Chard: Healthy, Low In Calories And Delicious

Swiss chard is making a comeback. The cabbage variety was long considered old-fashioned. Chard is not only very healthy but also very versatile.

Anyone who has not eaten this type of cabbage regularly should change that. Because chard is healthy. It is one of the healthiest vegetables ever. Chard is not the same as chard. There are also a few things to consider when it comes to nitrate.

Healthy chard: origin and characteristics

Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) belongs to the goosefoot family. It is therefore related to spinach, sugar beet, and red beet (beetroot). The vegetable is also known as cabbage, biting cabbage, or Roman cabbage. The latter designation is because Swiss chard comes from the Mediterranean region. He was probably already known there a few hundred years before Christ. However, the meaning of the name “Mangold” can no longer be clarified exactly today.

Chard comes in different varieties. The most popular are stem chard and leaf chard. Leaf chard has delicate, broad leaves with thin midribs and thin stems. Its consistency is reminiscent of spinach. Stick chard (also called rib or stalk chard), on the other hand, is characterized by thick stalks. The midribs of the leaves are very pronounced. This type of cabbage can grow up to 45 centimeters long.

The leaves of the Swiss chard are smooth or curled. There are also variations in the colors. Swiss chard can have pale stems and green leaves. Then it resembles the smaller Pak Choi. But there is also Swiss chard with intense pink or red stems. These types of cabbage are visually reminiscent of rhubarb. Other chard varieties have purple leaves.

Chard is that healthy

Swiss chard shows its true strength in vitamins and minerals. It was voted one of the healthiest fruits and vegetables in a US study published in 2014. Researcher Jennifer Di Noia from William Paterson University investigated how much certain foods reduce the risk of developing a chronic disease. She examined 47 varieties. Swiss chard came third for its nutritional values ​​and low-calorie content, behind watercress and Chinese cabbage.

Nitrate: Be careful with chard

Swiss chard is very healthy. However, like spinach and arugula, it can contain a lot of nitrates. These are nitrogen compounds that enter the soil naturally or as a result of fertilizers. Improper storage or digestion can result in the nitrate first being converted into nitrite and then into so-called N-nitroso compounds (e.g. nitrosamines). “Most of these compounds are carcinogenic in animal studies. Whether this also applies to humans has not yet been clarified,” as reported by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. However, caution is advised, especially in infants. Nitrite can also impede the transport of oxygen in the blood.

In general, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment advises: “The benefits of a high proportion of vegetables in the diet far outweigh the possible risk from nitrate and nitrite levels. Consumers should therefore not limit their consumption of vegetables. However, they should make sure that they eat a varied selection of vegetables. In addition, seasonal vegetables contain less nitrate.” To limit the harmful processes, the Federal Center for Nutrition recommends that “mangold should be eaten cooked instead of raw and the cooked food should not be kept warm for long. Leftovers should be left to cool quickly, put in the fridge, and eaten the next day at the latest.”

Cabbage also contains oxalic acid. Those who are prone to kidney stones should eat little or no chard. Oxalic acid can also lead to gastrointestinal problems in sensitive people.

Buy and prepare chard

You can get chard in well-stocked vegetable departments or at weekly markets. The cut surfaces should always be fresh. The roots are not suitable for consumption. Swiss chard must be rinsed thoroughly to remove the sand from the grooves in the stalks. The vegetable is also valued for its versatility. The stalks of Swiss chard can be prepared like asparagus or black salsify – but separately from the leaves, as they require a longer cooking time. The leaves are boiled or blanched. This cabbage is not suitable for long-term storage. It will keep in the fridge for about three days if wrapped in a damp cloth. Swiss chard freezes well for this. It should be blanched first.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top