The Blood Sugar Benefits of Swiss Chard

We talk about eating leafy greens all the time. But most of us probably just think of spinach, kale and collard greens when we picture leafy greens. The realm of greens stretches far beyond the handful that we know. They all offer their own benefits and their own flavors.

Today, we’re talking about Swiss chard. It’s in the supermarket, but most of us don’t reach for it. It’s a powerhouse of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. One cup of Swiss chard has 60 percent of your daily vitamin A!    

One of the biggest benefits of Swiss chard is its high content of the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid. It can aid blood sugar sensitivity and help people with blood sugar concerns keep their blood sugar stable. Alpha-lipoic acid lowers glucose levels and reduces oxidative damage. Swiss chard is also high in fiber that helps regulate blood sugar and prevent spikes. A cooked cup of Swiss chard has 3.68 grams of fiber and 7.23 grams of carbs while only having 35 calories.

Flavonoids in Swiss chard inhibit alpha-glucosidase, an enzyme that breaks down carbs into simple sugars. Studies have found that Swiss chard may also help pancreatic beta cells regenerate. Those cells produce insulin. Eating Swiss chard may help the pancreas function and the body regulate blood sugar better.  

Swiss chard tastes a lot like collard greens, but it’s lower in carbs and calories. It also cooks faster and has thinner, more easily eaten stalks. However, it is lower in protein.

Swiss chard can be eaten raw in salads, smoothies or sandwiches. It can be used as wraps. You can sauté it or put it in stir-fries. It is great in soups. And the stalks are stiff enough to be pickled and eaten as a snack!

With a high calcium, magnesium and potassium level, Swiss chard can help lower blood pressure and remove sodium from the body. The antioxidants and chlorophyll in Swiss chard can help prevent cancer. And the vitamin K found in the leafy green can boost bone health and lower the risk of osteoporosis.

Swiss chard is high in vitamin K and can be risky for people on blood thinning medications. As it is so high in oxalic acid, it can cause kidney stones, low blood pressure and gastrointestinal problems if eaten in huge amounts. But, for most people, it’s considered a healthy, safe food!    

The ancient Greeks and Romans grew Swiss chard as a folk medicine. And they were on to something. It can help lower inflammation and act as a natural decongestant. Swiss chard is a wonderfully healthy vegetable that can support your well-being. It’s delicious and in season, so try it now!  

Banner image: Jonathan Kemper via Unsplash

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