Swiss Chard is a leafy green vegetable. It is in the same subspecies as beetroot and all other beet cultivars. It is also known as silverbeet, spinach beet, bright lights, perpetual spinach, crab beet, mangold, seakale beet or simply chard. The scientific name of Swiss chard is Beta vulgaris. Its leaf blade can be red or greenish in colour, and its leaf stalks, white, red or yellow. Its leaves are highly nutritious. The word chard originates from the 14th-century French carde, and from Latin carduus, which means artichoke thistle.
Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads. However, mature chard leaves and stalks have to be cooked or sautéed, as they have a bitterness that will only fade with cooking. The flavour of cooked Swiss chard is more refined and delicate than that of cooked spinach. Raw chard is highly perishable.
The nutritional value of 100 grams of cooked Swiss chard (no salt) is as follows.
• Energy - 20 kilocalorie
• Carbohydrates - 4.13 gram
• Fat - 0.08 gram
• Protein - 1.88 gram
• Water - 92.65 gram
• The vitamins contained are beta-carotene, lutein zeaxanthin, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E, K, and choline. The minerals contained are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
100 grams of raw Swiss chard has a calorie value of 19, and contains the vitamins A, E, K, and C. The minerals include dietary minerals, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Carbohydrates, dietary fibre, fat, and protein are low in content.
Swiss chard is one of the world's healthiest vegetables. It ranks second only to spinach. Following are some of the health benefits of Swiss chard.
• Swiss chard is rich in phytonutrients, which helps to promote health, and prevent diseases.
• Swiss chard is low in calories and fats, which makes it ideal for cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
• It is an excellent source of antioxidants and Vitamin C. They help to remove free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) from the human body, maintain normal connective tissue, prevent iron deficiency, and boosts immunity.
• A Swiss chard diet will help to promote bone health as they are rich in Vitamin K. It helps to prevent osteoporosis
• Swiss chard is rich in B-complex group of vitamins. They are essential for optimum cellular metabolic functions.
Making Swiss chard as part of your daily diet is easy as it can be included in salads. Having Swiss chard on a daily basis will help you to stay healthy.