When we were a child, our mother must have tried their best to manipulate us to eat the green crunchy stuff in your plate called vegetables. It’s like worldwide phenomenon that all children hate vegetables. However, when we’re getting older, we start to realize that mothers always tell truth that vegetables are good to us. When it comes to the most famous vegetable among children, spinach is probably in the top of the list, you could send your gratitude to Popeye the Sailor Man who makes this vegetable popular among children, but there is one more vegetable that mostly mistaken as spinach but contains more nutrients and more delicious and subtler than spinach; it is swiss chard.
What is Swiss Chard?
Swiss chard has scientific name Beta vulgaris and closely related to beets but instead of cultivated for its root, swiss chard is cultivated for its leaves. Swiss chard is also widely known as simply ‘chard’ and the word ‘swiss’ is nothing to do with Switzerland at all because though swiss chard mostly found as part of Mediterranean’s recipes but it is still difficult to trace back its origin. However, the history of swiss chard found in one of the works written by Aristoteles back in the ancient Greek which proves that swiss chard has been well known because of its high nutrients and medical properties since thousand years ago. Thus, here is the health benefits of Swiss chard.
Nutritional Value of Swiss Chard
Compared to spinach, swiss chard though less famous but is packed with nutrients that are unique. It is true that all types of vegetables are the natural source of antioxidants but not all of them have about 13 types of antioxidants, including kaempferol which is well known as one of the super antioxidants. For more details, below is the list of nutrients contained in swiss chard.
|Swiss Chard (Boiled)|
Serving size: 175 gram
|Generals||Amount – DV%|
|Protein||3.29 g – 7%|
|Carbohydrate||7.23 g – 3%|
|Total Fat||0.14 g|
|Dietary Fiber||3.67 g – 15%|
|Calories||35 g – 2%|
|Vitamin B1||0.06 mg – 5%|
|Vitamin B2||0.15 mg – 12%|
|Vitamin B3||0.63 mg – 4%|
|Vitamin B6||0.15 mg – 9%|
|Choline||50.23 mg – 12%|
|Folate||15.75 mcg – 4%|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.29 mg – 6%|
|Vitamin C||31.5 mg – 42%|
|Vitamin A||535 mcg – 60%|
|Vitamin E||3.31 mg – 22%|
|Vitamin K||572 mcg – 636%|
|Calcium||101.5 mg – 10%|
|Copper||0.29 mg – 32%|
|Iron||3.96 mg – 22%|
|Magnesium||150.5 mg – 38%|
|Manganese||0.58 mg – 29%|
|Phosphorus||57.75 mg – 8%|
|Potassium||960.75 mg – 27%|
|Selenium||1.57 mcg – 3%|
|Sodium||313.25 mg – 21%|
|Zinc||0.58 mg – 5%|
There is also a trace of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acid in swiss chard though the amount is very small. From the nutritional value mentioned above, it could be stated that swiss chard is a great source of minerals and vitamin K. It makes swiss chard is one of the most nutrious vegetables after spinach. It means there are a lot of health benefits of swiss chard you could get if you are adding this vegetables to your daily diet.
- Regulates Blood Sugar Level
It is not easy to find friendly food for diabetic patients but vegetables like swiss chard is one on the top of the list. Swiss chard is rich of fiber and protein, those combinations are excellent to regulate the level of blood sugar. Furthermore, swiss chard also contains a certain types of flavonoids called syringic acid which responsible to steadying the blood sugar as well and prevent it to spike and plunge drastically by inhibiting enzyme alpha-glucosidase which has prominent role in breaking down carbohydrate into simple sugar or glucose.
- Contains Anti-Cancer Properties
Most people just don’t know the powerful of chlorophyll in vegetables. Well, surely you are very familiar about what chlorophyll is but not all of you know that chlorophyll is also one of the powerful anti-cancer properties that contained in swiss chard. Furthermore, swiss chard is also rich of fiber and some phytochemcals that will body fighting cancer effectively.
- Promotes Bone Health
Looking for a standout bone support, well swiss chard is an excellent source of calcium, vitamin K and minerals like magnesium which are great for bone health. Surely you have known that calcium is essential for bone health but with the direct support of vitamin K, which could prevent the production of certain cells which responsible to break down bone, the combinations will be much more awesome.
- Natural Brain Booster
Healthy brain means you have better memory than anyone else. Well, it is not easy to maintain your brain performance but consuming healthy food is one of the top things you could do. Adding swiss chard is excellent choice since it is one of the natural brain booster because it is rich of vitamin K and a bit trace of omega 3 fatty acid.
