Chard is a light, digestible and refreshing vegetable, let’s find out what are the properties that make it suitable for everyone’s diet.
Chard is a typical spring vegetable, although it is now found in the markets all year round. It is a herbaceous plant botanically known as Beta vulgaris cicla, a variety of the beet.
Generally it can be found in two forms: the chard (or chard) cut, consisting of green leaves typically innervated with white, yellow or red and the chard, which in addition to the leaves also has a larger stem, also with colors ranging from white to red. It is a very digestible vegetable with countless properties, which is well suited to the diet of children and the elderly. Let’s see why.
Chard: calories and nutritional properties
Chard is a decidedly low-calorie vegetable, since it is made up of about 95% water. Its caloric content is in fact 19 kcal per 100 g. On the other hand, it is extremely rich in mineral salts, in particular potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus, all of which are important minerals for our body.
It does not contain fat and since it is a vegetable, it has a fair amount of vegetable protein but above all of fiber. It also contains a good amount of vitamins, especially vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. The association of vitamin C and iron in the same food makes the latter more easily absorbed by our body.
Nutritional values per 100g of chard:
- Kcal: 19
- Carbohydrates: 2,8 g
- Grassi: 0,1 g
- Proteins: 1,3 g
- Fibre: 1,2 g
- Water: 94,5 g
- Ferro: 1 mg
- Soccer: 67 mg
- Sodium: 158 mg
- Potassium: 286 mg
- Phosphorus: 29 mg
- Zinc: 0,4 mg
- Vitamin B1: 0,03 mg
- Vitamina B2: 0,19 mg
- Vitamin C: 24 mg
- Vitamin B3: 1,80 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0,07 mg
- Vitamin E: 1,05 mg
- Vitamin K: 830 µg
Chard: the health benefits
Swiss chard has numerous properties and can be eaten by everyone: it is in fact one of the first vegetables included in the diet of children during weaning, it is excellent for athletes, during pregnancy and also for the elderly, thanks to its properties nutritional and also its digestibility.
✓ Ally of physical fitness
If we follow a low- calorie diet, chard is right for us, thanks to the fact that it contains a lot of water and fiber, in this way it hydrates us and gives us a sense of fullness that is useful for breaking hunger moments at the table. With its very low calorie content, we can eat it regardless of the quantities.
✓ Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
In addition to containing antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C and group B vitamins, chard also contains chlorophyll, carotenoids, lutein and flavonoids, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecules, which perform their action in all areas of the body. They are in fact able to protect the gastrointestinal system, the circulatory system, the urinary system, the bones.
✓ Antihypertensive properties
Beets are rich in potassium and low in sodium and thanks to this optimal balance, they help maintain blood pressure values within the normal range. Moreover, thanks to the richness of water, they help blood circulation and thanks to the presence of fibers they help to keep blood sugar levels low, thus helping the cardiovascular system.
✓ Diuretic and detoxifying
The conspicuous presence of water and mineral salts means that this vegetable has diuretic and detoxifying properties, that is, it helps the body to get rid of excess fluids and to avoid accumulations of waste and toxins.
✓ Contributes to intestinal well-being
As we have seen, beets are rich in water and fiber, a winning combination for the health of our gut. The synergistic action of water and fiber, in fact, helps to cleanse the intestine of waste and create a fertile ground for the growth of the intestinal microbiota, which is essential not only for the well-being of the gastrointestinal tract, but of the whole organism, since part of the immune system is located in the intestine. Saponins, molecules with anti-inflammatory activity, together with flavonoids and other antioxidant compounds that beet contains, also help to alleviate any intestinal inflammatory states.
✓ Anti-anemic properties
Chard can help in case of iron deficiency anemia, that is due to iron deficiency, since it has a good content of this mineral, and moreover, the association with vitamin C of which chard is rich, causes the iron to be more easily absorbed by the body.
✓ Chard for bone health
Beets are rich in calcium, a fundamental component of the bone structure, which therefore contributes to the prevention of osteoporosis, together with the contribution of magnesium, also an important bone mineral.
✓ Remineralizing and moisturizing
Chard is excellent for restoring the reserves of water and mineral salts lost during physical activity or when, for various reasons, we have sweated or lost fluids, therefore it lends itself to being included in the diet of those who practice sports and also after a period of physical discomfort linked, for example, to a condition of diarrhea or dehydration, also given its high digestibility.
✓ Anti-haemorrhagic properties
Chard is one of the richest vegetables in vitamin K, with a content of about 830 µg per 100 grams, which even exceeds the recommended daily requirement of this vitamin. Vitamin K promotes blood clotting and for this reason gives the chard anti- haemorrhagic properties.
How much chard to eat
As with all leafy vegetables, the average portion of chard corresponds to about 200 g, but even if we had to eat more, as long as it is lightly seasoned, it will not hurt us. In addition, 200 grams of chard provide just under 40 kcal and for this reason it can also be consumed in slimming diets.
How to use chard in cooking
As with most greens and vegetables, the ideal would be to consume raw chard, to preserve as much as possible all the antioxidant compounds and vitamins it contains, but its taste could be a bit bitter, so the advice is to consume it cooked to a minimum, perhaps steamed and for a short time, then season it to taste.
Of course, you have to consume it fresh and be careful that at the time of purchase it does not present withered leaves. This is not difficult since fresh chard can be found in the fruit and vegetable markets practically all year round, except perhaps in the particularly cold periods of the year. Before cooking it must be washed well under running water and the very first parts of the coast, the hardest ones, can be eliminated. Once boiled or steamed, just season it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a drizzle of lemon, so we have a super-healthy side dish!
However, chard is also excellent as a filling for savory pies or as a base together with potatoes, for example, for vegetable pies. Still, it is possible to prepare some tasty vegetarian meatballs. Its flavor is enhanced by lemon, dried and dehydrated fruit, chilli, for example it is excellent sauteed a few minutes in a pan with oil, garlic and chilli and enjoyed as a side dish to a simple dish of steamed fish.
Red and green chard: are there nutritional differences?
As already seen, there are many varieties of chard and its leaves can be colored green, white, yellow or red. Red chard contains a natural pigment, called betalain, a compound that gives red chard more antioxidant properties than normal green leaf chard, but from a nutritional point of view there are no major differences between the various types of chard.
Contraindications of chard
Chard has no major contraindications, its abuse could in some cases determine a laxative effect, precisely by virtue of the fibers and the water it contains.
The chard also contains oxalates, which are indigestible compounds that prevent the correct absorption of some mineral salts as they bind to them forming precipitates. For this reason, if taken in large quantities and in predisposed subjects, they could favor the formation of kidney stones, but this happens when there is no correct hydration and therefore it is not possible to eliminate oxalates with the urine as it normally happens and if you have intestinal problems that prevent the breakdown of oxalates. Therefore, particular caution must be adopted by subjects with already existing intestinal pathologies or with a predisposition to the formation of stones.
Furthermore, as we have seen, beets have a high content of vitamin K, a vitamin with anti-haemorrhagic activity, so those who are subjected to therapy with anticoagulant drugs should pay close attention to the consumption of chard as it could interfere with the action of these. medications. Its consumption, even moderate, must be agreed with the doctor.
It might seem strange, but chard is a plant that is also well suited to cultivation in pots, so it is not difficult, if we have a balcony, even if we live in the city, to be able to organize a small vegetable garden that allows us to enjoy the our chard in every season of the year!