Swiss chard may be a less popular vegetable here in the United States, but this cousin of spinach is known to be one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat, and is quite popular in European countries. In fact, some nutritional analysis comparisons show that Swiss chard is second only to spinach in the World’s Healthiest Vegetables list.
So what exactly is it, and what makes it so good for you?
Swiss chard is a vegetable that is part of the chenopod family, which includes beets, spinach, chards, and quinoa. It has over 700% of your RDA for vitamin K, over 100% RDA of beta-carotene (vitamin A) and over 50% RDA of vitamin C – all in just a one cup serving. It also contains magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate, zinc, calcium, copper, fiber tryptophan, biotin, and phosphorus – and let’s not leave out protein and selenium. You get all this nutrition for only about 35 calories. Talk about nutrient rich food!
Extensive testing has not been done on Swiss chard – though the closely related leafy green, spinach, has been widely tested, and is similarly rich in nutrients. The testing that has been done shows a correlation between chard and increased blood sugar regulation – so it has diabetes potential, and as it is rich in fiber and protein (both blood sugar stabilizers), it will surely be only a matter of time before more studies indicate their direct benefits for diabetes control and prevention.
With all the phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals contained in this nutrient rich food source, Swiss chard is an excellent source of antioxidants and other essential micronutrients. Also, with low calorie, high fiber, high protein combination, you now have another superfood to consider when planning meals.