- Great for Cognitive Development
As mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, mothers always know what best for their children. However, sometimes children just don’t realize that the crunchy green stuff in their plate is great for their cognitive development. Vitamin K and minerals in swiss chard are excellent to support children’s development.
- Protects Your Nervous System
Brain is the center of human’s nervous system. That’s why the survivor of stroke sometimes will suffer some damaged in their nervous system when their brains were attacked. Swiss chard contains high amount of vitamin K that provide protections to your nervous system. Furthermore, mineral like iron found in swiss chard will make sure your brain is fully oxygenated to optimize the function of brain cells.
- Essential for Blood Circulation
As you may have known that swiss card is rich of minerals especially iron and copper. They are essential to blood circulation. Furthermore, potassium found in swiss chard also promotes the healthy heart rate that prevent heart to work too hard because there is no disturbance during the circulation.
- Promotes the Production of Red Blood Cells
One of the direct effect of iron deficiency is your body cannot produce enough red blood cells. Red blood cells have essential function in distributing nutrients and oxygen throughout the body systems, without which your body will suffer some serious condition due to the lack of certain nutrients and oxygen. The amount of iron found in swiss chard is enough to help you promoting the production of red blood cells.
- Treats Anemia Naturally
Anemia occurs when your body is not having enough amounts of red blood cells. Iron deficiency is the main root of this problem. That’s why consuming food that is rich of iron and other minerals that could promote the production of red blood cells is highly recommended to treat anemia naturally and as mentioned in the previous point, swiss chard is one of the vegetables that are rich of iron and other minerals.
- Oxygenated Your Body Cells
Red blood cells have prominent function to distributing oxygen. The hemoglobin found in red blood cells will bind oxygen and distribute it to the whole cells in your body. Well-oxygenated cells will promote healthy regeneration of new cells in your body metabolism.
- Natural Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidant is one of the compounds that is a bit difficult to be produced, instead you should consume foods rich of antioxidants in order to fulfill the needs. Swiss chard is packed with some powerful antioxidants that are effective to fight free radicals and prevent the development of cancerous cells. Antioxidants are also great for cell regenerations. the best health benefits of Swiss chard.
- Contains Anti-Inflammatory Properties
One more benefits of swiss chard as vegetable that is rich of antioxidants is those antioxidants could act as effective anti-inflammatory as well. Furthermore, it becomes more powerful with support from vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. In other words, consuming swiss chard regularly could prevent all the worst conditions caused by inflammation.
- Regulates Blood Pressure
As one of the vegetables with powerful phytonutrient antioxidants, super anti-inflammatory properties and potassium, swiss card is great for cardiovascular health. Potassium will make sure there is no excessive amount of sodium obtained from your diet that mostly responsible for the spike of blood pressure level.
- Promotes Heart Health
When blood pressure is under control and stress level is also low, you could expect that your heart will be in its best condition. What you should do is just adding swiss chard as part of your daily diet to maintain your heart health.
Also read: Heart Attack Symptoms
- Neutralizes Hypertension
Hypertension occurs when heart is forced to work too hard because of the blood circulation is disturbed. The factors that cause the condition could be vary but swiss chard could assist in relaxing the blood vessels to improve the blood circulation. This condition will assist in neutralizing hypertension.
- Reduces the Risk of Heart Attack
Hypertension is just one of the conditions that could lead to a fatal heart attack. You could put a bet on this kind of attack because it will put your life as the cost you should pay. That’s why prevent it to happen is the best thing you could do. Consuming healthy food and rich of minerals are recommended to prevent hypertension and reduce the risk of heart attack.
- Prevents Strokes
Just like heart attack, stroke could be really fatal and even the survivor will come back as totally different person. There is no easy solution to deal with the after effect but there are a lot of easy solutions to prevent it and one of them is starting to live in healthy lifestyle. Swiss chard which is rich of minerals, especially potassium and magnesium are great to prevent stroke. Also read: Health Benefits of Kaffir Lime Leaves
- Promotes Eye Health
It is a common knowledge that vitamin A is great for vision or eye health. Furthermore, swiss chard is also packed with beta-carotene which could act as pro vitamin A. Those combinations are not only giving you healthy vision but also healthy cell regeneration to keep your eye healthy until you’re old and gray.
