Swiss chard is commonly known as spinach beet, silver beet, crab beet, perpetual spinach and mangold. Although chard has not been extensively studied as other chenopod vegetables, such as beets and spinach, this vegetable provides amazing support for your health.
Also, swiss chard provides various phytonutrients that is recognizable due to its vibrant colors, which includes the rich, dark greens in its leaves and the rainbow of yellow, reds and purple, in its veins and stalks. All of these phytonutrients provide anti-inflammatory benefits, antioxidant benefits or both.
In addition, many of these nutrients provide health benefits that are more special and of specific importance to particular body systems. Best researched in this area are phytonutrient benefits that are provided by chard for your body’s blood sugar-regulating system.
1. Diabetes Management
One of the most important benefits of Swiss chard lies in its ability to regulate the blood sugar levels in our body. Syringic acid is known to be one of the unique flavonoids present in Swiss chard, and it has a very unusual ability. It inhibits the activity of a specific enzyme called alpha-glucosidase.
What does this mean? This means that less carbohydrates are broken down to simple sugars, wthat allows the blood sugar levels in your body to remain stable. This prevents the peaks and plunges that are dangerous for diabetic patients, or for those individuals who are at a high risk of developing diabetes.
2. Eye Care
Swiss chard contains huge amount of beta-carotene, which has been associated in many ways to a reduction in glaucoma, macular degeneration, night blindness and other vision-related conditions.
3. Digestive Health
Swiss chard benefits your digestive health by helping in regulating bowel movements that draw toxins out of your body and reducing inflammation within yourdigestive tract. Swiss chard’s phytonutrient known as betalains, are perfect for supporting detoxification by acting as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories within the gut.
Also Swiss chard contains about 4 grams of dietary fiber in just 1 cup of cooked greens. This helps to regulate blood sugar levels, digestive health, improves colon, prevents constipation and diarrhea, while helping you to feel fuller in the process.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
Individuals whose diets are low in the minerals magnesium, calcium, and potassium are more likely to have high blood pressure. These minerals are thought to help in reducing blood pressure by releasing sodium out of the body, thus helping arteries dilate.
Taking these minerals in supplement form will not provide the same health benefits as eating them in food. Swiss chard have 3 of these healthy minerals and can help in improving intake, especially with magnesium.
A 2013 study, which was published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, reported that foods that are high in dietary nitrates, such as Swiss chard, contains multiple vascular benefits. These include inhibiting platelet aggregation, preserving or improving endothelial dysfunction and reducing blood pressure.
5. Osteoporosis Prevention
Adequate consumption of vitamin K can improve bone health. Vitamin K modifies bone matrix proteins, reduces urinary excretion of calcium and improves calcium absorption.
Low intake of vitamin K have been linked with a higher risk of bone fracture. One way to increase vitamin K consumption is by eating leafy greens including Swiss chard, spinach and arugula. These also add extra calcium into your diet.
Just 1 36-gram cup of raw Swiss chard contains about 298 micrograms (mcg), of vitamin K. The recommended daily allowance in the USA is 90 mcg for women and 120 mcg for men.
6. Helps Maintain Healthy Brain Function
Studies have shown that regular consumption of vegetables that are high in betalain levels provides significant protection against certain oxidative stress-related disorders, which also includes neuro-degenerative diseases.
Antioxidants and betalains that are present in Swiss chard defend the brain cells from mutation, reduce free radicals, protect from DNA damage and lower the risk of disorders including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Healthy Hair
Biotin is an organic compound that has been associated to the stimulation of follicles, healthy hair and as a way to increase luster and texture. Swiss chard contains significant amounts of biotin, among its many other beneficial compounds.