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Health Benefits of Silverbeet, Swiss Chard, or Chard

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Silverbeet Plant

Silverbeet Plant

About Chard, Swiss Chard, or Silverbeet

Latin Name: Beta vulgaris

Swiss chard (known simply as chard) has as a number of other names like silverbeet, spinach beet, crab beet, mangold etc. It is a green leafy vegetable whose leaves are big and dark green in colour but the stalks are in various colours like white, yellow, red, orange, or green.

Though silverbeet belongs to the same family as beetroot, whose roots are used as food, it is the leaves of the silverbeet that are much more nutritious than the roots as they have been specially bred for this purpose.

Silverbeet or Swiss chard is one of the healthiest leafy vegetables and should form a part of a healthy diet especially of pregnant women. Both Swiss chard and beetroot are cultivated from the sea beet.

It is believed that Swiss chard originated in Sicily and not Switzerland as the name indicates. A Swiss botanist found the plant's scientific name and thus it was named Swiss chard.

Swiss chard is available in varieties with white stalks, yellow stalks, red stalks, or even green stalks. Sometimes different coloured varieties are bunched together and sold as "Rainbow chard," which is not a different variety.

Silverbeet is a plant that is available throughout the year but is most plentiful in the months from June to October. The leaves are somewhat bitter and salty to taste. Chard is used much in Mediterranean and Italian cooking.

Tender fresh leaves can be used in salads while the mature leaves and stalks are cooked or sautéed. Cooking destroys the bitter flavour and imparts a more delicate and refined flavour to the chard.

Red  Leaf Chard

Red Leaf Chard

Selection & Storage

Fresh silverbeet is very perishable. Under refrigeration, it can stay good for about 5 days. To store, select only those leaves that are dark but bright-looking without any yellowing or browning. The leaves and stalks should not show signs of wilting but should be firm and crisp. Do not wash the leaves as this will promote spoilage.

Keep the leaves in a plastic bag and tie it around the leaves firmly to remove as much of the trapped air inside. You can blanch the leaves before storing in the freezer if you have a larger quantity to store.

Nutritional Levels Of Various Nutrients In Swiss Chard

 Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris sub sp. vulagaris) fresh,� 

 

raw leaves, Nutritiove value per 100 g.�

 

 

(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

 

Principle

Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy

1%

19 Kcal

Carbohydrates

3.74 g

3%

Protein

3.27 g

6%

Total Fat

0.20 g

1%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Dietary Fiber

1.6 g

4%

Vitamins

 

 

Folates

14 mcg

4.50%

Niacin

0.400 mg

2%

Pantothenic acid

0.172 mg

3%

Pyridoxine

0.99 mg

7.50%

Riboflavin

0.090 mg

7%

Thiamin

0.040 mg

3%

Vitamin A

6116 IU

204%

Vitamin C

30 mg

50%

Vitamin E

1.89 mg

12.50%

Vitamin K

830 mcg

692%

Electrolytes

 

 

Sodium

213 mg

14%

Potassium

379 mg

8%

Minerals

 

 

Calcium

51 mg

5%

Copper

0.179 mg

20%

Iron

1.80 mg

22.50%

Magnesium

81 mg

20%

Manganese

0.366 mg

16%

Phosphorus

46 mg

6%

Selenium

0.9 mcg

1.50%

Zinc

0.39 mg

3%

Phyto-nutrients

 

 

Carotene-�

3647 mcg

--

Carotene-?

45 mcg

--

Lutein-zeaxanthin

11000 mcg

--

Nutrients In Swiss Chard

  • Swiss chard leaves contain as many as 13 different polyphenolic antioxidants including kaempferol and syringic acid.
  • The red and yellow stalked varieties are an excellent source of phytonutrients especially the betalains.
  • It is very low in calories and fat.
  • Excellent source of Vitamin C about 50% of Daily requirement.
  • Super rich source of Vitamin K about 700% of Daily requirement.
  • Rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A and the antioxidants betacarotene, alpha-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Rich in niacin, Vitamin B6, folate and pantothenic acid.
  • Rich in minerals like sodium, potassium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium.
White Stalk And Veined Silverbeet

White Stalk And Veined Silverbeet

Yellow Stalks And Veined Silverbeet

Yellow Stalks And Veined Silverbeet

Health Benefits Of Silverbeet

Some health benefits of silverbeet or Swiss chard are :

  • Strengthens The Bones

It is a very good source of calcium, magnesium and Vitamin K. These minerals help to maintain and build strong bones.

  • Improves Heart Health

The antioxidant kaempferol and minerals potassium and magnesium improve heart health and keep it healthy.

