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Swiss chard

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Swiss chard Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 92.7 g
Calories: 19 kcal
Protein: 1.8 g
Carbohydrate: 3.7 g
Dietary fiber: 1.6 g
Sugars: 1.1 g
Fat: 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1 g
Vitamin C: 30 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.4 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B9: 14 μg
Vitamin A: 306 μg
Vitamin E: 1.9 mg
Vitamin K: 830 μg
Calcium: 51 mg
Iron: 1.8 mg
Magnesium: 81 mg
Phosphorus: 46 mg
Potassium: 379 mg
Sodium: 213 mg
Zinc: 0.4 mg

Swiss chard (also known simply as chard), is a leafy green vegetable belonging to the same family as spinach and beetroot. While that’s quite some company to keep in a nutritional sense, Swiss chard more than rises to the challenge with an astounding nutritional profile and possible health applications for diabetes.

Swiss chard is a fantastic salad vegetable, but is also great sautéed or baked, and can really take the culinary place of similar foods like spinach, collard greens, and so on. With an impressive line-up of micronutrients and phytonutrients, it has fantastic benefits for cardiovascular health in particular, and also things like preventing free radical damage and reducing inflammation.

Swiss chard is one of the few foods up there with powerhouses like spinach and kale in terms of the amount of nutrients provided per calorie. According to the USDA database, 100g has just 19 calories, less than 1% of your daily value (DV). But 100g of Swiss chard provides 409% DV of vitamin K, 122% DV of vitamin A, and 50% DV of vitamin C.

Like many green leafy vegetables, Swiss chard is high in those three nutrients. But what sets it apart somewhat is the fact that 100g contains 20 % DV of magnesium, and 10% DV of potassium: both minerals with proven long-term and short-term cardiovascular benefits that many people are deficient in. Swiss chard is somewhat overlooked in this regard, but entirely deserves to be considered a ‘health food’ on a par with kale and spinach.

Aside from its standout nutritional profile, Swiss chard has two significant possible health applications. First, it has a wealth of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients with broad health benefit, and second, it may a powerful weapon in the management of diabetes.

Swiss chard has a number of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, like beta carotene (associated with a reduced risk of certain cancers), lutein and zeaxanthin (important for eye health), quercetin and kaempferol (which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties – see onion and leek).

Secondly, Swiss chard has great potential when it comes to the management of type-2 diabetes. Three studies done on rats with induced diabetes demonstrate three of the mechanisms by which it operates.

First, Swiss chard helped to lower the blood sugar of the rats, an essential part of diabetes management and also important for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Second, Swiss chard has been shown to have a protective effect on the liver, important for ensuring toxins are removed from the body.

Finally, it has been demonstrated Swiss chard has a protective effect on the kidneys.