There’s something special about this leafy green from the Mediterranean… maybe it’s the way the leaves develop that rich, velvety texture when lightly sautéed with shallots in olive oil. Or maybe it is in name? It’s easy to imagine Swiss chard leaves wafting in the foothills of the Alps! But it turns out that Swiss Chard isn’t really from Switzerland… the name helped to distinguish chard from a similar green (cardoon) in the southern Mediterranean, and the name stuck.
KEY PHYTONUTRIENTS AND HEALTH BENEFITS: Swiss chard’s vibrant green leaves tip you off to the high levels of beneficial chlorophyll, but there are also carotenoids like lutein, which help protect against cataracts and blindness from macular degeneration. Zeaxanthin, another potent cancer-fighting compound is present in chard, along with quercitin. Swiss chard has several unique flavonoids, which appear to optimize glucose regulation and are being studied to confirm the degree to which it may help those with diabetes.
Swiss chard is rich in vitamin K, as well as vitamins A, C and folic acid. It’s also full of minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium.
The overall nutrient content of Swiss chard helps develop strong bones, fighting osteoporosis. And its high fiber content contributes to good elimination, and supports key phytonutrients in optimizing blood sugar metabolism. Increasing research is investigating its ability to reduce cell changes leading to colon cancer.
Like all good things, too much can become a problem. Swiss chard contains some oxalic acid, which can crystalize in the urine and contribute to the formation of kidney stones. To prevent this, rotate a variety of clean, organic greens through your diet and don’t overdo them! Those on the anti-coagulant, warfarin, who are restricting foods rich in vitamin K should not abruptly increase their intake of these greens, which may alter the function of drug.
- Sautéed Winter Greens
- Morning Scramble/Tofu Scramble
- Chard wrapped…grain? Or yam/pot or rice noodle salad
FUN FACT: It’s oxalic acid that is thought to be reason your tongue gets that strange, chalky feeling after eating spinach and chard (though chard has less oxalate than spinach).