Lovely colourful Swiss chard is now in season at Secretts Farm shop.
Swiss chard is a very popular vegetable in southern Europe but it’s about time that we adopt this incredibly healthy vegetable as part of our diet too:
Swiss chard has green leaves but you can get varieties that have different coloured stems – white, red and yellow which all contribute to its antioxidant properties.
It contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals but three of the most abundant are Vitamin K, magnesium and calcium which are essential for good bone health and Vitamin A which is important for our immunity and promotes healthy cell growth.
However Swiss Chard has other useful properties including:
- It helps to regulate blood sugar control which may be useful for those with diabetes: it contains a particular flavonoid that has been shown to inhibit the breakdown of carbohydrates which raise blood sugar levels especially after eating meals.
- It also contains fibre and proteins which also have a role in helping stabilise blood sugar levels and support a healthy digestive system.
- Swiss chard is also an excellent source of phytonutrient antioxidants. These include carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin to flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol. These phytonutrients help to lower the risk of chronic low level inflammation which has been shown to increase our risk of obesity, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and several forms of arthritis.
Swiss Chard is best eaten cooked – either steamed or boiled for a few minutes in water. The leaves should be shredded and the stems chopped up and cooked for a little longer. If you find the coloured stems a little tough, discard those because you will still get the benefit of the different colours in the veins of the leaves.
Add the leaves to pasta sauces, stir fries and, like spinach, it goes very well with eggs in a quiche or frittata. I like to steam it and having squeezed the water from it, chop finely and add to the egg mixture when making a cheese souffle.
For health issues please contact Pippa Mitchell our Nutritional Therapist on 01483 527945 and for ideas on health eating including recipes, take a look at our website: www.http://www.lucksyardclinic.com and click on the ‘Lucks Yard blogs’ tab.