Benefits of Swiss Chard and One Amazing Mediterranean Recipe
Similar to beets, Swiss chard, also referred to simply as chard, is known for the amazing health benefits it possesses, from preventing heart disease to detoxifying the body and combating cancer with a vigor.
With unknown origins, the leafy green has developed into a staple of Mediterranean Cuisine, its first use in cooking documented to have been in Sicily. Often mistaken for spinach, chard is actually less likely to go limp and of a soft and delicious flavor more subtle than its similar counterpart. In terms of vitamins, K, C, and A, as well as vitamin E, riboflavin, and vitamin B6 make up this simple vegetable. In terms of minerals, Swiss chard has a wealth of magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, sodium, and copper. That's a whole lot of oomph pack in a leaf!
So what do all these vitamins and minerals do for the body that makes Swiss chard so healthy?
Fights Diabetes: A study looking at how Swiss chard affects rats found that total lipid level, sialic and uric acid levels decreased, as well as balancing out blood glucose levels while a protective effect was created in the liver. This means that the peaks and plunges in blood sugar are taken care of to protect people at risk of developing or already have diabetes.
Fights Colon Cancer: Huge amounts of antioxidants have been found in chard leaves, effectively neutralizing free radicals which have a tendency to make cancerous the healthy cells in one's body. Xylosylvitexin is the main efficient chemopreventive compound found in Swiss chard seeds, with a study showing its effectiveness against colon cancer. The vitamins and minerals are also known to prevent most cancers on different levels.
Boost Bone Health: Utterly full of calcium, Vitamin K and Magnesium, chard is a great source to turn to to prevent future osteoporosis or brittle bone problems.
Betters Eyesight: Overflowing with beta-carotene, chard leaves eaten raw or cooked cause a reduction in macular degeneration, glaucoma, night blindness, and multiple other conditions that affect one's vision.
Strengthens Hair: The biotin found in chard is an amazing source for strengthening hair, as the compound is known to cause a steady gradual regrowth of healthy hair. Those suffering from excessive hair loss might want to turn to this lovely leafy green.
A rather tasty, filling and extremely healthy soup for the winter days is the Lebanese dish called aadas bi hamoud:
You will need
- 2 cups of green lentils
- 2 liters of water
- 3 garlic cloves to add the flavour and to the health benefits
- 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and diced to add to the filling nature of the soup
- 1 kg of Swiss Chard
- 1 tablespoon of dried mint, the best coming from your own garden
- 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
- The juice of 2 lemons
- Salt & pepper according to how much you require
To make it, you will need to
- Wash and boil the lentils in the water you've set aside while you chop off the leaves of the chard and slice them up into thin strips. Don't throw away the stems as you can use them for another recipe later on.
- After 20 minutes of cooking the lentils, add in the potatoes you have peeled and diced until the water starts to boil, after which you let it simmer while you peel and crush the garlic and mix with the mint and salt, adding the concoction to the sunflower oil and fry until golden.
- Once you have let it simmer for 20 more minutes, add the sliced leaves and wait for another 7 minutes before poring in the garlic mix you had frying on the side.
- Mix it all together and add the lemon juice for zest. You can increase the amount of lemon or decrease, depending on how much of the sour taste you like in your soup.
- Lastly, don't forget to enjoy this amazingly healthy recipe!