You’ve heard the recommendation to get something leafy green in your diet every day. I try to have a big green salad everyday to ensure I get that “green” food into my system. Green is good. Dark leafy greens are among the most nutrient dense foods you can eat.
Lately I have been in a bit of a “Swiss Chard” phase. I never included chard in my weekly grocery list but now it seems, I have a nice bunch of Swiss chard in my veggie drawer every week. It’s nutritious, tasty, versatile and delicious.
Swiss chard is as nutritional as kale. It is part of the spinach and beet family. It originated in the Mediterranean.
There are different varieties of chard. Some have red stalks and green leaves, some have yellow stalks and green leaves. You can buy rainbow chard with varying colors of stalks.
When preparing chard you do use both the stalk and the leaf. It’s all nutrient dense. One cup of cooked chard with stems is low calorie with around 35 calories (depending on your preparation methods). There is about 3 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals, ie. high amounts of Vitamin A, good amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Calcium, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Iron and Potassium. That’s all in one cup of chard.
There are many antioxidants in Swiss chard which help to fight free radicals in your body helping to ward off some diseases. There are polyphenols, Vitamin C, E and carotenoids such as beta-carotene.
Swiss chard also contains many flavonoids and anti-inflammatory compounds that help your body fight development of cancer. Studies have shown that some of the flavonoids in chard help to lower blood pressure.
The fiber in chard is a very important part of our daily diet. We should be aiming to get a minimum of 35 grams of fiber a day. Including chard in your diet will help you reach that goal. This fiber helps keep your gut bacteria happy, promoting regular bowel function, keeping your cholesterol in check and maintaining blood sugar.
So you see….there are many reasons to add chard to your weekly veggie rotation. The evenings I serve chard as a side dish we skip the green salad as I know the chard is filling us with an abundance of goodness.
My favorite way to cook chard is simple and quick. I wash the leaves and stems. Separate the leafy greens from the stems. I dice the stems and sauté them in a deep sided skillet in a little bit of good olive oil. I include one diced onion and a tablespoon of minced garlic. Once the chard stems and onion are soft, I add the chopped leafy part of the chard. It will be a large heap in the skillet. I drizzle a 1/4 cup of water or vegetable stock over the leaves and allow the leaves to steam, turning occasionally. Once the leaves have softened I squeeze 1/2 of a lemon into the pan, add salt and pepper to taste. Sautéed a few minutes more. On the dinner plates, I grate a little bit of good Parmesan cheese on top. Yummy. Try it. It’s tasty, It’s easy and you are giving your body a hit of “green goodness”.