Chard (Beta vulgaris cicla), commonly referred to as swiss chard, belongs to the same family as beets and spinach (Chenopodiaceae). Swiss chard has a thick, crunchy stalk with wide green leaves, which may be either smooth or curly, depending upon the variety. The stalk comes in three colors: white, red, and yellow. Both the leaves and stalks of swiss chard are edible. Their taste resembles the bitterness of beet greens and the slightly salty flavour of spinach.
Swiss chard one of the most powerful anti-cancer foods, particularly against digestive tract cancers. This because if its combination of nutrients, phytochemicals, and soluble fiber. In addition, one cup of chard provides almost 400% of your daily recommended vitamin K intake, making it important for maintaining bone health.
Swiss chard contains a unique combination of nutrients—vitamins C, K, magnesium, manganese and potassium—that help support bone health. Elderly people who consume approximately ½ cup of chard daily had a 35% lower risk of hip fracture than those who consumed only 50mcg/day. Chard's high vitamin C content provides even more immune support - 1 cup of cooked Swiss chard supplies more than 1/3 of your daily recommended vitamin C intake. Vitamin E, another chard superstar, has shown anti-inflammatory effects and helps protect tissue from oxidation damage - which reduces the chances of developing coronary artery disease. Chard also contains the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect the eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
Other heart-healthy perks found in chard include vitamin B6 and potassium -- which may reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, respectively. Keeping your cholesterol low by eating good sources of fiber such as chard may lower heart-disease risk even more.
Sourced from: http://www.sharecare.com/question/what-is-swiss-chard; http://www.sharecare.com/question/health-benefits-eating-swiss-chard; http://www.sharecare.com/question/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-swiss-chard; http://www.sharecare.com/question/precautions-advised-eating-swiss-chard
Preparation and Storage
Rinse and place chard in moistened paper towels inside a perforated plastic bag (to allow circulation). Store chard in the refrigerator. It will keep fresh for several days.
Both the leaves and stalks are edible. In addition to enhancing recipes, chard makes an excellent side dish. Saute sliced chard (leaves and stems) with a little olive oil and minced garlic; season with salt and pepper.
If you have large batches of chard, you can blanch the leaves and then freeze them. Cooked swiss chard will keep for one to two days refrigerated.
Wash thoroughly, cut off woody stems, and blanch chard for 2 minutes. Cool, drain and package into containers or freezer bags. Seal and freeze.
Tip: You can pre-measure out amounts for your favourite recipes into each bag to make it easy when preparing your recipe and to prevent you from having to thaw bulk amounts all at once.
Overstuffed Mediterranean Omelet (Thanks to Enrico Forte)
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 cup of chard or spinach
- ½ cup of sun-dried tomatoes,
- 1 clove of garlic
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup of feta cheese
You add all the ingredients except the eggs to a skillet with olive oil in it. You cook them up, but don’t overdue it. You don’t want the chard or spinach to wilt. Once done, remove the mixture and put aside.
You then add the eggs to the oil and cook for about 1 minute. When done, top the eggs with the spinach mixture and feta cheese and fold in half. That is all there is to it!