Chard is a green leafy vegetable, found mainly in the Mediterranean, with the scientific name Beta vulgaris L. var. cycla . This vegetable is characterized by being rich in insoluble fibers, which help to regulate intestinal function and maintain the health of the digestive system, avoiding problems such as constipation, for example.
In addition, chard is rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as several antioxidant substances with anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and hypoglycemic properties. This vegetable can be eaten raw or cooked and added to different dishes.
What are the benefits
In addition to helping regulate the gut, chard can provide other health benefits, such as:
- Help to regulate blood sugar , due to its content in insoluble fibers, which allow a slower absorption of sugar in the intestinal level. In addition, chard is rich in antioxidants and other compounds that help reduce blood glucose, making it an excellent option for people suffering from diabetes and insulin resistance;
- Contribute to a healthy heart , due to the presence of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that help to lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), preventing the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries and, in turn, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In addition, chard is also rich in potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, improving circulation;
- Strengthen the immune system , as it is rich in vitamin C, A and selenium;
- Promote weight loss , because it is low in calories and rich in fiber, which helps to increase the feeling of satiety;
- Contribute to eye health , due to the high content of vitamin A, which prevents diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration;
- Prevent some types of cancer , as it is rich in antioxidants, which prevent the damage that free radicals cause in cells;
- Help prevent or treat anemia , due to the presence of iron, which is a mineral necessary for the production of red blood cells. Vitamin C also contributes to better absorption of iron at the intestinal level.
In addition, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help to improve diseases such as ulcers, gastritis and also to reduce the phlegm caused by the flu.
It is important for the person to know that, although the chard is rich in calcium, this mineral is absorbed in very small amounts due to the presence of oxalates, which interfere with its absorption at the intestinal level. Therefore, to reduce the amount of oxalic acid present in these vegetables, it is necessary to boil the chard before consumption.
Chard nutritional information
The following table shows the nutritional information per 100 g of chard:
|Components||Amount per 100 g of raw chard|
|C vitamin||35 mg|
|Vitamin A||183 mcg|
|Vitamin B1||0,017 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0,13 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0,4 mg|
|Vitamina K||830 mcg|
|Folic acid||22 mcg|
It is important to note that all the benefits mentioned above can be obtained not only from chard, but above all from a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
How to prepare chard
Chard can be eaten raw in salads, or cooked, sautéed or in the form of concentrated juice or mixed with raw fruits or vegetables. In addition, chard can also be used as a home remedy, being useful for treating various health problems.
1. Salted Swiss chard
- 5 leaves of chopped lettuce;
- 2 chopped chard leaves;
- 8 cherry tomatoes or 2 common tomatoes;
- Pieces of white cheese;
- Chia, goji, flax and sesame seeds.
Add all the ingredients and to season, add the juice of half a lemon in half a glass of unsweetened natural yogurt and, if necessary, add salt.
2. Braised chard
- 5 chopped chard leaves;
- 1 glass of water;
- 3 crushed garlic cloves;
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Add the garlic and oil in a frying pan until golden brown. Then add the chopped chard and season with salt and black pepper to taste. In order not to stick to the pan, add small amounts of water little by little and it will be ready when the leaves decrease in size and are all cooked.
3. Chard juices
- Against constipation : Beat 1 leaf of chard in a blender with the concentrated juice of 2 oranges and drink immediately on an empty stomach;
- Against gastritis or ulcer : Add 1 tablespoon of chard leaves cut in 1 cup of boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes, strain and drink;
- To loosen the phlegm : Pass 1 leaf of chard through the centrifuge and drink the concentrated juice with 1 tablespoon of honey. Drink 3 times a day.
4. Chard poultice
Chard poultices are used to treat various problems, such as:
- Burns and purple marks on the skin : Crush 1 leaf of chard to form a green paste. Just apply this mass on the 1st or 2nd degree burn and cover with gauze and remove it only when the paste is dry, so that the gauze does not stick to the skin.
- Draining abscesses from the boil or skin : cook 1 whole chard leaf and, when it is hot, apply directly to the area to be treated. Leave on for a few minutes and apply 3 to 4 times a day. The heat released by the leaf will facilitate the pus to escape naturally.
Chard should be avoided by people with kidney stones or who are prone to this problem, due to the presence of oxalic acid, a compound that can favor the formation of kidney stones. In addition, high concentrations of oxalic acid can decrease the absorption of calcium and, in cases where the person suffers from hypocalcemia, the chard must be cooked before consumption, to decrease the amount of this substance.
This vegetable is also rich in vitamin K, so it should be avoided by people who take anticoagulants.