It’s odd how vegetables go in and out of fashion. For years kale has been the “it” leafy green. But, Swiss chard has an impressive array of nutritional benefits, and it’s in season! We love eating seasonally, and we think it’s important to try new things. While we might default to spinach or kale when reaching for greens, Swiss chard is an excellent option with wonderful benefits.
It’s a beautiful green color, and if you want to try growing it, it’s incredibly forgiving as it grows in poor soils, in low light and with little water! A cooked cup has 35 calories, 3.3 grams of protein, seven grams of carbs and 3.7 grams of fiber. It also has 477 percent of your daily vitamin K. People who take warfarin or other blood thinners may want to avoid it as vitamin K thins blood. Swiss chard has 60 percent of your daily vitamin A, 36 percent of your magnesium, 35 percent of your vitamin C, 32 percent of your copper, 25 percent of your manganese, 22 percent of your iron and vitamin E, 20 percent of your potassium and eight percent of your calcium. It’s a powerhouse of a vegetable while being low in calories!
Swiss chard is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that can protect you against cancers and other chronic illnesses, including heart disease. It has high levels of the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid that can reduce insulin resistance. And its high fiber content helps gut bacteria and can help support stable blood sugar levels.
In addition to aiding blood sugar, Swiss chard can help blood pressure. A 2013 study found that the nitrates in Swiss chard lowered blood pressure and reduced blood clotting. The nitrates also improve how much oxygen gets to the muscles during exercise and can help people exercise for longer. Swiss chard is also a good source of biotin. If you are looking for healthier hair and nails, eating Swiss chard may be an excellent way to get strong nails and shinier, longer hair.
Swiss chard tastes a lot like spinach. It’s earthy and slightly bitter when raw and milder and slightly sweet when cooked. It can be used just like spinach. While kale is more trendy, Swiss chard has a much milder flavor and might be preferable to people who aren’t fond of bitter or spicy greens! You get the excellent nutritional benefits of leafy greens without the overpowering flavor.
You can use it in a salad, sandwich or smoothie or throw it into pasta, soup or an omelet. It can be enjoyed as a pizza topping or a sautéed side dish. The options are endless. When you buy it, be sure that it is bright green, firm and blemish-free.
Finally, in addition to not being suitable for people on blood thinners, leafy greens contain antinutritive oxalates. They may increase the risk of kidney stones. If that’s a concern for you, speak to your doctor before eating Swiss chard or any other leafy green. And, if you have a grass allergy, you may also be allergic to Swiss chard. It’s rare, but some people experience hives, itching or swelling after eating it.
As long as you don’t have a medical reason not to eat Swiss chard, we encourage you to try it today! It’s far milder than many leafy greens, and it might become your go-to. It’s a nutrient powerhouse, and it’s in season now!