Carbs and Calorie Information for Collard Greens

Collard greens annotated

Photo: Alexandra Shytsman  

Collard greens (or just "collards") are a member of the cabbage (Brassica family) of vegetables. This group is also referred to as cruciferous vegetables. Collard greens are considered to be one of the most nutritious foods per calorie. You may be surprised to hear that each ounce of collard greens has 1 gram of fat, most of which is made up of omega-3 fatty acids (this is actually true of many green leafy vegetables).

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts 

  • 1 cup of chopped raw collard greens: 3.4 grams of effective (net) carbohydrate and 63 calories

Glycemic Index

As with most non-starchy vegetables, there is no scientific study of the glycemic index of collards.

Estimated Glycemic Load

  • 1 cup of raw collard greens: 1
  • 4 oz. (1/4 pound) of raw collard greens: 1
  • 1/2 cup of cooked collard greens: 1

Health Benefits

Leafy greens like collards are simply packed with nutrients. Collard greens are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin K (half a cup of cooked collard greens has 8 times the daily requirement!), vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, beta-carotene and other carotenoids, and lutein. The cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and others) as a group have been shown to have anti-cancer properties on certain types of cancers, as well as having cholesterol-lowering properties.

How to Prepare Collard Greens

There are lots of different ways to prepare collards but bear in mind that it's been shown that lightly cooking them is the way to get the most nutrients and cancer-preventing phytonutrients from them.

First, rinse the collards well. After that, generally, you'll want to separate the leafy part from the woodier stem. (The stem can be eaten, but it takes longer to cook.) Chop the collard greens into bite-sized pieces. At this point, you can include them in many recipes, or saute', steam, or boil them. Try sauteing with garlic and olive oil, and dress with a little lemon juice.

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Article Sources

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  • Leroux, MarcusFoster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56.

  • USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.

  • Rungapamestry V, Duncan AJ, Fuller Z et al. Effect of cooking brassica vegetables on the subsequent hydrolysis and metabolic fate of glucosinolates. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2007 Feb;66(1):69-81.