Swiss Chard Nutrition Facts

Swiss Chard Nutrition Facts
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Swiss Chard Varieties

Contrary to its name, Swiss chard did not originate in Switzerland but actually comes from the Mediterranean region. It is named in honor of a Swiss botanist who characterized it.

Closely related to spinach and beets, chard has a crisp stalk and wide leaves. There are several varieties of chard: The stalks come in red, orange, yellow, or white and the leaves may be curly or smooth. No matter what variety you choose, all are high in nutritional value.

Nutrition Benefits of Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is an excellent source of many essential vitamins and minerals as well as other healthy nutrients such as antioxidants and dietary fiber. One cup of cooked chard has only 35 calories and provides high amounts of vitamins K, A, C, and E, as well as magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber. It also contains significant amounts of other nutrients including copper, calcium, tryptophan, vitamins B2 and B6, and protein.

The following list is an overview of Swiss chard nutrition facts and the ways in which these nutrients provide health benefits:

Vitamin K- The exceptionally high amount of vitamin K promotes healthy bones by limiting the activity of osteoclasts, a type of cell that breaks down bone tissue, while at the same time activating osteocalcin, a bone-building protein.

Vitamin A- Chard is an excellent source of beta carotene, which is converted by the body into vitamin A and known to be beneficial to the eyes. Studies have shown including high amounts of vitamin A in the diet lowers the risk of developing cataracts. Beta carotene is also linked to a decreased risk of skin cancer, and high amounts of vitamin A may help to protect the lungs from emphysema.

Vitamin C- The antioxidant properties of vitamin C protect the body from damage by free radicals that cause many harmful effects such as inflammation, mutations in DNA, and oxidation of cholesterol, which allows it to stick to the walls of arteries, leading to stroke or heart attack. Vitamin C is important for a healthy immune system.

Vitamin E- A fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E prevents free radical damage and protects the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, its anti-inflammatory activity helps to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and asthma. Vitamin E has been shown to slow the rate of decline of cognitive function in older adults.

Vitamins B2 and B6- These vitamins act together to convert homocysteine, which is a harmful molecule that can damage blood vessels, into methionine, an important amino acid. In addition, vitamin B2 is involved in the production of glutathione, an antioxidant.

Potassium and Magnesium- These minerals are involved in regulating blood pressure and helping to maintain heart health.

Iron- Well-known for its role as a component of hemoglobin in red blood cells, iron is essential for energy and protection against anemia.

Dietary Fiber- Including ample amounts of fiber in the diet helps to reduce cholesterol, control blood sugar levels and protect against cancer.

The high amounts of nutrients found in Swiss chard are beneficial to many different organs and systems of the body, and this leafy green is an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

Sources

The World’s Healthiest Foods, “Swiss Chard.”

Swiss Chard Nutrition Facts

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Wikimedia Commons/Beta vulgaris/Public Domain