Swiss chard (scientific name Beta vulgaris), is also known with its other monikers: chard, silverbeet, spinach beet, perpetual spinach, crab beet and mangold, is considered to be one of the world’s healthiest foods.
This green, leafy vegetable is often used in Mediterranean cooking. You can distinguish this healthy food because of its leaf blade that is of either green or red in color, while its stalks come in different varieties: usually white, red or yellow. It is often eaten raw as salad or can also be cooked or sautéed.
What makes Swiss chard top among its class? Swiss chard has a significant amount of various vitamins, nutrients and organic compounds. These include vitamins K, A, C, E as well as riboflavin and vitamin B6. It is also high in dietary fiber and rich in polyphenolic antioxidants.
Blood sugar levels: Swiss chard have the ability to regulate blood sugar levels because of its syringic acid property. This compound prevents the activity of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. This results for the blood sugar to remain stable.
Anti-cancer: Including chards in your diet helps prevent colon cancer as well as other types of cancer. This is because of high antioxidant properties which neutralizes free radicals that are the main factors of this dreaded disease.
Anti-inflammatory: The colored chards—yellow and reddish— have phytonutrients that have been shown to provide antioxidants and detoxifying effects. Like beets, Swiss chard has betalains that are anti-inflammatory properties.
Blood circulation: Ever feel fatigued or showing signs of weakness, bad gut health and loses focus? You might be suffering from anemia. Swiss chards can help increase blood circulation.
Bone health: This green provides an excellent supply of magnesium and vitamin K which is essential to keep our bones healthy.
Brain Health: Since Swiss chards are rich in vitamin K, not all people are aware that vitamin K is essential to keep your grey matter healthy. This is because vitamin K is important for the development of the myelin sheath—the layer which protects the nerves.
Diabetes: Swiss chard has unique flavonoids that are able to inhibit the activity of an enzyme known as alpha-glucosidase. This means less carbs are broken down into sugars and allows the blood sugar levels in the body to remain stable. This colorful vegetable is definitely suitable for diabetics or individuals with blood sugar issues.
Eye health: We all know that beta-carotene helps promote good eye health and carrots are the most common source. You can also list Swiss chards as a good source of beta-carotene.
Heart health: If you are at risk of heart attacks and strokes, consider including this nutritional vegetable in your diet. This is because Swiss chards have anti-inflammatory and phytonutrient antioxidants combined with potassium helps reduce stress and blood pressure.
How to Eat Swiss Chards
As with any other green, leafy vegetables, in order to get all the nutrients they offer it is best to eat it raw as in juices or salads. Due to its big leaves, you can use them as wraps, or simply enjoy it blanched or lightly steamed, and still be able to retain its nutrient contents.
With all its goodness, chards may not be the best choice for someone who is prone to kidney stones as they are high in oxalic acid which may trigger symptoms.