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Collard greens: The south's health ambassador.

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So there you are cruising the produce aisles at your favorite Fort Worth grocery store. Mounds of yellow, red, and green all around...what to choose? Well you've often heard that "eating the rainbow" is the way to go, and for good reason. Fresh or frozen, eating a multitude of vegetable and fruit colors increases the chances that you'll get a full spectrum of valuable nutrition. Luckily, many of these foods are available year round as well as at Fort Worth area farmers markets.

You reach for some green leaves - great choice - especially if that green is collard greens or just collards as many call it.

You'll want to include collard greens as one of the cruciferous vegetables you eat on a regular basis if you want to receive the fantastic health benefits provided by the cruciferous vegetable family. At a minimum, include cruciferous vegetables as part of your diet 2-3 times per week, and make the serving size at least 1-1/2 cups. Even better from a health standpoint, enjoy collard greens and other vegetables from the cruciferous vegetable group 4-5 times per week, and increase your serving size to 2 cups...click here to read the entire article at World's Healthiest Foods

But be cautious! It is unfortunate that collards have shown up on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 list of foods shown to be high in pesticides. That being said, you may want to check out organic sources.

There are some who consider greens slave food and hold that collards were introduced to North America by the slaves. There are others who believe that Native Americans were already eating collards and that there was collaboration - a sharing of recipes if you will. Early records indicate that along with other members of the family like cabbage, collards originated in the Mediterranean and were enjoyed by the Greeks and Romans...click here for more.

The traditional southern way to enjoy them is with a side order of cornbread to soak up the "Pot Liquor" - the enormously nutritious cooking liquid which remains in the pot. Many couldn't dream of cooking up a mess of greens without adding a piece of smoked turkey or ham hock. For others, it must be prepared with smoked neck bones and a bottle of hot sauce simply must be on the table. How do you like your collards?

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