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Eat This Today: Swiss Chard

Posted Nov 11 2009 6:15pm

Some foods are such nutritional powerhouses that even if you don’t care for the taste you should still eat them regularly.  Sure, you know broccoli, green beans and lettuce are good for you, but how much are you eating thick leafy vegetables?  Your answer may be “spinach, from time to time” what you may not realize is the assortment of other thick leafed vegetables that pack tons of nutrients.

Swiss chard is one of those vegetables that just sounds like it tastes bad.  There’s something about the word “chard” that conjures up images of grilling rather than a superfood.  Look deeper than the title and you will see that Swiss chard is full of so many nutrients that you can almost get away with eating a serving of it a day as opposed to a multi-vitamin.

Why So Good?

Lets start by becoming aware of the fact that a serving of Swiss chard is only 35 calories.  The calorie count alone should be enough to get many people interested in the vegetable.   But those 35 calories contain tons of vitamin K (306% daily value), vitamin A (110% daily value) and nearly 1,000 mg of potassium. On top of that there is a hefty amount of calcium, beta-carotene, fiber and vitamin E.  As if all the vitamins and nutrients weren’t enough, Swiss chard has a little over 3 grams of fiber per serving.

The amount of vitamin K that is in Swiss chard serves as a strong proponent of bone health.  Those who are worried about osteopenia or osteoporosis should start snacking on this veggie for some added security against bone diseases.   The beta-carotene that is in Swiss chard can be converted into vitamin A to help keep your eyes healthy, keep your lungs clean of free radicals and protect you from cancer.  Swiss chard’s iron keeps you energized, the potassium is a great electrolyte for the muscles and the vitamin C keeps that immune system strong.

All in all, Swiss chard is one of the most powerful foods that you can eat.  Along with kale and mustard greens, Swiss chard should be eaten a few times per week.  The benefits are amazing and if you cook it correctly and add some good seasoning you will actually enjoy the taste.

How To Eat?

Unless you are a super clean and healthy eater, we wouldn’t recommended eating Swiss chard raw.  Since it is a thick leaf and has a bitter flavor, the raw taste may be too much for some.  You should steam or sauté it with some olive oil and water, in order to soften up the leaves a little.  Here are a bunch of recipes for cooking Swiss chard: http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Fruits-and-Vegetables/Vegetables-A-M/Greens/Chard/

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