Chard is a flavorful leafy green that is available from early spring through the cooler months. A cup of chard is a tidy package of 35 calories, loaded with 374% of your daily vitamin K needs, along with 44% of vitamin A, 18% of vitamin C, 3% of vitamin E requirements and a rich mix of potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber, and antioxidants. This super star veggie offers you some great benefits!
Immune System Boost. A study by the Institute of Food Technology in Germany revealed that Swiss chard stems are loaded with the amino acid glutamine, which boosts the immune system and helps you recover from injuries or surgery. High vitamin C content provides even more immune support!
Blood Health. Swiss chard contains syringic acid and fiber, which help regulate blood sugar levels. It is also high in iron -- essential for maintaining a healthy circulatory system and preventing anemia -- while the vitamin K it contains helps prevent excessive bruising and bleeding.
Blood Pressure. A serving of chard contains one third of the suggested daily requirement of potassium. Potassium plays a vital role in controlling blood pressure by reducing sodium levels and relaxing blood vessel walls.
Bone Health. Swiss chard is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin K, and a good source of magnesium, which all help strengthen bones and teeth. A United Kingdom study looked at the effects of dietary potassium on bone density of more than 3,000 premenopausal and postmenopausal women. They found that premenopausal women who ate potassium-rich foods increased bone mineral density by 8 percent! The increase in bone density could mean a 30 percent reduction in the risk of fracture in later years.
Cancer Protection. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research's publication Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, food containing carotenoids (Vitamin A) may protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx. Additional research has found that leafy green vegetables are particularly beneficial against colon cancer, thanks to the fiber, chlorophyll, phytochemicals, and other plant pigments it contains.
Eye Health. A half cup of cooked Swiss chard provides 10 mg each of lutein and zeaxanthin which, according to Harvard researchers, protect your retinas from the damage of aging. Both nutrients are actually pigments which seem to accumulate in your retinas amd absorb the shortwave light rays that can damage your eyes.
Use in salads, soups or stews, add to your favorite omelet or sandwich or add beauty to any meal as a colorful garnish that really packs a punch! Chard -- a real superfood with super benefits!
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