Can You Eat Chard Raw? Yes, But With These Restrictions!

Swiss chard is healthy and versatile, has few calories and an intense taste – which is why the vegetable is on the menu for more and more people. But can you also eat chard raw? Or is it dangerous to eat chard raw, maybe even poisonous? You should pay attention to that!

Mangold is similar to spinach in use but belongs to the turnip family. And just like spinach, the vegetable contains various substances that are not so digestible. Can you still eat chard raw? What speaks for and against?

Swiss chard is healthy

The vegetables are divided into stalk and leaf chard, also called cabbage stalk and cut chard. It only has a lean 20 calories per 100 grams and contains hardly any fat, but many important vitamins and nutrients such as:

  • Vitamin C
  • Beta-carotene (precursor of vitamin A)
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Iron

Anyone who pays attention to their diet knows that important nutrients are lost when food is cooked. The trend is towards raw food – raw food on the plate. But if you want to eat chard raw, you have to be careful.

Chard contains oxalic acid and nitrate

Like spinach, rhubarb, or beetroot, Swiss chard contains large amounts of oxalic acid and nitrate. Oxalic acid binds minerals such as calcium and magnesium so that they can no longer be absorbed by the body. Oxalic acid also promotes the formation of kidney stones. 100 grams of fresh chard can contain up to 900 milligrams.

Young, fresh chard leaves contain less oxalic acid than older leaves. The stalks can also be eaten. They are colored yellow, orange, red, or purple because they contain vegetable dyes that have an antioxidant effect. As a rule, there is less oxalic acid in the stems than in the leaves. While you can eat the cut chard raw, you shouldn’t eat the chard stalks raw – they are very fibrous and are better peeled and cooked.

In addition, chard also contains nitrates, some of which can be converted into nitrite during digestion. Nitrite impedes the transport of oxygen in the blood and can react with protein building blocks to form nitrosamines – these are suspected of being carcinogenic. Outdoor vegetables contain less nitrate than greenhouse chard, so it is best eaten in season.

Chard raw in salads and as a smoothie

And how can chard be eaten raw – how should you prepare it? Some tips:

  • Delicious: raw chard in a salad

There are numerous chard salad recipes on the internet. The vegetables can be used like spinach and combined with a wide variety of ingredients. Its aroma comes out particularly well when you combine chard with a delicious dressing, roasted walnuts, avocado, or parmesan.

  • Tastes great: raw chard in a smoothie

Whether fruity with bananas and mango or hearty with rocket and cucumber: raw Swiss chard is also perfect in smoothies. Maybe seasoned with a pinch of nutmeg or cayenne pepper?

Conclusion: Swiss chard is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that belongs on our plates much more often, even if you want to eat it raw!

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