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The Latest News About Swiss Chard

What's New and Beneficial About Swiss Chard

Although Swiss chard has not been studied as extensively as other chenopod vegetables (like beets and spinach), there's no question about the valuable role that chard can play in support of our health, or about its routine inclusion in healthy diets worldwide. The amazing variety of phytonutrients in chard is quickly recognizable in its vibrant colors, including the rich, dark greens in its leaves and the rainbow of reds, purples, and yellows in its stalks and veins. Virtually all of these phytonutrients provide antioxidant benefits, anti-inflammatory benefits, or both. In addition, many provide health benefits that are more specific and of special important to particular body systems. Best researched in this area are phytonutrient benefits provided by chard for our body's blood sugar-regulating system.

WHFoods Recommendations

Swiss chard is not only one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean but it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around and ranks second only to spinach following our analysis of the total nutrient-richness of the World's Healthiest vegetables. It is also one of only three vegetables that we recommend boiling to help reduce its concentration of oxalic acid. Slice leaves 1-inch wide and the stems -inch wide and boil for just 3 minutes. We only recommend eating the stems of varieties with white stems; colored stems are very tough. For more on the Healthiest Way of Cooking Swiss Chard, see 3-Minute Swiss Chard.

Foods belonging to the chenopod family-including beets, chard, spinach, and quinoa-continue to show an increasing number of health benefits not readily available from other food families. The red and yellow betalain pigments found in this food family, their unique epoxyxanthophyll carotenoids, and the special connection between their overall phytonutrients and our nervous system health (including our specialized nervous system organs like the eye) point to the chenopod family of foods as unique in their health value. While we have yet to see large-scale human studies that point to a recommended minimum intake level for foods from this botanical family, we have seen data on chenopod phytonutrients, and based on this data, we recommend that you include foods from the chenopod family in your diet 1-2 times per week. In the case of a leafy food like Swiss chard, we recommend a serving size of at least cup, and even more beneficial, at least one full cup.

Health Benefits

Swiss chard provides numerous health benefits including:

For more details on Swiss chard's health benefits, see this section of our Swiss chard write-up.

Nutritional Profile

Swiss chard is an excellent source of bone-building vitamin K, manganese, and magnesium; antioxidant vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E; heart-healthy potassium and dietary fiber; and energy-producing iron. It is a very good source of bone-healthy copper and calcium; energy-producing vitamin B2 and vitamin B6; and muscle-building protein. In addition, Swiss chard is a good source of energy-producing phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin B5, biotin, and niacin; immune supportive zinc; and heart-healthy folate.

For more on this nutrient-rich vegetable, including references related to this Latest News, see our write-up on Swiss chard.