Swiss chard is a powerhouse of nutrition and extremely good for your health.
Despite having the least number of calories, this green is rich in many nutrients, including manganese, folate, copper, choline, magnesium, potassium, vitamins E, K, B2 and B6, dietary fiber, and antioxidants.
Swiss chard is a tall leafy vegetable belonging to the Chenopodiaceae or goosefoot family; other members that belong to the same family include beets and spinach.
Most popular in Mediterranean countries, Swiss chard is a variety of Beta vulgaris and was identified by a Swiss botanist.
The nutrient content of Swiss chard
|Vitamin A||214% of DV*|
|Vitamin C||43% of DV|
|Calcium||10% of DV|
|Iron||22% of DV|
|Vitamin K||One large leaf has four times the daily requirement|
|*DV = Daily Value|
18 health benefits of Swiss chard
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on “powerhouse” vegetables in nutrient density, chard has been given a score of 89.27 (out of 100).
- Provides nutrition: Despite being very low in calories (one cup of chopped Swiss chard has about 35 calories), it provides more than 300 percent of the daily value of vitamin K.
- Rich in antioxidants: It is enriched with vitamin C, an important antioxidant, that helps the body absorb iron and is vital for healthy bones, tissues and skin.
- A healthy meal: The negligible amount of fats and low carbs and sugar content make it a healthy choice.
- A range of health benefits: It is rich in antioxidants, providing a range of health benefits, including decreased risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease and cholesterol levels.
- Promotes bone health: The amounts of calcium, vitamin K and magnesium found in this green could suggest that they may be beneficial for bone health and prevents osteoporosis.
- Lowers risk of chronic diseases: It lowers the risk of certain chronic diseases, such as several types of cancer and heart diseases.
- Promotes weight loss: It helps promote weight loss due to its low glycemic index.
- Helps fight inflammation: The antioxidant content helps the body fight inflammation, boosts the immune system, and repairs cell damage. This, in turn, helps prevent or slow the progression of some diseases and infections.
- Regulates blood sugar: A few unique studies suggest that Swiss chard may help blood sugar regulation, a beneficial property for people with diabetes.
- Decreases cognitive decline: Some studies suggest that people who ate leafy greens, even one serving per day, had a slower rate of cognitive decline due to aging.
- Good for gastrointestinal diseases: Chard is one of the vegetables that is allowed in the fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAP) diet to improve digestion for people with irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease.
- An alternative for people with lactose intolerance: For people with lactose intolerance, chard offers an alternate source of calcium required to build and protect bones and teeth.
- Contains several nutrients: It has a significant number of polyphenolic antioxidants, phytonutrients, and enzymes that are unique and highly beneficial to health.
- Improves brain functioning: It helps detoxify the body and strengthen the functioning of the brain.
- Prevents blood disorders: It can increase blood circulation and oxygenation to essential organs within the body preventing anemia.
- Good for eye health: It is high in beta-carotene, which has been linked to optimal eye health and a reduction in macular degeneration, glaucoma, night blindness, and other vision-related conditions.
- Improves hair health: It has a significant amount of biotin, an organic compound linked to healthy hair. Biotin stimulates follicles and increases luster and texture.
- Boosts strength and capacity: It increases exercise tolerance and improves athletic performance.
Can you eat too much Swiss chard?
Although Swiss chard is extremely healthy, it should be eaten in moderation. Eating too much can lead to side effects such as:
- Kidney stones: Swiss chard contains antinutritive oxalates, which may increase urinary oxalate excretion and increase the risk of calcium oxalate stones.
- Blood clotting: If you are on blood thinners, you may want to avoid Swiss chard due to its high vitamin K content, which plays a role in blood clotting.
- Allergy: If you are sensitive to grass pollen, you should avoid eating Swiss chard because inhaling vapor from boiling the vegetable may trigger rhinoconjunctivitis.
How can I cook Swiss chard?
Swiss chard may be cooked in a variety of ways:
- Boiling: Cover the chard with water and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until tender, over medium heat. Leaves and stalks should be cooked separately because the stalks take longer to cook.
- Steaming: Add the stalks first, followed by the leaves 3-4 minutes later.
- Sautéing: Sauté th stalks in olive oil for 2-3 minutes before adding chard leaves.
- Microwaving: Rinse the chard in cool water. Microwave in 1-minute intervals until the leaves are wilted.
It is important to remember, however, that cooking Swiss chard can reduce or degrade some of the nutrients. In order to reap the most health benefits from Swiss chard, it is best to eat raw or very lightly cooked.
7 facts about Swiss chard
- The word “chard” originated from the Latin word “Cardus,” which means thistle.
- It has bitter-tasting, thick stalks that are red, white, yellow, or green.
- This plant can grow as high as 28 inches.
- This should be avoided by people prone to kidney stones. It contains oxalates that can decrease the body’s absorption of calcium leading to kidney stones.
- The colorful varieties of Swiss chard called “rainbow chard,” brightly colored stems, and red-purple and yellow-orange veins are evidence of betalain pigments, which are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- It is easy to cook, versatile, and readily available, and can be a valuable addition to your diet.
- Although unusual, allergies to Swiss chard have been reported. Some people may experience oral allergy syndrome when consuming chard.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Swiss Chard: https://nesfp.nutrition.tufts.edu/world-peas-food-hub/world-peas-csa/produce-recipes/swiss-chard
Food of the Month: Swiss Chard: https://www.denverhealthmedicalplan.org/blog/food-month-swiss-chard
What is Swiss Chard? https://hnhu.org/health-topic/what-is-swiss-chard/
Thompson C. Swiss Chard: 9 Healthy Facts. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/swiss-chard-9-healthy-facts
Staughton J. 7 Amazing Benefits of Swiss Chard. Organic Information Services. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/swiss-chard.html
Lettuceinfo. Chard. https://lettuceinfo.org/products/chard/
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