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Friday, January 8, 2010

Seasonal Vegetable Profile: Chard

In history: A member of the beet family, chard is grown for its meaty stems and tasty greens, but ancient Romans cultivated the plant for its roots as well.

Health: In a mere 35 calories per cup, chard supplies a staggering 700% of Vitamin K needs and a wealth of carotenes that protect your eyes from age-related loss of vision.

Did you know? Like its distant relative spinach, chard contains oxalates, which are a waste product of plant metabolism. Oxalates are responsible for the gritty film left on your teeth after eating the vegetable.

About the veggie: Chard is one of the few vegetables that contains red and yellow betains—a type of pigment that produces the bright stem and vein color seen on certain types of chards. Red betains contain antioxidants; yellow betains do not. Betains are also found in beets, amaranth and prickly pears.

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McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. Scribner: New York, 2004.
Health content provided by Liz Applegate, Director of Sports Nutrition, UC Davis,

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