  • Improves Vision

It has excellent quantities of Vitamin A, betacarotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which promote vision and good eyesight. One cup silverbeet contains 9276 mcg lutein while 6000-10000 mcg are estimated required to maintain eye health and prevent or delay age-related eye diseases.

  • Very Low In Calories And Fat

1 cup silverbeet provides just 35 calories while it has no cholesterol.

  • Fights Cancer & Other Diseases

The various antioxidants like beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, quercetin, kaempferol, Vitamin A, C & E help in keeping away and fighting off many diseases especially cancer.

  • Regulates Blood Sugar

The syringic acid and fibre content regulate blood sugar levels in diabetics. Syringic acid inhibits the enzyme alpha-glucosidase and as a result, lesser carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars thus helping to maintain a lower and steadier blood sugar level.

Animal studies indicate that chard helps to regenerate the pancreatic cells.

  • Assists In Proper Brain & Nerve Functioning

The extremely high Vitamin K levels not only strengthen the bones but maintain proper brain functioning and maintain nervous system health. Vitamin K is also necessary for the formation of the myelin sheath, the protective layer around the nerves.

  • Prevents Anemia And Maintains Blood Health

The high iron content keeps the blood healthy and haemoglobin rich preventing anaemia while the Vitamin K helps in proper blood clotting and prevents excessive blood loss.

  • Maintains Hair Health

Swiss chard has almost 11 mcg biotin in 1 cup which maintains and promotes hair growth and hair health. It is estimated that 30 mcg of biotin per day is beneficial for hair while the high levels of Vitamin A & C help in sebum production.

  • Prevents Diseases

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of silverbeet extend to reducing the risk of diabetes, atherosclerosis, high BP and arthritis.

References

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986475/
  • https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27278926/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27209705/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11025163/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29263222/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284103
  • http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=16

Some Noteworthy Points

  • Since Swiss chard contains very high levels of Vitamin K those taking anticoagulants must not consume chard as it tends to increase the Vitamin K levels in the blood.
  • Chard contains oxalic acid which may predispose to oxalate stones in people who are prone to oxalate stone formation. Intake of water should be increased while consuming chard.
  • If silverbeet is boiled it frees the acids in it which get transferred into the water it is boiled in. This water should be discarded. Also, keeping the lid off the pot while boiling helps to release the acids via the steam.
  • Overcooking of Swiss chard causes a nutrient loss of almost 50%. hence, cook it for the bare minimum time.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or embarking on a new health regime.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 17, 2013:

Thanks Au fait.

C E Clark from North Texas on February 17, 2013:

My mother used to grow swiss chard and beets in her huge garden. Now and then she would cook it for our meals, including beet greens. It should be limited for people with particular health conditions though, as you have pointed out. Excellent article as usual. Voted up, interesting, and useful!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 10, 2013:

Riviera, I'm glad you like this information and my other health foods' hubs as well. Appreciate your comments and thanks for visiting.

Riviera Rose from South of France on January 09, 2013:

I've just discovered chard and love cooking with it, but had no idea it was doing me such good! What an amazingly detailed hub - thank you so much!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 08, 2012:

Hi Imam,

Thanks for reading the article. I believe you should get these seeds in Delhi. I'm not aware of the exact location/s. However you can always buy it from Amazon.com.

Thanks again.

imam on October 08, 2012:

Hi Rajan

I reside in Delhi and interested in gardening. I have been developing my kitchen garden for over a year now. Could you please provide me information related to its growing conditions and availability of seeds?

I really want to grow it

regards

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 18, 2012:

Medical Alarms, cooking destroys the bitter flavor of chard. But a bit of bitterness is welcome for the good it gives. Glad you have made it an inclusion to your diet. Thanks for stopping by and also commenting.

Medical Alarms on July 17, 2012:

Just discovered Chard and really like it. A tad bitter at first but it adds so much health and color to my meals I'm including whenever I can.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 17, 2012:

Bridalletter, feels good to know you are inspired enough to start using it more. This in itself is a big compliment. Thanks for reading. I appreciate it.

Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on July 17, 2012:

Thank you for sharing so much information. You and the Swiss chard are a life saver! I grow it in the springtime, but no idea about all that. I will buy it and add it to the salad now.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 16, 2012:

Hi Victoria. It feels nice to know that you are thinking of using Swiss chard more often. What better compliment than this can a writer ask for. Many thanks to you for reading and appreciating the write up in so many ways. I'd be delighted to have you reading more of these articles of mine.

I can't thank you enough for all the kind words and votes. I very much appreciate your visit and time spent here.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 16, 2012:

Hi Peggy. This is a good feedback and I'm glad you now know the excellent health benefits that you have reaping from chard's consumption.

