photo of baby Swiss Chard by Jason Lang.
If you are reading this blog you are likely as interested in how nutrition and taste as aesthetics. But I have to say it is really a thing of beauty.
But for all you healthy types here are some quick facts:
- Swiss chard 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.
Chard is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K.
It is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin-A and flavonoids anti-oxidants like ß carotene, α-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
It is 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 rich in 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. Iron is required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation.
Regular inclusion of swiss chard in the diet is found to prevent osteoporosis, iron deficiency anemia, vitamin A deficiency and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and colon and prostate cancers.
Here is a quick & simple recipe to try:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 bunch Swiss Chard
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Slice and discard the stalks of the chard. Cut the leaves into wide ribbons. Mince the garlic and saute it in the olive oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the chard and balsamic vinegar; cook and stir until the chard is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper and serve.