Chard, or swiss chard, is one of the most nutritious leafy green vegetables available, and has been popular for centuries, though it's frequently confused in appearance and name with similar vegetables like beets (to which it is related) and spinach.
Like spinach, baby swiss chard leaves can be eaten raw in salads, where their full nutritional content is undiminished. It can also be cooked as a vegetable, and used in soups and many other dishes as a spinach or cabbage substitute.
Swiss chard supplies many trace minerals including magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese, copper and zinc, and many vitamins including A, C, E, K, and some of the B complex.
The real value of swiss chard is as an antioxidant powerhouse. Its bright colour combination of red stalks and dark green leaves means it contains both the antioxidant carotenoids which are particularly beneficial to maintenance of the immune system and good vision, and the vitamin C which is necessary for healthy skin.
In addition, it supplies the potent vitamin E tocopherols which can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, and it has immense quantities of vitamin K, the fat-soluble vitamins necessary to activate proteins for blood coagulation and tissue and bone formation.