Chard has been given different names around the world, but no matter what you call it, it has the same great health benefits. Chard is that leafy green vegetable that grows very tall compared to others in its class, and can come in a wide variety of colors. Though many people don’t eat chard on its own, you might be eating more than you think as it’s used in a lot of different food preparations.
Chard, when harvested, can end up looking a lot like colorful celery and has sort of a similar taste. Whether it be in soups or salads, chard is one of the most commonly used vegetables in the culinary world. As you might have been able to guess because of its status as a leafy green, chard is extremely high in nutrition without many drawbacks. But just how, exactly, can chard help your overall health? Let’s look into the nutritional breakdown of chard, and the proven health benefits that it brings.
Nutrition of Chard
Because of its low calorie count (just seven calories in one cup), you might not think that there are many nutrients in chard. That’s not the case, however, as there are plenty of important vitamins and minerals to be found. While there is a very small amount of protein and fiber, you’re getting 374 percent of your daily recommendation of vitamin K. You’ll also be getting nearly half of your daily value of vitamin A.
Chard is also high in vitamin C with about 20 percent of your recommended value. Other vitamins that are under 10 percent include vitamin E, riboflavin and vitamin B6. There isn’t one mineral that stands out as being abundant, but chard is a good source for many of them. Manganese and magnesium are the two best, while there is also significant potassium, iron, copper and phosphorus. Chard also has very little sugar and fat with no cholesterol.
Snacking on chard (even just chewing on it like it’s gum) is a great way of kicking some of your cravings while also losing weight. Chard is one of those foods that you are almost burning more calories than you’re consuming while you’re eating it, making it a popular diet food. An entire cup of sliced chard has just seven calories, so eating multiple cups at a time is certainly not going to hamper your diet.
Many of the foods that are that low in calories don’t have many nutrients, but that’s not the case for chard. It’s the perfect food to add to any weight loss plan because of the versatility. Munching on chard might not be as appealing as a donut, but it’s a great food for those that always feel the need to chomp on something.
There are certain foods that you should be eating if trying to manage your blood sugar or diabetes, and chard is right near the top of the list. Chard contains a fairly rare compound known as syringic acid that promotes alpha-glucosidase. Because of this, your body doesn’t convert as many carbohydrates into sugars so that you don’t see any spikes or crashes in your blood sugar.
The recent discovery of chard’s benefit toward diabetes has prompted a lot of research, and it’s become a staple of the popular Mediterranean Diet. This diet has been ranked by experts as the best for those managing blood sugar out of more than 100 diets. Even eating just a small amount will help to regulate blood sugar.
Of course, being able to manage your blood sugar will also help your overall heart health. It doesn’t stop there, though, as chard has been shown to have the ability to reduce your blood pressure numbers due to the amount of potassium and antioxidants found within. Heart problems such as hypertension can also be caused by inflammation, and the nutrients in chard have anti-inflammatory properties.
Overall, the blood flow in your body is helped by chard and all of its properties. With the minerals in chard, those that are trying to prevent anemia symptoms should be eating more chard. That also translates into improved brain function, especially in those youngsters that are developing still.
Chard is probably not the first food that you’re thinking about in terms of building strong and healthier bones, but it should be. Chard has a surprising amount of calcium in each serving that’s essential for bone density so that you don’t have problems such as osteoporosis down the road. Above all else, though, chard has an insanely high amount of vitamin K that goes overlooked in both health.
Vitamin K helps in bone metabolism, and even extends to the bloodstream as it can help to prevent blood clotting. Throw in some magnesium and other important minerals, and you have a food that will reduce bone problems that come with aging with only a few calories. It’s essentially the same thing as taking a vitamin for your bones.
You may have heard in recent years about the wonders of beta-carotene and how important it is for your eyes. Thankfully, chard has plenty of beta-carotene that will drastically reduce your chances of vision problems in later years that include macular degeneration and glaucoma. As an added bonus, beta-carotene also helps improve the strength and appearance of your skin, hair and nails. So not only will you be able to see better, but you’ll look better, too.
Summing it Up
With all of the great health benefits and low calorie count, there really can’t be anything that’s wrong with chard, right? Well, for humans, there really isn’t anything negative with eating chard. However, pets should not be eating too much chard as it contains oxalic acid that can be damaging, but small amounts are fine. There isn’t enough of this acid in chard to be harmful to humans, so don’t worry about that.
Other than that, you can feel free to use as much chard as you want. It’s not likely that you are going to eat enough to have too much vitamin K in your system, as there aren’t many other sources. An overdose of vitamin K could cause kidney problems, but that is an extremely rare side effect. For now, add chard to your diet as much as you can because of the fantastic health benefits and nutrients that you can get from each serving. It’s not packed with taste, but definitely worth adding.