Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Swiss Chard


I wish I had a picture of this beautiful vegetable! Swiss chard is so beautiful! It's really good for you too.

As a side tonight I made the recipe above with fresh swiss chard. I used fresh lemon juice rather than vinegar and only 2 TBS. butter, and it was really yummy! The kids weren't crazy about it but they ate acorn squash instead and loved that so we both won!

Here are some cool facts about this vegetable that is most common in the Mediterranean.
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

As an excellent source of vitamins C, E, beta-carotene and the mineral manganese, and a good source of the mineral zinc, chard offers an outstanding variety of conventional antioxidants. But these conventional antioxidants are only part of chard's fantastic health benefits with respect to prevention of oxidative stress and diseases related to chronic, unwanted oxidative stress. Equally outstanding are chard's phytonutrient antioxidants. These phytonutrient antioxidants range from carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin to flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol. But the range of phytonutrients in chard is even more extensive than researchers initially suspected, and at this point in time, about three dozen antioxidant phytonutrients have been identified in chard, including betalains (both betacyanins and betaxanthins) and epoxyxanthophylls. Many of these antioxidant phytonutrients provide chard with its colorful stems, stalks, and leaf veins.

As a rule, the phytonutrient antioxidants in chard also act as anti-inflammatory agents. Sometimes they lower risk of chronic, unwanted inflammation by altering the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes. At other times, they help prevent the production of pro-inflammatory messaging molecules. Because chronic low level inflammation (especially when coupled with excessive oxidative stress) has repeatedly been shown to increase our risk of obesity, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and several forms of arthritis, chard is very likely to show up in future studies on humans as a key vegetable for lowering risk of these health problems.

1 comment:

  1. I love swiss chard. I always add either that or spinach when I make lasagna, homemade pizza, soup and smoothies :) Our garden went swiss chard crazy last year and we had to get creative ;)