sexta-feira, 17 de maio de 2013


Chard - Beta vulgaris - Mediterranean


Chard is a vegetable belonging to the species Beta vulgaris. The chard originated in the Mediterranean basin. It is believed to have been used as both food and medicine, from prehistory.It is thought that this vegetable has been valued in ancient Greece, as was mentioned by philosophers such as Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC).

In the eighth century, chard cultivation was common in China, then spread to the rest of Asia. Even today it is a key ingredient of the cuisine of various countries in the Far East.In Europe, the chard started become popular, especially in France, from the Middle Ages.

In actuality, because chard is grown in temperate zones, is widespread worldwide, and can be found several varieties, including the crisp chard, sporting dark green leaves, white stalk and a taste that resembles the spinach, chard stalks that features large white and green leaves, Japanese and Swiss chard leaves and closed juxtaposed with yellowish at the base and core and pale green on the edges.In Portugal the chard is available for consumption between October and June.

Nutritional Information
The chard, like the other vegetables, is low in energy and high in water. Also noteworthy is its content of vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and fiber. Nutritional composition table (100g edible portion)

g = gram
mg = milligrams
Edible portion  = with respect to the weight of the food that is consumed after all discarded waste.

Source: Lima D, Colugnati F, et al. Brazilian Table of Food Composition. New York: Center for Studies and Research in Food, State University of Campinas. 2006.

Advantages and disadvantages

The chard is a vegetable with health interest because of its nutritional profile. The substantial amounts of fiber and water contribute to the normal function of the gut and regulation of plasma cholesterol levels, which contributes to the improvement of the bowel function and cardiovascular respectively.

Potassium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure in the balance of body fluids and muscular contraction. The daily intake of potassium may be limited in cases of renal insufficiency.

Chard provides appreciable amounts of vitamin C, an antioxidant that enhances the immune system by helping to protect the body against infection and production of collagen, a protein that forms part of various structures of the body, such as skin, connective tissue, cartilage and tendons.

Calcium and phosphorus are involved in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, as well, are important during childhood and adolescence to ensure proper growth and development, and in adulthood, for the maintenance of bone mass and teeth and for the prevention of their losses. Phosphorus also contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system and aids tissue regeneration.

How to buy and maintain

Get a fresh chard with leaves polished, bright, lush and with a firm consistency. Avoid the chard stalk to submit a mole with black marks, or yellowing leaves with dark spots, as these are signs of deterioration.In the cold, the chard keeps it raw or cooked for 3 to 4 days.

If you want to freeze the chard, soak the leaves in boiling water and then place them in a container with cold water in order to stop the cooking. Subsequently, store it in the freezer in an airtight container.

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