Chard; a green to be held in high regard

 

Chard, also commonly known as Swiss chard, is in season (generally between June and October) so it’s a perfect time to seek it out. One of several leafy green vegetables often referred to as “greens” (other examples being kale, mustard greens and collard greens) some of chard’s attributes lift it into the firmament of vegetable stars:

  • It ranks third on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chart for nutrient-dense vegetables (Watercress #1, Chinese cabbage #2)
  • It contains high levels of nitrates, which have been shown to:
    • lower blood pressure
    • reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise
    • enhance athletic performance
  • Chard leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, with one of the flavonoids being syringic acid, which has been shown to inhibit enzyme activity. This means fewer carbohydrates will be broken down into simple sugar, allowing blood sugar levels to remain steadier. So, chard may offer special benefits for blood sugar control and provide help for those diagnosed with diabetes

A truly beautiful tall leafy green vegetable, with a thick, crunchy stalk that comes in white, red or yellow, and with wide fan-like green leaves, it’s positively made for still life paintings by Old Masters, with its rich crinkly leaf texture and vein like stalks. But as well as being beautiful, it’s also delicious, especially when paired with some Swiss Gruyère cheese, as per the recipe below.

An excellent source of vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as the minerals manganese and zinc, it also contains the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium, which are thought to reduce blood pressure. Meanwhile the phytonutrients in chard act as anti-inflammatory agents. As chronic low-level inflammation has been shown to increase the risk of high blood pressure, obesity and type 2 diabetes, chard should be a staple in every kitchen larder.

Sautéed Swiss chard

Ingredients

1 packet of Swiss chard, remove leaves from stalk, then finely slice both leaves and stalks

1-2 tblsp olive oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

Salt and black pepper to taste

30g freshly grated Gruyère cheese

Sauté the chard and shallot in the olive oil until tender, add the garlic and salt and pepper, cook for a further minute.  Top with freshly grated Gruyère cheese. This dish is great as a side dish or on top of a baked sweet potato.

Add the recipe to your Just Routine Cookbook – download here.

 

Note: Anyone taking blood-thinners should not suddenly increase the number of foods they eat containing vitamin K. Vitamin K plays a large role in blood clotting, so it could interfere with the effectiveness of blood thinners. Speak to your doctor first.

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Iris is the founder of No Targets Just Routine. She has researched food since 2009 and believes “Happiness is real food shared with loved ones.”

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