Thanks for all the nice compliments and votes. I appreciate your time spent here.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on July 16, 2012:

I really like Swiss chard, especially cooked. It's good to know how healthy it is. I need to buy it more often. I think the recipe with the mushroom sounds great. Thanks for this hub. I have noticed that you have lots of hubs on the benefits of different food items. I definitely need to try to read more.

This is also a very attractive hub. You laid it out very well. Nice photos. Many votes!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2012:

I grew swiss chard in my large garden years ago in Wisconsin. Wish I had space for a large garden where we live now. We love swiss chard. May try growing some amidst our garden beds that get enough sunlight instead of flowers. We love the taste. Learned from this hub of yours things that I did not know regarding the health benefits. Voted up, useful and will share. Thanks!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 16, 2012:

Thanks for the visit Christy. Your visit and comments are always appreciated.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 16, 2012:

Hi ehealer. Using it in the salad is a wonderful way to keep all the nutrients in the silverbeet intact and benefit from them.

I appreciate your visit and comments. Thanks.

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on July 16, 2012:

Another useful hub from my friend Rajan Jolly. Keep up the work and health-oriented writing!

Deborah from Las Vegas on July 16, 2012:

Rajan, great hub! I didn't know Silver beet could regulate blood sugar, that's very interesting. I don't have diabetes, but I do have blood sugar issues. I'm going to start tossing it in my salad. Thanks for the info!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 16, 2012:

Hyphenbird, thanks for the input. Good to know you like it. So you just have to eat it more to derive these amazing health benefits.

Many thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 16, 2012:

Unknown spy, glad you found it useful It is always a pleasure to see you here. Maybe if you look around you might locate it soon. Many thanks for the visit.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 16, 2012:

TT, got both your comments. I tried linking some hubs to mine and have been getting bad links sign since the past 2 days. There is some glitch which hasn't been sorted out as yet.

Anyway, thanks to you twice for all the appreciation showered on the write up. I'm glad you find it useful and helpful. Thanks also for some wonderful comments and the sharing.

Have a great day.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 16, 2012:

Hi Shalini. Great to know you liked the info. It sure is healthy and we do get it here in India. Thanks for reading and sharing it. Hope you have a good day.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 16, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by Annie. I appreciate the read, votes and share. Have a good day.

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on July 16, 2012:

We love this veggie. Yum, now you have me wanting some. Thanks for a great review and article.

Life Under Construction from Neverland on July 16, 2012:

Great hub as always Rajan..Full of useful ideas and info. we never have swiss chard here..or maybe I just haven't seen one :)

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on July 16, 2012:

I'm having technical difficulties this morning. I keep losing my comments! :) This is a great hub with a lot of very useful information, Rajan! Great work! I love this series, it's very helpful in preparing meals that are healthy and yummy. :) VUMS!

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on July 16, 2012:

Excellent information! I've had swiss chard a couple of times but didn't know it was so healthy and good for me. Thank you for this, Rajan! :) VUMS!

shalini sharan from Delhi on July 16, 2012:

it looks like a rather healthy thing to eat sir

a really useful hub, shared on hubpages and Hub Hoppers

Annie Fenn from Australia on July 16, 2012:

Thank you for this informative hub. I grow silver beet all year around and enjoy eating it lightly steamed or wilted in a little butter and garlic. I would like to try growing some chard as it looks and sounds interesting. Your hubs are so complete and provide a resource to come back to time and time again. My votes and best wishes to you Rajan and sharing.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 15, 2012:

It can be cooked like spinach Nithya, though cooking it for a lesser time is preferable so as to protect the maximum nutrients. Thanks for visiting.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on July 15, 2012:

Swiss Chard is something I have never tried, will try after reading your hub. It is healthy and can be cooked easily. Great hub informative and useful as usual. Voted up.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 15, 2012:

Hi DF. Thank you for stopping by and appreciating. Your visit and comments are a pleasure.

DFiduccia from Las Vegas on July 15, 2012:

Swiss Chard is one of my favorite greens, and it's so easy to grow. Your presentations are always so well-documented.

...voted up—DF

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 15, 2012:

Thanks for the compliments Bill. As always, I'm glad to see you here.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 15, 2012:

Rajan, you have carved out a great niche for your writing. Very informative and well-researched as always. Great job!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 15, 2012:

Hi livingpah. Swiss chard is indeed healthy and should be used as an adjunct to your regular diet. Hope you like and benefit from it. Wish you good health.

Thanks for reading, appreciating and voting.

Milli from USA on July 15, 2012:

I usually eat collard green leaf, kale and romaine lettuce but never tried Swiss chard. Looks very healthy and colorful leaf. I enjoyed your videos too. Very well written, Voted up!