Nutrient Decline in Collard Greens


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Food scientists have been tracking the nutrient content of collard greens and other foods for over a century and as measures have become accepted, food scientists have begun to compare the nutrient content of foods today to those decades ago. They have found a general trend toward decline in nutrient values, exemplified by collard greens. Here we see an 80% decline in iron, 75% decline in phosphorus, 50% decline in vitamin C, 30% decline in riboflavin, and a 17% decline in calcium. Though these specific changes are not statistically significant, there is a trend toward decline in nutrients. Read more about what you can do to improve the nutrients in your diet.

Change in Nutrients for Collard Greens

In the table provided here we include the nutritional content of collard greens from 1950 and 1999. The 1950 values for collard greens are adjusted for water content so that the 1999 and 1950 data points have comparable levels of dry matter. These measures are based on a very small number of data points and not one of the apparent individual changes are statistically significant, but as a group, they suggest that nutrition has decreased in small garden produce.

Nutrient Change In Collard Greens

Nutrient
1950*
1999
Calories
28.2
30
Protein
2.75
2.45
Fat
.42
.42
Carbohydrates
5.1
5.7
Ash
1.2
.89
Calcium
175.6
145
Phosphorus
40.9
10
Iron
1.13
.19
Vitamin A
4844.89
3824
Thiamin
.08
.054
Riboflavin
.19
.13
Niacin
1.41
.74
Vitamin C
70.52
35.2

*The 1950 data is adjusted for water content.

Creative Commons License: Share the Knowledge

The figures used to present differences in nutrition in garden crops here are Traditional Foods, including change in collard greens, can be reposted for noncommercial use with a linked attribution to this specific page or to the more general article : nutrient decline in garden crops.

Source of Data

The historical measures on the nutrient content of garden crops has been collected and made available by the United States Department of Agriculture. It was also examined by Davis, Epp, and Riordan whose analyses we describe on this site. We adjusted the 1950 collard greens nutrient content so that the water content of the 1950 and 1999 samples would be the same, as did Davis, Epp, and Riordan.

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