Health benefits of swiss chard

Health benefits of swiss chard

  • Swiss chard, part of the beet family, is very popular in the Mediterranean diet. The health benefits of swiss chard are not really known by many. 
  •  Chard is a very nutritional vegetable and is packed with many phytonutrients that have health promotional and disease prevention properties.
  • It is considered a nutritional powerhouse with an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C, magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber.
  • It is an ideal vegetable for weight loss as it is low in calories (19 kcal per 100 g fresh, raw leaves) and fats.
  • Swiss chard makes a tasty addition to salads, smoothies and soups.
  • Let’s take a look at the health benefits of swiss chard.
  • Blood health:
  • Swiss chard is an excellent source of iron, which according to the Linus Pauling Institute helps maintain a healthy circulatory system. It is also a good source of vitamin K, (100 g provides about 700% of recommended intake) which is key for healthy blood clotting.
  • Vitamin K is also important for  bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity.
  • Brain:
  • According to a Boston study, vitamin K helps protect the brain and nervous system by forming a protective layer called the myelin sheath around the nerves.  It may help also limit neuronal damage in the brain.
  • Swiss chard is high in vitamin B, which lowers risk of cognitive decline.
  • The Vitamin E and folate content also protects the brain.
  • Cancer prevention:
  • Swiss chard has cancer preventing properties: According to the Stanford Prevention Research Center, dark leafy greens such as swiss chard are rich in carotenoids which may help kill cancer-causing free radicals. They are also rich in folate, which can reduce the risk of lung and breast cancers.
  • Eye health:
  • Swiss chard is an excellent source of lutein, containing over 9,000 mcg per cup. Lutein is a potent antioxidant for eye health. The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture recommends consuming foods rich in lutein to help maintain eye health and help prevent eye disease.
  • Regulates blood sugar:
  • One of the main flavonoids found in the leaves of chard is syringic acid.
  • Syringic acid has been found to help regulate blood sugar by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase.
  • Swiss chard is high in plant fiber and protein which stabilize blood sugar. The American Diabetes Association suggests that swiss chard may help prevent diabetes.
  • Cooking tip: Rinse the leaves thoroughly in water. Leaves and stalks can be steamed, braised or eaten raw as a salad or as a green base for a smoothie.
  • REFERENCES:
  • 1.  Higdon, Jane, Ph.D. “Iron.” Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. N.p., Jan. 2006. Web. 01 July 2013.
  • 2. “Vitamin K: MedlinePlus Supplements.” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 01 July 2013.
  • 3. “Age- and Brain Region-specific Effects of Dietary Vitamin K on Myelin Sulfatides.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2010. Web. 01 July 2013.
  • 4. “Living Strong Living Well: Articles – 11 Cancer Fighting Foods.” Living Strong Living Well: Articles – 11 Cancer Fighting Foods. Stanford Prevention Research Center, n.d. Web. 01 July 2013.
  • 5. “High Fiber Everyday May Keep Diabetes Away.” American Diabetes Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2013.

 

 

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