- Reduces the Risk of Macular Degeneration
As mentioned in previous point, beta-carotene found in swiss chard is great to keep your eye healthy until you reach senior year when conditions like macular degeneration is likely to occur.
- Great for Hair Growth
You must be wondering what you should eat so you could have healthy and shiny hair. Well, swiss chard is the best answer you could get right now because this vegetable is so rich of biotin, an organic compound well known as super food that will stimulate the follicles to promote healthy hair growth.
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- Promotes Healthy Skin
Foods that are rich of vitamin C is great for skin and swiss chard is packed with this vitamin. Furthermore, antioxidants found in this vegetable are also able to help your skin cells regenerating optimally and protect them from free radicals.
Also read: =Health Benefits of Tea Tree Oil on Skin
- Protects Your Digestive System
Just like any other foods that are rich of fiber, swiss chard is also good for your digestive system. It provides protection to your digestive system by making sure it is detoxified regularly and free from unnecessary compounds that could be harmful for your intestine and colon.
- Treats Constipation Effectively
Do you face constipation regularly? Well, perhaps it is the time to consider changing your diet. Add more vegetables to your diet, especially those that are rich of dietary fiber and swiss chard is one of those vegetables that are highly recommended.
- Solution to Diarrhea
Diarrhea occurs when your digestive track is infected by certain bacteria or viruses. What you should do is detoxifying your intestine so all the bacteria or viruses will be washed off from your digestive track. Consuming foods rich of fiber could help you dealing with the condition and swiss chard is only one of those vegetables you could consume for the great of amount of dietary fiber.
- Recommended for Pregnant Mother
During pregnancy, mother should consume foods that are packed with nutrients required for the fetus development, especially during the first trimester when brain and nerve system are developing. Folate is essential for brain and iron will make sure the production of red blood cells are enough for fetus development. Furthermore, calcium is essential to the bone development of fetus as well.
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- Reduce the Risk of Baby Born with Birth Defect
Underweight baby will lead to baby born with birth defect. That’s why during pregnancy, a mother should control their pregnancy regularly to keep track the development of the fetus. One of the factors that could lead to this condition is when a mother is suffering from some deficiencies. Healthy lifestyle is essential during pregnancy.
- Promotes Muscle Health
Most people are only care about their body weight but muscle health is totally forgotten. Well, muscle health is also essential if you want to have ideal body shape because it is not only about weight but also about muscle mass. Foods that are rich of minerals like magnesium, potassium and calcium are great for muscle health.
- Reduces the Risk of Muscle Cramps
You love doing workout but most of the time you should stop because your muscle couldn’t cooperate with you because of the cramps. Well, mineral deficiency could lead to this condition that’s why consuming food rich of minerals like swiss chard could help you reducing the risk of muscle cramps during workout.
- Natural Booster for Immune System
It is a common knowledge that foods rich of vitamin C and antioxidants are natural boosters for immune system and swiss chard is no exception. Strong immunity system will provide your body a protection toward viral infections.
- Great for Weight Loss
If you are currently in a weight loss program, you could add swiss chard to your diet because it low in calories and the fiber will help you controlling your appetite by making you feel longer.
Cautions of Swiss Chard
No matter how beneficial a vegetable for human health, there is always some words of cautions you should aware of. Swiss chard is so packed with nutrients but for those with certain conditions should be concern about their current condition as well and fully aware that perhaps some properties contained in swiss chard could be harmful for their health.
- As great source of minerals, swiss chard will give so much benefits to human health but not for those who are currently suffering from kidney problems because excessive minerals will only lead to the worse condition.
- Swiss chard also well known to have relatively high amount of oxalate content. It is actually one of the natural acids mostly found in vegetables but since this content is toxic, excessive amount inside your body could lead to serious health problem.
- For vegetables, you should better to go to organic food especially for you who prefer to consume swiss chard raw. Organic vegetables are cultivated without any chemical substances so you could save yourself from the side effect. However, still you need to wash them in running water because worm, bacteria and viruses could be found in the leaves.
There are a lot of ways to serve swiss chard. The best way to consume swiss card is raw where you could add it to the vegetable salad mix. However, to reduce the content of oxalate compound, swiss chard is recommended to be boiled first since the texture of the leaves are tastier when you boil it. Another way to serve swiss chard is you could add it to the mix of greens and throw them all to your blender and they will give you a glass of delicious green juice you could enjoy every morning. The green juice could be a sweet addition to your weight loss diet menu.