When it comes to super foods, leafy greens are always at the top of every list. These fresh and crisp goodies are some of Mother Nature’s healthiest (and most delicious) treats that are fantastic for enjoying raw, cooked, sauteed, creamed, steamed, in a casserole, as a smoothie or juice… basically under any form your heart could desire. Kale, lentil, collard greens, parsley, spinach, broccoli sprouts, watercress or lettuce are just a few of the yummy and healthy leafy greens you can enjoy on a daily basis. A particular green that not all people are familiar with (but should be) is Swiss chard, an authentic staple for Mediterranean cooking. Also known as “bright lights”, “mangold” or “crab beet” among other nicknames, Swiss chard is a wonderful spring season harvest plant; planting takes place somewhere between April – August and growing follows soon after. Swiss chard comes in quite a few shades, ranging from white, to yellow, to ruby red, and glancing at a picture of its multicolor stems will make you think of a rainbow (I mean it, a stem really does look like one). The low amount of calories (only 7 in one cup vs 33 in kale!) and all-around nutritional value in Swiss Chard leaves truly make them a reliable source of fantastic nutrition among plants. We recommend this leafy green so much that you should really buy some Swiss chard seeds and grow your own crop from seed in your yard to eat. If you are looking for a healthy substitute for bacon and other cooked junk foods, Swiss chard is one of the best ways you can do so. We will cut to the chase and explain our absolute favorite 9 health benefits of Swiss chard and why you should not be living without it.
1. Prevent Cancer
It might be hard to believe that a simple plant can help you avoid one of the most terrible diseases known to man. Well, believe it or not, Swiss chard can help you steer clear of cancer. How? Through its high levels of phytochemicals, fiber and chlorophyll, among other nutrients. The main form of cancer that Swiss chard can help prevent is colon cancer, so consider incorporating more of this good green into your diet.
2. Avoid Osteoporosis
Among the many health benefits of Swiss chard is also the power to pump up your bones and avoid osteoporosis. This is one of the most painful bone-related conditions an individual can undergo, so you understand why we are so excited about this benefit. Swiss chard is very rich in calcium, magnesium and vitamin K and can help you obtain stronger and healthier bones to prevent this condition.
3. Nutrients Galore
Swiss chard is so packed up with nutrients that we would probably have to write a separate article just to point them all out together with their details. According to Medical News Today, Swiss chard provides “approximately 716% of vitamin K needs, 214% of vitamin A, 53% of vitamin C, 38% of magnesium, 29% of manganese, 27% of potassium, 22% of iron, 17% of vitamin E.” in just one cup. Aside from these mind-boggling amounts, Swiss chard also contains calcium, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus, selenium, riboflavin, zinc and vitamin B-6, among other nutrients. Well those facts alone are enough to blow your mind. We love Swiss chard long time!
4. Achieve Optimum Vision
Did you know that if you steam, cook or eat raw just one cup of this green a day you are getting almost your entire daily recommended amount of lutein? What few people know is that Swiss chard can work wonders for improving and maintaining great vision. It is a key ingredient for eye health and can help fight off eye illnesses that come with older age. Swiss chard should become a frequent companion for the elderly!
5. Keep Diabetes Under Control
Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is imperative for keeping diabetes under control. Among the flavonoids that Swiss chard contain, Syringic acid has the power to stabilize your levels of blood sugar so you can avoid any dangerous episodes that the condition involves. It is recommended that those who have a history of diabetes in their families or who suffer from this condition should try to consume Swiss chard as often as possible.
6. Promote Blood Circulation
Remember how we said that this veggie is a powerhouse of nutrients? Well these very nutrients are the reason why promoting blood circulation is one of the health benefits of Swiss chard. The high levels of vitamin K and iron in Swiss chard allows your circulatory system to remain happy and healthy. This also means that you can say good bye to anemia if you frequently enjoy Swiss chard as part of your diet.
7. Anti-oxidant Properties
Health Diaries explains that “the reason Swiss chard is so colorful is because it is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet (antioxidants are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables)”. It is mandatory for your body to get a healthy intake of antioxidants in order to stay away from diseases and fight off illnesses. Beta carotene, quercetin, zinc and kaempferol are just a few of the awesome anti-oxidants that Swiss chard comes with.
8. Enjoy Healthy Hair
Who doesn’t dream of having gorgeous, long and silky hair? Another one of the amazing health benefits of Swiss chard is its high levels of the vitamin biotin, vitamin A and vitamin C. These three substances are vital for growing hair and keeping it strong.
9. Enhance Your Brain
Your brain definitely deserves some good ol’ natural loving. You can use chard to give your thinker the extra boost it needs to function like a rock star. This health benefit also is owing to the super hero levels of vitamin K in Swiss chard; it is an essential nutrient for the well-being of the brain. In addition to this, the potassium included in Swiss chard will work wonders.
7 Recipes with Swiss Chard
Just looking at an image or pictures with Swiss chard dishes will get your mouth watering instantly. Here are some tips for steaming, freezing, blanching and cooking Swiss chard, so you can prepare these delicious meals like a boss. Also, you can try out some Swiss chard smoothies for a cooling natural beverage. They’re easy, check them out!
So you took the time to freeze some Swiss chard and you’re ready to make an excellent soup. We recommend that you try out a Swiss chard and white bean soup recipe, which can be easily made with the following ingredients: olive oil, onion, celery, kosher salt, beans, chicken broth, red peppers, garlic, cilantro and Swiss chard. In roughly half an hour your delicacy will be ready!
If you want a delicious vegan recipie that is easy to whip up, Swiss chard pasta is the way to go. Sautee the Swiss chard with beans and tomatoes, boil the pasta and with just 5 minutes for preparation and 15 for cooking, you’re good to go!
Your options are really generous if you want to make a Swiss chard salad. One of our favorite recipes is the one we discovered on Alexandracooks.com, with Swiss chard, parmesan, breadcrumbs and lemon. It is super refreshing and easy to make, with a lemon juice and olive oil dressing, afterwards tossing it with garlic and breadcrumbs. Delish!
In just ten minutes, you can enjoy a mouth-watering serving of Swiss chard pesto. Get together some Swiss chard leaves, garlic scapes, Romano cheese (grated), roasted almonds, olive oil and salt. Mix them all up in a food processor and spread on bread or pour over pasta for a delightful meal.
The fancy version of an omelet can be easily made with the leafy green we’ve been talking about. To nail a Swiss chard frittata, gather a diced red potato, a sliced yellow onion, a leafless Swiss chard, eight eggs, a clove of garlic, some cheddar and Parmesan and some butter, olive oil, black pepper and salt. After baking the pieces of potato, whisk all of the ingredients together and cook them on your stove. Voila!
Just the thought of a Swiss chard quiche is enough to get your tummy rumbling. This recipe is super easy and requires just about forty-five minutes of baking time to get it right. Grab some Swiss chard, grated cheese, four eggs, an onion, a cup of milk and olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bon appetite!
Paleo Rainbow Chard and Chicken Stir-Fry
This final recipe is sure to get your taste buds curious; to get the apaleo rainbow chard and chicken stir-fry right, you will need chicken breast and broth, chopped rainbow chard, chopped artichoke hearts, mushrooms, garlic, coconut oil, cumin and salt and pepper. Cook the ingredients in your pan in this order: onion and coconut oil, then chicken, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, chicken broth, mushrooms, chard, artichoke hearts. At the end, add whatever seasoning you like and enjoy your meal!