber, protein, minerals, and amino acids.

Cooked collard leaves provide more calories and carbohydrates compared to raw collards.

The higher level of energy provided by cooked collard leaves comes mainly from added sugars.

What’s the healthiest way to store collard greens?

Collard greens should be stored between 50 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

This temperature range allows optimal freshness without compromising quality.

Refrigerated storage does not affect the nutritional content of collard greens as much as storing them outside temperatures.

Are there any side effects associated with consuming large quantities of collard greens?

Although collard green consumption increases risk factors for heart disease, no conclusive evidence exists linking collard greens to increased cardiovascular risks related to hypertension, stroke, myocardial infarction, or angina pectoris.

Eating one serving of cooked collard greens daily provides an average of 6 grams of dietary fiber and about 4 ounces of vegetable matter, including 8 percent total fat and 2 percent saturated fatty acids.

It also contains many important antioxidants and micronutrients.

Is drinking iced tea made from collard greens safe?

Yes! Although drinking cold beverages containing caffeine may increase blood pressure, consuming ice teas prepared from collard greens doesn’t carry the same risks as coffee or soda drinks.

Does collard green juice count as fruit? Can kids consume collard greens?

Juice counts toward a child’s 5-a-day requirement.

Children under age two should avoid juices made from collard greens due to potential exposure to pesticide residues found in produce grown using conventional farming practices.

Older children should limit themselves to one glass of 100% fruit juice per day.

Parents need to monitor young children closely as they tend to consume larger volumes of liquids.

No, it’s still considered a vegetable even though it tastes like something else.

Kids love it anyway.

How do you think our ancestors ate collard greens thousands of years ago? Do you know anything special about collard greens’ history?

Before the invention of refrigeration and modern transportation methods, early humans relied on wild plants to survive during times of famine.

As far back as 3000 B.C., ancient Egyptians began cultivating wheat and barley crops to feed their people during periods of drought.

Where did collard greens originate? What’s the origin story behind this popular food item?

It was originally thought that collard greens originated in Africa before migrating south across the Atlantic Ocean and becoming widespread throughout America.

However, recent research suggests that collard greens were brought to North America via slave ships from West Africa in 18th century plantations where slaves grew them for sustenance.

The name ‘collard’ derives from the African word kollewai meaning ‘to pick.’ In fact, collard greens are believed to have spread farther north through Virginia and Maryland prior to arriving in Georgia.

Today, collard greens are primarily harvested from fields located in central and southern states.

Have you ever had a bad experience with collard greens? How did it turn out?

Not surprisingly, I haven’t had a great experience with collard greens.

When I was younger, we didn’t grow them ourselves.

My mother bought them pre-packaged and always kept them hidden away in her refrigerator until she decided to add them to my plate.

Sometimes she’d hide them in plain sight in a bowl next to the iceberg lettuce.

When I got older, I tried making homemade versions myself.

Unfortunately, I never mastered the art of properly blanching collard greens.

I’ve learned that proper blanching techniques include removing the tough outer part of the collard leaf and cutting off the ends of the veins.

Then, place the cleaned collard leaves in a pot filled with salted water and let boil uncovered for approximately 20 minutes.

After draining the leaves, remove them from heat and rinse thoroughly with cool water before adding salt, pepper, and olive oil to coat the surface.

Finally, toss the dressed leaves onto a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.

While roasting and frying sounds delicious, I prefer steaming collard greens simply seasoned with salt and pepper.

Steaming them brings out the natural sweetness of the collard leaves and creates a rich, savory mouthfeel.

However, I rarely serve them alone, opting instead to pair them with meaty dishes like fried chicken, pork chops, and fried shrimp.

What’s the difference between collard greens and mustard greens? Are they interchangeable?

Collard greens and mustard greens both belong to the Brassicaceae family of vegetables along with kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, radishes, arugula, broccoli, romanesco, brussels sprout, and rapini.

All members of this genus share certain characteristics.

First, they are round in shape and typically green or yellow in color.

Second, they usually come from annual species rather than perennials.

Lastly, they contain a strong aroma and possess either a spicy or peppery flavor.

Despite sharing similarities, collard greens differ significantly from mustard greens in terms of appearance and preparation.

Mustard greens look nothing like collard greens.

Instead, they resemble miniature cabbages with dark green, crinkled leaves.

Mustard greens are often confused with spinach or Swiss chard due to their vibrant colors.

But unlike collard greens, mustard greens must be cooked to soften their hard edges.

They also require additional time to prepare since they must be washed, trimmed, chopped, and sauteed before serving.

Because collard greens and mustard greens are distinctively different, it isn’t uncommon to confuse them in restaurants or markets.

To further complicate matters, collard greens may sometimes

Why do you put vinegar in collard greens?

The answer lies in the process used to cook collard greens.

Collard greens are traditionally stewed with vinegar which helps reduce bitterness while enhancing flavor.

Boiling the leaves releases nutrients into solution but causes the leaves to lose some moisture.

Adding vinegar to the boiling liquid restores lost hydration levels and reduces bitterness.

Vinegar is commonly paired with collard greens because it has similar flavors.

Other common ingredients include onion, garlic, hot peppers, bay leaves, black pepper, thyme, oregano, allspice, rosemary, sage, peppercorn, lemon, lime, parsley, tarragon, dill weed, basil, mint, coriander seed, celery seeds, chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, tomato paste, brown sugar, molasses, honey, soy sauce, wine, beer, whiskey, sherry, bourbon, gin, rum, brandy, vodka, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, and champagne vinegar.

