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Mustard Greens vs. Collard Greens: What's the Difference?

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Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan by Arpi Gasparyan | Last updated on April 26, 2023
Medically reviewed by Igor Bussel Article author photo Igor Bussel
Mustard Greens
vs
Collard Greens

Summary

Collard greens contain more proteins, fats, and two times more dietary fiber and nitrates, whereas mustard greens are 1.5 times higher in net carbs.

Leafy greens are especially rich in vitamins A, K, and C, with mustard greens being 1.3 - 1.5 times richer.  

Mustard greens are comparably richer in B-complex vitamins, iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Introduction

Mustard greens (B. juncea) and collard greens (B. oleracea var. viridis) are cruciferous green leafy vegetables, commonly called leafy greens or simply greens. They belong to the cabbage family, also known as the mustards or crucifers (Cruciferae or Brassicaceae family).

Appearance & Taste Differences

Mustard greens have large leaves ranging from light to dark green and purple; the leaves may be smooth or wrinkled. In comparison, collard greens have dark green, oval-shaped leaves with light-colored veins and firm stems.

Mustard greens taste similar to mustards; they have a peppery and bitter taste. Collard greens have from close-to-neutral to bitter taste.

Comparing the nutritional values - the greens can be substituted for one another, but considering their different tastes - they wouldn’t make a good substitute.

Nutrition

The nutritional values are presented for 100g of mustard greens and collard greens, cooked, drained, and without salt.

Macronutrients and Calories

Collard greens are slightly denser in nutrients, containing more proteins, fats, and dietary fiber, whereas mustard greens are higher in net carbs.

One cup of chopped collard and mustard greens are 190g and 140g, respectively.

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Fats +53.2%
Contains more Carbs +25.3%
Equal in Protein - 2.71
Equal in Water - 90.18
Equal in Other - 0.74
3% 5% 92%
Protein: 2.56 g
Fats: 0.47 g
Carbs: 4.51 g
Water: 91.78 g
Other: 0.68 g
3% 6% 90%
Protein: 2.71 g
Fats: 0.72 g
Carbs: 5.65 g
Water: 90.18 g
Other: 0.74 g
Contains more Fats +53.2%
Contains more Carbs +25.3%
Equal in Protein - 2.71
Equal in Water - 90.18
Equal in Other - 0.74

Calories

Leafy greens are very low in calories: mustard greens provide 26 calories, whereas collard greens provide 33.

Proteins & Fats

Leafy greens are low-protein and low-fat foods, containing approximately 2.6g of proteins and less than one gram of fats per 100g serving.

Carbohydrates

Leafy greens are low-carb, keto-friendly vegetables. However, mustard greens contain 1.5 times more net carbs, whereas collard greens are twice higher in dietary fiber.

Vitamins

Leafy greens are especially rich in vitamins A, K, and C, with mustard greens being 1.3 - 1.5 times richer.

The table below shows several vitamin contents each leafy green contains and how much of the recommended daily value (DV) it provides per 100g serving (1).

 Vitamin A RAEVitamin KVitamin C
Mustard greens618 mcg592.7 mcg25.3 mg
DV %Up to 88%Up to 569%Up to 34%
Collard greens380 mcg406.6 mcg18.2 mg
DV %Up to 54%Up to 452%Up to 24%

Mustard greens are also richer in vitamin E, whereas collard greens are richer in B complex vitamins. 

Leafy greens are naturally absent in vitamins B12 and D.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin A +62.8%
Contains more Vitamin E +102.3%
Contains more Vitamin C +39%
Contains more Vitamin K +45.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +68.3%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +32.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +81.7%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +30.6%
Contains more Folate +77.8%
Equal in Vitamin B1 - 0.04
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 743% 36% 0% 85% 11% 15% 9% 8% 23% 7% 0% 1482%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 456% 18% 0% 61% 10% 25% 11% 14% 30% 12% 0% 1017%
Contains more Vitamin A +62.8%
Contains more Vitamin E +102.3%
Contains more Vitamin C +39%
Contains more Vitamin K +45.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +68.3%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +32.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +81.7%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +30.6%
Contains more Folate +77.8%
Equal in Vitamin B1 - 0.04

Minerals

Mustard and collard greens have similar mineral contents, mainly with insignificant differences.

Mustard greens are 2.8 times higher in copper, as well as phosphorus, potassium, and selenium, whereas collard greens are comparably higher in iron, calcium, magnesium, and manganese (2).

