The swiss chard is one of the nutritious leafy vegetables and is using in a variety of delicious recipes. Today, we will learn more about swiss chard benefits.
What is Swiss Chard?
The swiss chard is present in the diet of different cultures for centuries, being used even by the Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks. This vegetable has smooth or curly green leaves and stalks that can be white, yellow and red.
This vegetable has a characteristic bitter taste, which makes success in the cuisine of several countries. It can eat raw, braised or cooked. The bitter taste of the leaf disappears during cooking, leaving a subtle and smooth taste similar to that of spinach. The swiss chard is considered one of the healthiest existing plants and is an essential ingredient in a healthy diet.
Types of Swiss Chard
The swiss chard, as well as other foods, also have many varieties, which may change in size, shape, and color. The types of Swiss swiss chard are:
- Crisp Swiss chard
- Thistle swiss chard
- Japanese swiss chard (also called Chinese swiss chard )
Nutritional Value of Swiss Chard
The swiss chard is rich in fiber, iron, vitamins C and E, beta-carotene (provitamin A), folic acid and niacin (vitamin B3). Also, it is low calorie, 100 grams of raw swiss chard provide 28.6 calories.
Nutritional chart of raw swiss chard
- Energy value – 20.9 k cal
- Carbohydrates – 4.6 g
- Proteins – 1.4 g
- Food fiber – 1.1 g
- Soluble Fibers – 0.2 g
- Calcium – 43.0 mg
- Vitamin C – 22.6 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.2 mg
- Phosphorus – 40.0 mg
- Manganese – 0.1 mg
- Magnesium – 10.4 mg
- Lipids – 0.1 g
- Iron – 0.3 mg
- Potassium – 239.8 mg
- Copper – 0.1 ug
- Zinc – 0.3 mg
Properties of Swiss Chard
The swiss chard is rich in minerals such as copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. It also has vitamins A, B, C, E and K. This food has many phytonutrients that improve health and prevent disease. Also, it has few calories and fat, so it is indicated in diets to lose weight. It also contains fibers that help to improve intestinal transit.
Its leaves are an excellent source of vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant helps to prevent the damage caused by free radicals, which harm our cells. In addition to vitamin C, this vegetable also has many other antioxidants equally powerful and beneficial to health.
Benefits of Swiss Chard
The benefits of swiss chard are impressive. This plant can regulate blood sugar, prevent various types of cancer and improve digestion. Also, it improves the immune system, combats inflammation, among many other advantages.
1. Rich in Antioxidants
The swiss chard contains antioxidants such as beta-carotene, α-carotene (alpha-carotene), lutein and Zea-xanthine, quercetin, vitamin E, vitamin C, and other antioxidants. Together, they have anti-cancer properties because of their ability to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism and can turn healthy cells into malignant cells.
These antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory properties. When combined with potassium, they offer an effective way to reduce blood pressure and stress on the cardiovascular system. Some cases of hypertension arise from enzymes that cause inflammatory processes in the body. These enzymes can be neutralized using organic compounds found in swiss chard.
3. Improves Blood Circulation
Iron and copper are the essential elements of red blood cells, and without these two minerals, people can develop anemia. Also, eating foods such as swiss chard can increase blood circulation and thus oxygenation of the body’s essential organs.
4. Improve Bone Health
By containing a significant amount of calcium, swiss chard can significantly help to improve bone health. Calcium in conjunction with other compounds found in this plant, such as magnesium and vitamin K, stimulates bone growth and prevents diseases such as osteoporosis.
However, oxalic acid, also present in swiss chard, reduces the absorption of calcium by the body. Therefore, to reduce the concentration of oxalic acid, it is important to boil the swiss chard before consuming it.
5. Strengthens the Immune System
Vitamin A, in addition to being a powerful antioxidant, also helps to improve the immune system. Thus, it provides a naturally powerful shield against infections, and especially against respiratory diseases, such as sore throats, flu, colds, pharyngitis, sinusitis, and bronchitis.
6. Helps to Treat Diabetes
One of the essential benefits of swiss chard is it can regulate blood sugar levels in our body. Syringogenic acid is one of the unique flavonoids found in swiss chard and has an unusual ability. It inhibits an activity of a specific enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. Thus, fewer carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars, which allows blood sugar levels to remain stable. It also prevents the falls and spikes of glucose that are so dangerous for diabetic patients.
7. Cares for Heart Health
The anti-inflammatory antioxidants and phytonutrients found in swiss chard, along with potassium, help to reduce blood pressure and stress in the cardiovascular system. Pro-inflammatory enzymes can cause hypertension in the body, and the organic compounds of the swiss chard can neutralize them. Therefore, swiss chard protects from various conditions, such as atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
8. Fight against Anemia
Iron and copper are neccessary for the formation of red blood cells. Without these two minerals, we are more likely to develop anemia. This disease manifested by symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, disorders of the stomach and lack of concentration. Swiss chard improves the blood circulation in the body as well as increases the proper oxygenation of vital organs.
9. Promotes Eye Health
Beta-carotene and vitamin A have also been associated favorably with eye health. They help to reduce macular degeneration, glaucoma, blindness, and other night vision problems. Lutein is also an essential antioxidant for eye health as it can slow and even prevent macular degeneration due to aging.
10. Takes Care Of The Brain
The swiss chard is a valuable source of both potassium as vitamin K since both are integral parts of the stimulus to the development and cognitive skills. So adding little swiss chard to your diet is excellent for expanding your mind.
11. Good for Skin
Vitamin A also promotes healthy skin, hair, and mucous membranes. It makes the skin looks brighter and healthier, strengthens hair, prevents dry skin, helps heal wounds and skin imperfections. Also, it is an ideal for the treatment of some diseases, such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, herpes, among others.
12. Helps Maintain Healthy Hair
Swiss chard has high amounts of biotin. Biotin is an organic compound that directly attached to healthy hair as it stimulates the follicles and increases the luster and texture of the hair.
How to Consume Swiss Chard
The swiss chard can consume in many ways, such as braised, raw, cooked, juices and various delicious recipes. However, to reduce the amount of oxalic acid, it is best to consume the braised swiss chard. Here’s how to prepare some recipes with this food.
Swiss Chard Recipes
Swiss Chard Salad
- 1 bunch chopped swiss chard
- 1 carrot cut into julienne
- 4 tablespoons black olives in slices
- 1 jar of natural yogurt
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
- On a platter, place the swiss chard with the carrot and the black olive.
- Mix the yogurt with the mint leaves to make a sauce.
- Add the sauce over the salad and mix well.
Swiss Chard Cake
- 100 g of cooked rice
- 100 gr grilled salmon
- 3 leaves of champagne swiss chard
- 50 gr of cream cheese
- Chopped green onion to taste
- Grilling the whole salmon.
- After grilling, dismantle it with a fork.
- Afterward, add the cream cheese and chives.
- Assemble the chopped green onion along with the boiled swiss chard and the cooked rice.
Because of their high amount of vitamin K, people undergoing anticoagulant therapy should avoid eating swiss chard. It is because it increases the concentration of vitamin K in the blood, causing the opposite effect of what anticoagulants are trying to achieve.