Keto Collard Greens: Benefits & Risks

What are collard greens? Well, collard greens are green leafy vegetables like kale, cabbage, broccoli, etc. Collard greens are grown in well-drained soil and cool weather.

Furthermore, collard greens are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Due to these nutrients, collard greens provide a wide range of health benefits.

But are collard greens keto? Can you insert this green leafy vegetable into your daily keto vegetable carb chart? Let’s check the facts.

Why Collard Greens Are Keto?

All organic foods that are low in carbs and high fats are considered keto friendly. One cup of collard greens contains only 0.2 grams of fats and 0.5 grams of net carbs.

Although collard greens are not high fat, it contains a very little amount of carbs which makes collard greens keto approved.

Are Collard Greens Low in Carbs?

Yes, collard greens are low in carbs. This keto vegetable contains a little number of total carbs. One cup of chopped collard greens provides 1.95 grams of total carbs and 1.44 grams of dietary fiber.

After deducting the dietary fiber collard greens net carbs comes down to only 0.5 grams which is much lower than several keto vegetables.

Are Collard Greens Good for Keto Diet?

Collard greens are nutrient powerhouses. These green leafy vegetables are not only good for the keto diet but also beneficial for health.

The benefits of highly nutritious collard greens are well known. Moreover, all of these collard green benefits are proven in scientific studies.

Let’s check what are the benefits of collard greens!

Bone Health Mainntenance

Collard greens are a rich source of potassium, calcium, vitamin K and magnesium which are beneficial for healthy bone development.

Calcium intake improves bone mass by skeletal calcium retention during the growth phase. Furthermore, calcium has benefits over the improvement of bone mineral accretion rate, bone loss prevention, and bone fractures related to osteoporosis (1).

Studies have shown that vitamin K is able to increase bone mineral density in osteoporotic people and reduce fracture rates. Moreover, vitamin K helps to maintain calcium balance in bones and improve bone metabolism (2).

Like vitamin K and calcium dietary potassium aids in proper bone health. A higher intake of dietary potassium improves bone health and prevents osteoporosis (3).

Also, dietary magnesium impacts bone health especially in the femoral neck and total hip portion. It is found that a high intake of dietary magnesium improves bone mineral density (BMD) in the total hip as well as in the femoral neck (4).

Anti Cancer Activity

The nutrient dense profile of collard greens provides anti cancer activities. Collard green contains vitamin A, C, and calcium. All of this trio can help to reduce your risks of cancer (5, 6, 7).

The vitamin A component of collard greens may prevent ovarian cancer and vitamin C have beneficial effects on breast cancer cells. Moreover, calcium rich collard greens can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Pregnancy Benefits

Collard greens are a great source of folate and vitamin C both of which are essential for a healthy pregnancy. A pregnant woman between 19 to 30 years age range requires 85 mg of vitamin C and 600 µg of vitamin B9 or folate (8).

You will get 129 µg of folate and 35.3 mg of vitamin C from a 100 gram serving of collard greens. That means only 100 grams of this leafy vegetable fulfills almost half of the required vitamin C and one-fourth of folate.

Folate is useful for the growth and development of the fetus and reduces the risk of neural tube defects. Moreover, folate deficiency promotes abnormalities like anemia, peripheral neuropathy in mothers, and congenital abnormalities in fetuses (9).

Constipation Cure & Diabetes Control

The high fiber component of collard greens helps to prevent constipation. According to studies, dietary fiber increases stool in patients with constipation (10).

So, collards greens are useful if you are facing constipation on a ketosis diet like keto bread constipation, peanut butter constipation, coconut flour constipation, or almond flour constipation.

Moreover, fiber rich collard greens aids in diabetes control. Studies have shown that high fiber supplementation reduces fasting blood glucose and HbA1c by 0.26% for type 2 diabetics (11).

Furthermore, collard greens have a low glycemic index which has beneficial effects on diabetes control.

Immunity Boost

The super micronutrients like vitamin A, vitamin E & zinc components of collard greens promote a healthy immune system.

Vitamin A is also known as an anti-inflammation vitamin. This healthy micronutrient has benefits over the innate immune system and adaptive immunity. Furthermore, vitamin A is able to enhance the organism’s immune function and improves defense against multiple infectious diseases (12).

Vitamin C  is a potent antioxidant like vitamin A. Vitamin C boosts immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune systems (13).

Zinc is an important micronutrient for the immune system. It plays an important role in catalytic and structural roles in many proteins (14). Furthermore, zinc deficiency is related to the defects in both the adaptive and innate immune responses (15).