Both are naturally very low in sodium.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Phosphorus +31.3%
Contains more Potassium +38.5%
Contains less Sodium -40%
Contains more Copper +186.3%
Contains more Selenium +20%
Contains more Calcium +19.5%
Contains more Iron +29.9%
Contains more Magnesium +61.5%
Equal in Zinc - 0.23
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 36% 33% 10% 18% 15% 2% 6% 49% 0% 4%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 43% 43% 15% 14% 11% 2% 7% 17% 67% 3%
Contains more Phosphorus +31.3%
Contains more Potassium +38.5%
Contains less Sodium -40%
Contains more Copper +186.3%
Contains more Selenium +20%
Contains more Calcium +19.5%
Contains more Iron +29.9%
Contains more Magnesium +61.5%
Equal in Zinc - 0.23

Nitrates

Leafy greens are rich in dietary nitrates. Collard greens contain approximately 2.5 times more nitrates than mustard greens (3).

The level of nitrates differs by season; it is considered higher in autumn (4). 

Glycemic Index

There are no calculated glycemic indices for leafy greens; nonetheless, they are low in net carbs and high in dietary fiber; thus, they are considered to have low glycemic index values.

Acidity

Mustard and collard greens have negative PRAL values of -2.5 and -2.3, respectively, making them alkaline or base-producing.

Diets

Mustard greens are better for low-calorie diets, whereas collard greens fit better into high-fiber and low-carb diets. Both equally fit in low-protein and low-fat diets.

Leafy greens are considered Atkins and keto-friendly due to being low in net carbs. Both fit into the Mediterranean and anti-inflammatory diets.

Health Impact: Benefits and Risks

Are There Health Impact Differences?

Generally speaking, leafy greens - collard and mustard greens belong to the same genus and have similar health effects; the only slight difference may be due to the varying levels of several nutrients.

They contain varying but mainly similar levels of macro and micronutrients and phytochemicals with antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Cardiovascular Health

Due to the dietary fiber, phytonutrients, potassium, vitamins E and K, and nitrates, leafy greens consumption is adversely associated with heart disease risks, such as cardiovascular disease, coronary and ischemic heart disease, and infarction (5, 6, 7).

According to a study, the heart health-promoting potential of collard and mustard greens were the same and the highest among other leafy greens (6).

The soluble fiber from leafy greens is linked to lowered total and LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels, thus beneficially affecting the heart and metabolic syndrome (5, 8).

Nitrates benefit hypertension by widening blood vessels and lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure (9).

Diabetes

Leafy greens are safe to consume for diabetic people. They have low glycemic index values and contain a high content of antioxidants. Our "Glycemic Index and Diabetes: What’s the Connection?" page provides detailed information about this topic.

Several animal studies have also mentioned the anti-diabetic and antioxidant properties of mustard and collard green phytochemicals, beneficially affecting type 2 diabetes and diabetes-cause oxidative stress (10, 11, 12, 13).

Digestion & Liver

Mustard and collard greens are high in dietary fiber; moreover, collard greens are two times richer in them.

Regular dietary fiber intake is associated with lowered risk of GERD, diverticular disease, constipation, IBS, and inflammatory bowel disease (14). However, people with IBS-D and active inflammatory bowel disease should avoid leafy greens consumption, as they may worsen the symptoms.

Leafy greens contain soluble fiber with prebiotic properties, feeding the beneficial gut bacteria and regulating gut microbiota, thus enhancing immunity and promoting gastrointestinal health (15).

According to a large study with over 26000 participants, leafy greens consumption may be associated with a lowered risk of NAFLD or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the most common liver disease (16).

Cancer

Various phytochemicals and dietary fiber in mustard and collard greens may reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as bladder, colorectal, prostate, breast, lung, stomach, liver, etc.

However, studies show mixed results, as some studies find no associations, whereas others find weak to strong associations between leafy greens consumption and certain cancers (17, 18, 19, 20, 21).

Ocular Health

Mustard and collard greens are rich in vitamin A and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, the main carotenoids in the human eye and vital for healthy vision. Mustard greens contain 10400 mcg, and collard greens contain 6200 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin.

They filter UV and blue light and prevent free radicals formation and oxidative stress. They may also decrease the risk or slow the progression of certain eye diseases, such as night blindness, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and eye cancer (22, 23).

Bone Health

Postmenopausal women, people with malabsorption and malnutrition, or several chronic diseases are at a greater risk of osteoporosis, which may be diagnosed after a sudden bone fracture.

Mentioned people may benefit from leafy greens consumption, as they are high in magnesium, calcium, and vitamin K, which may help prevent the disease (24).

Vitamin K & Drugs

Mustard and collard greens are very high in vitamin K, with mustard greens being higher.

Vitamin K aids coagulation (blood clotting), whereas Warfarin (Coumadin) does the opposite, slowing blood clotting. 

Some researchers advise maintaining a consistent daily vitamin K intake if you take Warfarin or another blood thinner medication to reduce the risk of bleeding (if you consume less) or blood clot formation (if you consume more) (25).

Kidney Stones & Oxalates

The most common type of kidney stones is oxalate stones; people with kidney stones or at high risk will benefit from avoiding high-oxalate foods.

The oxalate content of mustard and collard greens is not fully studied. 

