Another way to add color to your palette

Want another powerhouse vegetable to add to your diet?

Swiss chard is a leafy green most popular in Mediterranean countries. This earthy-tasting vegetable comes in many beautiful colors. The stems look like celery that come in the color red, yellow, pink, orange and rainbow. The leaves should be green – not yellow or discolored.

Michigan State University Extension says that Swiss chard can be traced back to Sicily and was honored by ancient Greeks and Romans for its medicinal uses. It has multiple names including silver beet, strawberry spinach and Roman kale.

Beets and spinach join Swiss chard in the “goosefoot” family because the leaves represent the shape of a goose’s foot. Swiss chard is packed with nutrition and is a great source of vitamin K, A and C as well as magnesium, potassium, iron and dietary fiber.

After first rinsing the leaves and stalks under clean water, Swiss chard can be boiled, steamed or roasted. One cup of chopped Swiss chard has about 35 calories. It stores in the refrigerator unwashed for up to five days and is at its best June through August.

Swiss chard contains phytonutrients which are plant chemicals that are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Because Swiss chard is a good source of dietary fiber and protein, it may help to regulate the speed of digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels. If you’re prone to kidney stones; be cautious of how much Swiss chard you eat, as it does contain oxalates, which decrease the body’s absorption of calcium and can lead to kidney stones.

Swiss chard can be added to most any side dish, stuffing, soup or sauce. It can also be eaten on its own with a touch of olive oil, lemon juice and spice.

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