Prevention of Keto Diet Gallstones

Excess intake of high fat diet is associated with gallbladder problems or even the occurrence of gallstones for extreme cases (16). As the keto diet is high in fat surplus intake of the keto diet and gallbladder problems are interlinked.

However, keto gallbladder issues can be prevented by adding nutrient rich collard greens to your meal plan. As high fiber and vitamin C components of collard greens can prevent gallbladder issues or gallstones.

According to studies a high intake of fiber rich foods and vitamin C have a protective role against gallbladder problems (17).

Skin Health

The healthy nutrients of collard greens have a protective effect against common skin problems. This green leafy vegetable is a rich source of vitamin A, C, E, niacin, calcium, and zinc.

All of these have benefits over the skin. Intake of copper, vitamin A, and vitamin C helps to prevent wrinkles (18, 19). Moreover, niacin protects our skin from UV ray damage and reduces the risk of skin cancer (20).

Furthermore, zinc helps to treat atopic dermatitis and diaper dermatitis and vitamin A is beneficial for psoriasis, skin allergy treatment (21, 22).

Collard Greens Intake Limit

As collard greens are low in total carbs and net carbs you can eat one to two cups of collard greens on keto. This controlled intake of this nutritious vegetable will help you to stay at the ketosis level for a long duration.

However, you should not eat an excess amount of collard greens or you may get in health trouble. There are some collard greens side effects also.

These side effects mainly occur because of uncontrolled intake. A surplus intake of high protein, sodium, fiber, and calcium of collard greens may cause adverse health effects.

The major side effects of surplus consumption of collard greens are given below:

The high protein component of collard greens may promote kidney hyperfiltration, glomerular injury, and proteinuria through intraglomerular hypertension. According to studies high intake of dietary protein cause intraglomerular hypertension (23).

Also, a surplus intake of dietary protein can cause intraglomerular hypertension, which may result in kidney hyperfiltration, glomerular injury, and proteinuria (24).

Collard greens are a good source of sodium which may damage the heart and kidneys. Moreover, excess intake of sodium rich collard greens may reversely affect keto diet blood pressure.

It is well known that a high sodium diet increases blood pressure and may promote chronic kidney disease. The most common symptoms of these problems are toxicity on the heart, the vascular system, and the kidney (25).

The high calcium component of collard greens may promote kidney stones. Studies have shown that excess calcium may accelerate vascular and soft tissue calcification (26).

After reaching the calcium level in your blood is above normal hypercalcemia occurs which causes kidney stones (27).

Collard greens are a rich source of vitamin C which may cause keto stomach issues like acid reflux or heartburn if consumed with an empty stomach. As the ascorbic acid component of vitamin C is highly acidic and it may cause gastrointestinal problems during empty stomach absorption (28).

Moreover, you may get affected by keto bloating after the surplus consumption of collard greens because of their high fiber. According to research high fiber foods increases the rate of bloating (29).

Collard Greens Nutrition Value

Collard greens are a great source of several nutrients. It contains fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamins like A, E, C, etc.

The complete nutrition details of collard greens against 100 grams of serving size are given below (30):

  • Calories: 32
  • Protein: 3.02 g
  • Fat: 0.61 g
  • Carbohydrate: 5.42 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Sugar: 0.46 g
  • Calcium: 232 mg
  • Iron: 0.47 mg
  • Magnesium: 27 mg
  • Phosphorus: 25 mg
  • Potassium: 213 mg
  • Sodium: 17 mg
  • Zinc: 0.21 mg
  • Copper: 0.04 mg
  • Vitamin C: 35.3 mg
  • Thiamin: 0.05 mg
  • Riboflavin: 0.13 mg
  • Niacin: 0.74 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.16 mg
  • Folate: 129 µg
  • Choline: 23.2 mg
  • Vitamin A: 251 µg
  • Vitamin E: 2.26 mg
  • Vitamin K: 437 µg

How to Eat Collard Greens

Collard greens can be eaten raw or cooked. If you enjoy the slightly bitter taste of collard greens you may consume it raw with keto soups.

Also, you can add collard greens with any of the low carb non veg salad dressings. Moreover, you can try collard greens with the following tasty dishes.

Final Thoughts

Collard greens are low in carbs keto vegetables. This highly nutritious vegetable has several health benefits over the skin, gut function, and bone.

Moreover, collard greens may prevent cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. However, excess eating of collard greens has some disadvantages like kidney stones, bloating, heart problems, etc.