Collard Greens: The Red Headed Stepchild of Superfoods

Everyone knows about kale. Kale is touted as a superfood that will practically regrow lost limbs.

Kale’s rise to prominence can be traced to Dr. Joel Furhman, who created the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI). Dr. Jorhman analyzed thousands of foods, examining their respective cancer-fighting and immune-system properties. Furhman then ranked foods based on their nutrient density, assigning each food a so-called ANDI score.

Dr. Fuhrman has completely revised his ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) scoring system to provide a more accurate picture of each food’s nutritional quality. Dr. Fuhrman originally developed the ANDI scoring system to rank foods according to micronutrients per calorie, including vitamins, minerals, and as many known beneficial phytochemicals as possible. Since the original calculation of the ANDI scores new information has come to light regarding certain beneficial phytochemicals, such as angiogenesis inhibitors, organosulfides, isothiocyanates, and aromatase inhibitors. Dr. Fuhrman has incorporated this information into a revised algorithm that more accurately reflects the nutritional value of each food.

Kale scored a perfect 1,000 and soon was an A-list celebrity at Whole Foods. In the rush to exalt kale, another perfect food was buried.

Collard greens are also a perfect superfood. Collards are loaded with carotenoids, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, folate, and manganese. Collard greens also help fight cancer.

Collard greens offer a major benefit over kale. Namely, collars have a much higher yield. You will get more ounces of juice from collards than from kale.

As we show in this post, It’s not uncommon to get 1.5 ounces of juice from a single collard leaf.

Because collards are underhyped, they are also less costly than kale.

What are green juice recipes using collard greens?

Collards make an excellent addition to any Real V8 juice recipe.

Real V8 Juice with Collards

  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized beet
  • 1/2 nub ginger
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 lemon (peeled)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 2 collard green leaves and stems

You can also cook collards. Since collards are high in carotenoids, it helps to cook them with a little fat.

  • Separate the leaves from the stems. Slice the stems into small segments or rip them up. (No need to get fancy.)
  • Turn your skillet on to medium heat.
  • Throw on some coconut oil, olive oil, or clarified butter.
  •  Toss it around the skillet for a couple of minutes until the leaves look soft and chewy.
  • Flavor with salt, pepper, or chili flakes to taste.

You can also steam collards. Cooking time will depend on your steamer. I’ve found that 5 minutes is plenty of time in this steamer.

Whatever you do, just don’t boil your greens. Boiling vegetables causes the nutrients to leech out. (I suppose you might be able “reclaim” the nutrients by drinking the green juice that’s at the bottom of the pan. It makes more sense to juice, stir-fry, or steam greens.)

Hopefully you have a newfound appreciation for collard greens. Collards are as much of a superfood as kale. Collards have a higher yield than kale and also taste delicious when cooked.  



  1. Rob says

    Two words: bok choy. I recently started juicing with bok choy. It has at least three virtues–it’s 3rd on the ANDI list, yields mega juice (way more than Kale), and it’s not too bitter.

    I like to mix Bok Choy and Kale. I think it was you who said, it feels like I’m drinking nature.

  2. Debra Strange says

    Collards in the South have always been served with the “pot likker” they have been cooked in, which usually contains a moderate amount of fat. You get the greens, a little bit of pork fat and the nutricious broth. It is best served with some homey beans and some cornbread made with organic egg and fresh ground cornmeal. A humble meal, but full of sustenance.