This leafy green has become increasingly popular in the US. Most commonly thought of as a cooking green in southern cuisine Swiss Chard can be included in almost any type of menu. Chard can be braised and served as a side dish, chopped for salad and perhaps most conveniently this time of year tossed into soup like the recipe below.
Health benefits of Swiss chard
*Swiss chard, like spinach, is the store-house of many phytonutrients that have health promotional and disease prevention properties.
*Chard is very low in calories (19 kcal per 100 g fresh, raw leaves) and fats, recommended in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
*Chard leaves are an excellent source of anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-C. Its fresh leaves provide about 33% of recommended levels per 100 g. As an anti-oxidant, vitamin C helps to quench free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) through its reduction potential properties. Research studies suggests that regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps maintain normal connective tissue, prevent iron deficiency, and also helps body develop resistance against infectious agents by boosting immunity.
*Chard is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K; 100 g provides about 700% of recommended intake. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet helps limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
*It is also rich source of omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin-Aand flavonoids anti-oxidants like ß carotene, α-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
*It is also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid that are essential for optimum cellular metabolic functions.
*It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme,superoxide dismutase. Ironis required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation.