Dark, green leafy vegetables are amongst the foods that offer the most diverse, dense, and richest nutrition. Though kale is frequently regarded as the king of greens, it gets a close competition by Swiss chard when it comes to popularity, nutritional value, and health benefits.
Swiss chard (1) is most easily and commonly cultivated in the Northern Hemisphere and is an extremely sought-after ingredient for most Mediterranean chefs. The first known use of Swiss chard in cooking is associated with Sicily. The name of Swiss chard might be a little misguiding since it isn’t a plant that belongs to Switzerland but was instead “discovered” in 1753 by a Swiss botanist.
Walk through this article to understand everything you’ll ever need to know about chard, including its uses, health benefits, nutrients, and more.
An Overview of Swiss Chard Nutritional Composition
Swiss chard belongs to the Chenopodioideae family that also includes spinach and beets. Grown in most parts of the world, it’s treasured for its tremendous potential to grow comfortably in poor soils with nor much need of light and water.
There are several types of chard, a few of which have jewel-toned, colorful veins and stalks, making this veggie exceptionally attractive to the eye.
A medium-sized cup (175 grams) of cooked Swiss chard contains:
|Vitamin A||214 % of RDI|
|Vitamin K||716 % of RDI|
|Calcium||10% of RDI|
|Vitamin C||53 % of RDI|
|Vitamin E||17 % of RDI|
|Copper||14% of RDI|
|Manganese||29% of RDI|
|Magnesium||38% of RDI|
|Potassium||27% of RDI|
|Iron||22% of RDI|
As you can see, a small serving of cooked Swiss chard covers your daily need for vitamins A and K and nearly fulfills the RDI for vitamin C. Due to its rich and diverse composition, Swiss chard easily meets your daily requirement of vitamin K and A and almost meets the vitamin C RDI. Also, Swiss chard is rich in vitamin E, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, magnesium, and calcium.
10 Health Benefits of Swiss Chard
Let’s run through the top 10 Swiss chard benefits for your Health:
1. Diabetes Control
Swiss chard has the potential to regulate the blood sugar level in your body, thanks to its unique flavonoid content called Syringic acid that inhibits the activity of alpha-glucosidase to ensure fewer carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars. It means the blood sugar levels in your body remains stable and, therefore, help avoid the perils of diabetes.
[Also Read: Treat Diabetes Using Natural Remedies]
2. Bone Health
A right amount of calcium found in Swiss chard, put together with its vitamin K and magnesium content, helps build and maintain strong bones.
3. Brain Enhancer
Swiss chard is rich in vitamin K and potassium, both of which help boost cognitive development and capabilities.
4. Blood Circulation
Copper and iron are both essential components of red blood cells, and a deficiency of these two minerals can cause anemia, a disorder characterized by a lack of concentration, stomach disorder, fatigue, and weakness. Regular intake of Swiss chard helps you maintain an appropriate amount of red blood cells.
5. Heart Health and Blood Pressure
Swiss chard showcases phytonutrient antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, put together with potassium, helps in reducing blood pressure and unwanted stress on your cardiovascular system. Hypertension is primarily caused by pro-inflammatory enzymes, which are neutralized by the organic compounds found in Swiss chard.
6. Eye Care
There’s enough beta-carotene in Swiss chard that is associated with good eye health along with a reduction in various vision-related conditions such as night blindness, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
7. Healthy Hair
This leafy veggie is a rich in biotin content that is widely known for its extraordinary benefits for hair health. Biotin stimulates the hair follicles to enhance hair texture and luster.
[Read: Best Food for Hair Growth ]
8. Cancer Prevention
Swiss chard, like most leafy vegetables, possesses strong anti-cancer properties, thanks to their great powerhouse of antioxidants that fight free radicals to prevent the growth of tumor and cancer, colon cancer.
9. Boosts Digestion
Swiss chard is hugely beneficial to the digestive system. It helps reduce inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract and promotes bowel movements; thence, efficiently removing toxins from the body.