Several studies calculate mustard oxalates from 0.1mg - less than 10mg up to 91mg (26, 27, 28, 29), ranging from very low to very high.

There is no calculated number for collard greens oxalates; however, studies mention the presence of oxalates and advise limiting collard greens consumption (29, 30, 31, 32).

Boiling and discarding the water used in cooking may effectively lower oxalate content (33).

Sources.

  1. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025
  2. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170504/nutrients
  3. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/90/1/1/4596750
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5412236/ 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4973479/ 
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19083431/ 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4288952/ 
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9925120/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4288952/ 
  10. https://koreascience.kr/article/JAKO201104153790221.pdf 
  11. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jnsv1973/49/2/49_2_87/_article/-char/ja/
  12. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0202133 
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32990547/
  14. https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/67/4/188/1901012 
  15. Collard Greens - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics 
  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33838994/ 
  17. Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention - NCI 
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30079608/ 
  19. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/131/12/3303/4686314 
  20. https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/23/11/2983/htm
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8067874/
  22. https://fitingredients.de/material_html/luteinesterI_2007.pdf
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8874683/ 
  24. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32972636/ 
  25. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminK-Consumer/ 
  26. Comparison of Oxalate Content in Foods and Beverages in Taiwan
  27. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889157513000902
  28. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337465930 
  29. OXALIC ACID IN FOODS AND ITS BEHAVIOR AND FATE IN THE DIET 
  30. http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/apjcn/8/1/64.pdf 
  31. ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS IN FRESH AND IN FROZEN SPINACH AND collard greens
  32. Selecting Collard Varieties Based on Yield, Plant Habit, and Bolting
  33. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15826055/ 
Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: April 26, 2023
Medically reviewed by Igor Bussel

Infographic

Mustard Greens vs Collard Greens infographic
Infographic link

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -74.5%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +323.1%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +276.1%
7% 65% 27%
Saturated Fat: 0.012 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.11 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.046 g
19% 11% 70%
Saturated Fat: 0.047 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.026 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.173 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -74.5%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +323.1%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +276.1%

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Mustard Greens Collard Greens
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in minerals Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Mustard Greens Collard Greens Opinion
Net carbs 2.51g 1.65g Mustard Greens
Protein 2.56g 2.71g Collard Greens
Fats 0.47g 0.72g Collard Greens
Carbs 4.51g 5.65g Collard Greens
Calories 26kcal 33kcal Collard Greens
Sugar 1.41g 0.4g Collard Greens
Fiber 2g 4g Collard Greens
Calcium 118mg 141mg Collard Greens
Iron 0.87mg 1.13mg Collard Greens
Magnesium 13mg 21mg Collard Greens
Phosphorus 42mg 32mg Mustard Greens
Potassium 162mg 117mg Mustard Greens
Sodium 9mg 15mg Mustard Greens
Zinc 0.22mg 0.23mg Collard Greens
Copper 0.146mg 0.051mg Mustard Greens
Manganese 0.51mg Collard Greens
Selenium 0.6µg 0.5µg Mustard Greens
Vitamin A 12370IU 7600IU Mustard Greens
Vitamin A RAE 618µg 380µg Mustard Greens
Vitamin E 1.78mg 0.88mg Mustard Greens
Vitamin C 25.3mg 18.2mg Mustard Greens
Vitamin B1 0.041mg 0.04mg Mustard Greens
Vitamin B2 0.063mg 0.106mg Collard Greens
Vitamin B3 0.433mg 0.575mg Collard Greens
Vitamin B5 0.12mg 0.218mg Collard Greens
Vitamin B6 0.098mg 0.128mg Collard Greens
Folate 9µg 16µg Collard Greens
Vitamin K 592.7µg 406.6µg Mustard Greens
Tryptophan 0.027mg Collard Greens
Threonine 0.074mg Collard Greens
Isoleucine 0.086mg Collard Greens
Leucine 0.13mg Collard Greens
Lysine 0.101mg Collard Greens
Methionine 0.028mg Collard Greens
Phenylalanine 0.075mg Collard Greens
Valine 0.104mg Collard Greens
Histidine 0.04mg Collard Greens
Saturated Fat 0.012g 0.047g Mustard Greens
Monounsaturated Fat 0.11g 0.026g Mustard Greens
Polyunsaturated fat 0.046g 0.173g Collard Greens

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Mustard Greens Collard Greens
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
201%
Mustard Greens
138%
Collard Greens
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
17%
Mustard Greens
22%
Collard Greens

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Mustard Greens
Mustard Greens contains less Sodium (difference - 6mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Mustard Greens
Mustard Greens is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.035g)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Collard Greens
Collard Greens is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.01g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Collard Greens
Collard Greens is lower in glycemic index (difference - 32)
Which food is cheaper?
Collard Greens
Collard Greens is cheaper (difference - $1.4)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Mustard Greens - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169257/nutrients
  2. Collard Greens - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170407/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.