What does collard greens do to your stomach?

Collard greens contain high amounts of vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamins C and B6.

Vitamin K is an important nutrient for bone health and blood clotting.

It also supports healthy liver function by helping cells use proteins properly.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin K is 120 mcg per day for adults over 19 years old.

This can come from a variety of sources including leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, watercress, arugula, bok choi, and broccoli rabe.

” Vitamin K promotes calcium absorption and prevents osteoporosis,” says Dr.Stephen Barrett, author of How Not To Die Young.

” It’s one reason why vegans may need supplemental vitamin K.”

As for vitamin C, researchers at Tufts School of Medicine found that people who ate more vitamin C were less likely to develop cancer or heart disease.

Studies show that consuming 3 grams of fresh fruit or vegetable on most days provides 50% of the RDA for vitamin C.

However, this amount only lasts for about 2 hours after eating.

If you don’t get enough fruits and veggies throughout the day, then taking supplements could help ensure adequate intake.

Other benefits of collard greens

  • High in fiber, potassium, iron, folate, magnesium, protein, zinc, omega fatty acids, copper, manganese, selenium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, iodine, molybdenum, chromium, beta carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, flavonoids, polyphenols, phytosterols, saponins, amino acids, antioxidants, anthocyanidins, chlorophylls, phenolic compounds, alkaloids, and many other beneficial nutrients.
  • Contain anti-cancer properties due to their antioxidant content and ability to prevent free radical damage to DNA.
  • Rich source of dietary fiber with low glycemic index value. Fiber lowers cholesterol and protects against cardiovascular diseases.
  • May lower risk factors associated with type II diabetes.
  • Low calorie count – just 10 calories per cup (about 1 ½ cups). Low fat – no butter or oil needed! High in vitamins A & C and minerals like calcium, phosphorous, sodium, chloride, sulfur, iron, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, and manganese.
  • Good source of beta-carotene and lycopene, two powerful antioxidants that protect skin from sunburn and aging.

What vegetables should not be eaten raw?

Raw foods have been shown to carry bacteria, viruses and parasites which make us sick.

Raw produce carries salmonella germs, E.coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter jejuni, Shigella dysenteriae, hepatitis A virus, norovirus, rotaviruses, human papilloma viruses, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium parvum, and Salmonella typhi.

Eating uncooked meats means you are ingesting these organisms along with any pathogens present.

You can still enjoy some types of raw food without worry.

For example, you can consume unpasteurized cheeses, fermented sauerkraut, cultured dairy products, and unpasteurized juices.

These items often carry fewer harmful microbes because they haven’t undergone pasteurization.

But avoid raw eggs unless you know how long ago they were laid and whether they came from hens vaccinated against salmonella.

Some raw foods you shouldn’t eat include:

  • Eggplant
  • Mushrooms
  • Pineapple
  • Potatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Undercooked meat and poultry
  • Vegetables grown under warm conditions such as tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, melons, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, Brussels sprouts, radishes, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, mushrooms, peas, parsley, mint, basil, garlic, beans, legumes, strawberries, melons, citrus fruits, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, avocados, figs, peaches, plums, pears, apples, apricots, cherries, grapes, kiwis, berries, and nuts.

Dr. Michael Greger, M.D., Ph.D. explains what happens to our bodies when we eat raw food:

The gut microbiota plays an essential role in digestion and immune system development and maintenance.

When we eat raw plant material, especially whole grains, seeds, roots, leaves, stems, and tubers, our digestive systems must break down and extract all of the energy stored within those indigestible components before releasing usable nutrients into circulation.

In order to do so, the intestine has to create short chain fatty acids [SCFAs] by fermentation using enzymes produced by its resident microflora.

SCFA production requires large amounts of oxygen during fermentation, hence the “stinky breath” effect sometimes experienced following ingestion of raw plant material.

Are raw greens better than cooked?

Yes! It is best to cook leafy green veggies like kale, collards, turnip greens, beet greens, chard, mustard greens, endive, romaine lettuce and escarole to kill off disease-causing bacteria.

You might think that cooking makes this type of veggie tough but steaming for 5 minutes, roasting at 400° F (200° C) for 15 minutes, baking at 350° F (175° C) for 25 minutes, boiling for 30 minutes, microwaving for 3 minutes, stir frying for 2 minutes, grilling for 6 minutes, or broiling for 7 minutes will tenderize the outer leaves while keeping the inner leaves crunchier.

This allows you to enjoy eating healthy, delicious greens guilt free!

Braised Collard Greens

Cooking collard greens is not only an excellent way to make them taste better, it’s also one of the best ways to reduce its cancer-causing properties.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Braised Collard Greens
Calories: 271kcal


  • 2 strips bacon cut into small lardons
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • In a deep saute pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from the pan and reserve the grease. Add the garlic, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant. The collard greens should be added and cooked until they start to wilt. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer before adding the chicken stock and 1/2 cup water. Let to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the greens are soft. Remove the lid, re-add the bacon, increase the heat to medium-high, and simmer the liquid for 1 to 2 minutes to reduce it by half. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.



Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 472mg | Potassium: 412mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 620IU | Vitamin C: 63mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg
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