10. Enhances Muscle Function
This leafy veggie consists of several vital minerals that promote muscle health. The magnesium content in Swiss chard helps reduce muscle cramps improve circulation.
[Read: Fiber for Weight Loss]
Ways of using Swiss chard
You can enjoy Swiss chard raw in salads or on wraps or sandwiches, sautéed, braised, boiled, or added to casseroles and soups.
For juice and fruit beverage lovers, Swiss chard stems and leaves complement a wide range of fresh smoothies or juices before blending the juice.
2 Easy and Healthy DIY Swiss chard Recipes
1. Frittata with Swiss chard
Ingredients you need to serve 4:
- Cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups diced potatoes
- One large chopped onion
- 4 cups (6 ounces) Swiss chard, coarsely chopped
- Four large egg whites
- Four large eggs
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon pepper
- 1/2 cup low-fat cheese, shredded
How to prepare:
- Heat 8 to 10 inches of ovenproof skillet evenly coated with cooking spray on med-high heat.
- Sauté the onions till they turn brown, for around 8 to 10 minutes; then set aside.
- In the same skillet, sauté the potatoes till they turn golden brown, for about 8 to 10 minutes; then set aside.
- Now add Swiss chard to the skillet on mid-level heat before cooking them for nearly 6 to 8 minutes. If required, add cooking spray.
- In a mid-size, wide-mouthed bowl, whisk egg whites, eggs, pepper, and salt to frothy. Now mash the Swiss chard, potatoes, and onions.
- Next, heat the skillet using cooking spray on med-high heat and add the egg blend into the pan. Now cook it covered for some 3 to 5 minutes or till it sets gently.
- Lastly, spread the cheese on the frittata and broil for some 3 to 5 minutes till it turns brown.
2. Swiss chard and Broccoli Soup
You can try including Swiss chard in this creamy and flavorsome broccoli soup (2), which is entirely delectable and packed with healthy fats coming from rich coconut oil, which facilitates easy and effective absorption of several fat-soluble nutrients present in Swiss chard. Coconut oil offers several health benefits and even help you lose or manage weight.
Also, this flavorsome soup helps stimulate your metabolism, hence making it a nutrient-packed side dish or a proper meal.
Things you need to serve 2:
- Two minced cloves garlic
- Two tablespoons coconut oil
- Two green onions, medium, coarsely chopped
- One tablespoon dried basil leaves
- One large broccoli adequately washed and finely chopped
- 2 quarts chicken broth
- 2 cups chopped Swiss chard, collards, turnip greens, kale, spinach, or kale
- One teaspoon of sea salt
- One can coconut milk
- One tablespoon curry
How to prepare:
- Melt garlic, sauté green onions and coconut oil in a large soup pan for 1 to 2 minutes until it turns translucent
- Now add chopped broccoli and gently stir. Cook on med heat and continue to stir till the broccoli turns bright green
- Next, add extra chopped greens and basil. Cover properly and steam-sauté for some 3 to 4 more minutes
- Now move the veggies to a blender or food processor. Process in 2 batches if you use a blender. Add some coconut milk and again process till it gets smooth.
- Lastly, transfer the veggies, stock to the pot, and add the rest of ingredients. Gently reheat and stir to complete.
[Read: Benefits of Black Rice]
Precautions to Follow While Using Swiss chard
Individuals who are on blood-thinners such as Warfarin or Coumadin should not quickly change their intake of foods rich in vitamin K. As vitamin K plays a leading role in the formation of a blood clot, it will create an interference with the efficacy of blood thinning medications.
It is also imperative to remember that it’s the overall eating pattern or total diet that is most significant in the prevention of diseases and for maintaining good health.
Swiss chard is an extremely beneficial leafy-green veggie that offers a wide range of essential nutrients. It consists of an extraordinary amount of minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and fibers that your body needs for its proper functioning and overall wellness.
The intake of Swiss chard may reduce your risk of various chronic diseases, benefit the heart and cardiovascular health, promote weight loss, and regulate blood sugar levels. Plus, it tastes great and can be combined with almost all vegetables to get a wholesome diet.