Although swiss chard isn't the first leafy green you think of when cooking up a new recipe, or rummaging around your kitchen thinking of what to make for dinner, you should definitely introduce it into your diet.
Swiss chard contains all the good stuff that other leafy greens do to keep your body in perfect working order, but it has some great health benefits you might not have heard about. For example, did you know it contains over 700% of your daily recommended vitamin K intake, as well as 200% of your vitamin A intake in just one cup? This veggie definitely packs a healthy punch in the vitamin category.
Read on to find out what else this underrated food can do for you:
1. It can improve your athletic abilities.
A vegetable that makes you better at sports? Not quite, but swiss chard does have the dietary nitrates to help muscle oxygenation during exercise, which means it can increase your endurance and make physical activity easier for those who struggle due to cardiovascular or breathing restrictions. In a study that consisted of a four-km bicycle time trial, beetroot juice (because of it being high in dietary nitrates) improved participant's performance by 2.8%. You might think, what does swiss chard have to do with this? The answer: swiss chard rivals beetroot in its nitrate content.
2. It can prevent osteoporosis.
According to Medical News Today, less vitamin K means more of a chance of bone fracture. Since nobody wants that, adding just one cup of swiss chard to your daily diet can fix that risk, since it also adds calcium into the mix for you. Just remember, swiss chard means vitamin K which means bone health!
3. Helps manage diabetes.
The University of Maryland Medical Centre did a whole report on the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid. This antioxidant has been known to reduce glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes. In this study, the acid was taken through an IV, and had maximum results, but swiss chard is very high in the exact same acid.
4. Combats cancer.
Although almost every food that is noted as healthy seems to be able to prevent or combat cancer cells due to its anti-inflammatory properties, swiss chard goes at it from a totally different angle. Swiss chard actually contains chlorophyll, which can be effective at blocking cancer-causing heterocyclic amines. This combats the carcinogenic effects that grilling some meats at high-temperatures risk having, so adding swiss chard with your grilled meats can help balance that out.
The Canadian Living kitchen has been experimenting with swiss chard for a while! Check out the recipes they've cooked up with this vitamin-filled vegetable: