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just off Mondon Hill Road between Hwy 41 and Hwy 50.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Swiss Chard - One of the Healthiest Veggies Around

Swiss Chard is often overlooked because it's not well known in the traditional produce shopping sections of most grocery stores. But try to find it, because it is one of the healthiest ever veggies! 

Swiss Chard tastes best when it is freshly harvested. Newly picked, the flavor is more sweet and delicious. As time goes by, it can become more tangy or bitter in flavor. It is best to prepare Swiss Chard when it is very fresh, or fresh frozen.
Swiss Chard, a tall leafy green vegetable with a thick, crunchy stalk that comes in white, red or yellow with wide fan-like green leaves, belongs to the same family as beets and spinach and shares a similar taste profile: it has the bitterness of beet greens and the slightly salty flavor of spinach leaves. Both the leaves and stalk of chard are edible, although the stems vary in texture with the white ones being the most tender.

In a nutshell, Swiss chard supports bone health with its mineral content (in particular, calcium) and vitamins such as K1, (which is converted to K2) just like Collards, Kale and Spinach. Chard helps to regulate blood sugars, provides a wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, contains anti-inflammatory properties, -- all of this and great tasting, too!

The combination of traditional nutrients, phytonutrients (particularly anthocyans), plus fiber in this food seems particularly effective in preventing digestive tract cancers. Several research studies on chard focus specifically on colon cancer, where the incidence of precancerous lesions has been found to be significantly reduced following dietary intake of Swiss Chard extracts or fibers. Preliminary  research also suggests that Swiss Chard may confer a protective effect on the kidneys for those with diabetes through reducing serum urea and creatinine levels.
Swiss Chard contains concentrations of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E, and dietary fiber, as well as being a very good or good source of copper, calcium, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, protein, phosphorous, vitamin B1, zinc, folate, biotin, niacin and pantothenic acid.
Because it is extremely rich in phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, the health benefits of Swiss Chard are very numerous. 

Getting started with Swiss Chard:
With a taste similar to spinach, romaine or beets (depending on color and maturity), Swiss Chard is best lightly boiled, though it may be stir-fried or eaten raw in salads.

Many prefer cooking it much like "greens".

As a dark leafy "green", Swiss Chard is very tasty and easy to add to your daily meals.

1) Add some to a salad with Romaine and different kinds of veggies, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and lettuce.

2) Substitute Swiss Chard for lettuce entirely.

3) Wrap it up: Make a wrap with tuna, chicken, or turkey  adding Swiss Chard  for some extra flavor.

4) Actually use the Leaves of Swiss Chard as the wrap itself!

5) Add to soup: Try mixing some finely-cut leafy Swiss Chard in your favorite soup.

6) Stir-fry: Add chopped leafy Swiss Chard greens to your stir-fry.

7) Chicken or tofu stir-fried with olive or canola oil with Swiss Chard and other vegetables is delicious!

8) Steam it: For something new, steam Swiss Chard by adding water to a pot, and an assortment of vegetables and Swiss Chard in the steamer basket! 
Swiss Chard is as diverse as lettuce when it comes to salads.
Combine sweet dressings, raisins and nuts for a fun flavor (tricks kids into eating a healthy vegetable!)

Use cheeses and assorted vegetables for a unique dish.
Add meats or cooked poultry chucks for a "chef" salad.
Best when harvested freshly!

According to World's Healthiest Foods.com, Swiss Chard ranks right on up there.

Chard contains an inhibitor for carbohydrate-laden foods. It helps maintain a healthy blood-sugar count. It is packed with several antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. I found this very tasty plant a wonderful addition to my diet, with great preparation options and a light texture. Though many say they don't care for it raw, I found it to be my favorite way of enjoying Swiss Chard. The Green Chard reminds me of Spinach. The flavor of the Red Chard is sweet like red beet roots!  The World's Healthiest Foods.com website contains a thorough description of the benefits of Swiss Chard, how to prepare it, and what Chard does for the human body. I hope you will take time to visit the link at the beginning of the previous sentence to see how perfect this easy-to-use vegetable is! 

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