Hot Topic: Swiss Chard
Looking for a vitamin- and antioxidant-rich powerhouse that doesn’t cost a lot and can be found in your local grocery store? Try Swiss chard. This leafy vegetable comes in vibrant colors such as green, yellow and red. What makes this cousin to spinach and kale one of today’s hottest foods? It boasts as many as 13 antioxidants and, according to the World’s Healthiest Foods site, is one of the most nutritious vegetables, ranking second only to spinach. Combined with Kretschmer Wheat Germ, this vegetable helps provide many of the nutrients your body needs for very little caloric cost—just 35 calories per cup.
Swiss chard is an excellent source of magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamins K, A, C and E. It’s a good source of fiber, choline, riboflavin and even calcium. For most of us, vitamin K is desirable because it aids in blood clotting to help heal cuts. For those on blood thinner medication or other drugs that may interact, consult your medical professional for an appropriate portion. Swiss chard is also being studied for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Two antioxidants that Swiss chard contains in spades—lutein and zeaxanthin—have been found bolster eye health.
For a change of pace, substitute Swiss chard for spinach in your favorite spinach recipes. Using chard instead of spinach works well in this Spinach Lasagna with Wheat Germ. Consider trying it in a smoothie such as this Protein-Rich Smoothie with Wheat Germ and Chia Seeds: Simply add chard leaves instead of spinach, removing the hard stems before adding it to the blender.
Like spinach and most greens, Swiss chard can be boiled, steamed or roasted. Make sure not to wash it until you are ready to eat it or use it in a recipe. Looking for creative ways to include it in your repertoire? Check out Liz Della Croce’s blog, The Lemon Bowl. There you’ll find recipes for Pan Seared Salmon with Garlicky Swiss Chard, Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard and Garlicky Pasta with Swiss Chard and Beans. On a cold fall day, try this Swiss Chard Soup with Turkey Meatballs, and get an extra dose of vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, iron, thiamin, phosphorous and zinc by substituting wheat germ for some of the bread crumbs. Or try using whole chard leaves in place of taco shells for a fun (and healthier) twist on taco night.
How do you include greens like Swiss chard, spinach and kale in your diet?