Swiss chard, like other leafy greens, is a power vegetable. As part of the beet family, it is packed with nutrients, vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that can benefit your overall health. The Swiss chart is scientifically known as Beta vulgaris L. var. cycles, but it is commonly called spinach beet, silver beet, crab beet, or chard.
Its color and rich flavor make it a great addition to many dishes – from salads to casseroles. Also, the nutrients found in Swiss chard can help support bone, endocrine and heart health, among other health benefits.
Research has shown that low levels of potassium, calcium, and magnesium can be linked to high blood pressure. Each mineral helps regulate blood pressure through its own unique mechanism, and the Swiss chard contains all three.
Calcium helps regulate blood volume through its role in blood vessel contraction, helping blood vessels to contract and relax when necessary. Potassium also affects blood vessel contraction through its role in muscle function. It plays an essential role in electrical signaling in the sympathetic nervous system and the heart. On the other hand, magnesium regulates sodium and potassium in and out of the cells.
Swiss chard cannot replace medications recommended by your healthcare provider, but it may be a beneficial vegetable for those making lifestyle changes to lower their blood pressure.
Bones lose hardness as you age, putting you at increased risk of fracture. Eating green leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard can help increase calcium in your diet, but the real benefit is in its vitamin K content. Swiss chard is rich in vitamin K, which plays a very influential role in health bone. Vitamin K can help improve calcium absorption and reduce calcium urine output, which increases bone mineral density, and prevent osteoarthritis.
Vitamin K is a cofactor for the enzymatic reactions involved in protein synthesis for blood clotting and bone metabolism. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adult men and women is 120 and 90 micrograms (mcg), respectively. One cup of Swiss chard provides 299 mcg of vitamin K, which means that even a small portion can provide enough vitamin K for the day.
Swiss chard is rich in alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), an antioxidant linked to improved insulin sensitivity and lower glucose levels. ALA supplementation can positively affect insulin secretion and nerve conduction, making it a commonly prescribed compound for individuals with diabetic polyneuropathy, which affects sensory and motor nerves that exit the spinal cord. into the arms, legs and feet.
Current studies show that ALA can increase glucose uptake by activating insulin receptors, but continued research is needed to better understand its role in glucose metabolism. In addition, ALA may offer protective benefits to pancreatic beta cells, which play a critical role in insulin secretion.
ALA may be more effective in supplement form than through diet, but the researchers are not counting it. Swiss chard may be a beneficial green veggie for those living with diabetes. However, it cannot replace insulin therapy as prescribed by a health care provider.
Swiss chard contains chlorophyll, which is believed to exhibit anti-cancer properties, although evidence in humans is still scarce. Chlorophyll may inhibit carcinogen uptake and bioavailability and help eliminate unmetabolized carcinogens.
High-fiber diets have also been linked to a reduced risk of cancer. Research continues to indicate that fiber plays a protective role in preventing many types of cancer, including gastric, esophageal, colon, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers, among others. Dietary fiber can increase stool volume and decrease stool transit time at the same time, effectively removing waste from the body.
One cup of Swiss chard contains about 0.6 grams (g) of fiber. Although it may not seem like a significant amount of fiber, one cup of the leafy green vegetable contains 1.35 g of carbohydrates, making it a nutrient-dense veggie. Swiss chard can benefit those trying to increase their fiber intake without eating too many carbs.
Recent research shows a beneficial relationship between dietary nitrates and muscle efficiency. Nitrates can have healthy cardiovascular effects by opening blood vessels and thus improving oxygen consumption during physical activity. Leafy greens are among some of the best foods rich in nitrates, and Swiss chard has a higher concentration of nitrates than many, including spinach and lettuce.
More research is needed regarding nitrates and their effects on athletic performance. However, athletes looking to improve their cardiovascular performance through increased dietary nitrate intake may benefit from adding Swiss chard to their meals or snacks. You can add Swiss chard to your protein shakes or other supplements.
Swiss chard is a nutrient dense leafy green. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s FoodData Central, one cup of raw Swiss chard provides:
- calories: 6.8
- Fat: 0.07 g
- Carbohydrates: 1.35 g
- Fiber: 0.6 g
- Protein: 0.65 g
- Sodium: 76.7 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin C: 10.8 mg
- Vitamin A: 110 mcg
- Vitamin K: 299 mcg
- Calcium: 18.4 mg
- Potassium: 136 mg
- Magnesium: 29.2 mg
Swiss chard, low in calories and rich in nutrients, is an effective way to add fiber and micronutrients to a balanced diet. For example, one cup provides 12% of the daily value of vitamin A and vitamin C. However, those who want to moderate their vitamin K intake may need to monitor their consumption of Swiss chard, as one cup provides 249% of the daily value of the vitamin.
Vitamin K can counteract the anticoagulant effects of blood thinning medications, so those taking the medication should seek guidance from their healthcare provider or registered dietitian before incorporating the vegetable into their diet. food
Those who take blood-thinning medications, such as Coumadin or warfarin, should consider their vitamin K intake. Vitamin K plays a significant role in blood clotting and can affect your international normalized ratio (INR), a value that emphasizes how quickly your blood clots.
However, those on blood thinners do not need to completely eliminate foods rich in vitamin K such as leafy greens. Consistency is the key. Those on blood thinners should not suddenly increase or decrease their intake of the vitamin.
One cup of Swiss chard provides 249% of the daily value of vitamin K, a significant increase in the vitamin for those who do not eat it regularly. A registered dietitian can help guide vitamin K levels in food and recommend ways to safely incorporate foods into a healthy diet.
Swiss chard can be a great addition to a well-balanced diet. Tips for eating this nutritious vegetable include:
- Swiss chard with deep green color and firm leaves will provide the most flavor.
- Smaller leaves will be more tender and have a mild flavor.
- Store the Swiss chard in the fridge to keep it fresh.
- Swiss chard can be enjoyed raw in salads and on sandwiches.
- Swiss chard can be boiled, sautéed, braised, or added to soups, casseroles, and stir-fries.
Swiss chard, a green leafy vegetable from the beet family, is often overlooked despite its many health benefits. It is low in calories and rich in micronutrients that can support overall health through multiple mechanisms. For example, one cup of Swiss chard provides 12% of the daily value for vitamins A and C and 249% for vitamin K.
Thanks to its ALA content, Swiss chard can help manage blood glucose control for those living with diabetes, and through its antioxidant properties, it can help fight oxidation in cells and protect against certain cancers. And while a serving of Swiss chard doesn’t contain significant portions of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, it does contain all three minerals, which may help lower blood pressure.
Swiss chard can be incorporated into a balanced diet in many ways. However, those on blood thinners should monitor their intake and make sure they eat it consistently to avoid changes in their INR. A registered dietitian is well equipped to answer questions about green leafy vegetables and their role in a healthy diet.