Swiss chard, bok choy and spinach are all green leafy vegetables that have a similar appearance and call for similar preparation methods. Of these, Swiss chard is the only one that is a root vegetable. It is a beet, but gardeners cultivate it for the leaves rather than the roots. With the hard stems removed, Swiss chard can stand in for spinach and bok choy as a side dish, soup addition or salad green. It also provides an array of nutrients in a low-calorie package.
The normal serving for Swiss chard is 1 cup of chopped or shredded leaves, without the hard stems. This serving contains 35 calories. A cup of Swiss chard provides 3 grams of protein, or 7 percent of the daily value for protein in a standard 2,000-calorie diet. The carbohydrates in Swiss chard total 7 grams per serving, including 2 grams of sugar. With 4 grams of fiber, this serving provides 15 percent of the daily value or DV. It has no cholesterol and less than .5 grams of fat.
Swiss chard has a high sodium content, with 313 grams or 13 percent of the DV for a healthy adult. It is a good source of magnesium, providing 150 milligrams or 38 percent of the DV. It contributes 0.6 milligrams manganese, or 29 percent of the DV, and 961 milligrams of potassium, which is 27 percent of the DV. The iron content totals 4 milligrams, or 22 percent of the DV. This serving of Swiss chard has 0.3 milligrams of copper, 14 percent of the DV. The calcium content, 102 milligrams, is 10 percent of the DV, and the phosphorus content, 58 milligrams, is 6 percent.
Vitamin K, which helps your blot clot, is the most abundant vitamin in Swiss chard. With 573 micrograms, it contains 716 percent of the DV for vitamin K. The vitamin A content of a 1-cup serving is 10,717 international units, or 214 percent of the DV. The vitamin C content, 33 milligrams, is 53 percent of the DV; the 3.3 milligrams of vitamin E is 22 percent; the 0.15 milligrams of riboflavin is 9 percent; the .15 milligrams of vitamin B-6 is 7 percent. The 50-milligram choline content contributes 11 percent of the DV to your daily need.
Swiss chard is a good source of antioxidants. Promising research shows antioxidants may play a role in the prevention of some cancers, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. Antioxidants provide oxygen molecules to free radicals, molecules that attack healthy cells to obtain an electron they need to survive. In addition to its vitamin A, C and E, Swiss chard has 19,276 micrograms of lutein and 1.6 micrograms of selenium, both of which are antioxidants.
- University of Illinois Cooperative Extension: Chard
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23 (2010), Chard, Swiss, Cooked, Boiled, Drained, Without Salt NDB No: 11148
- Mayo Clinic.com; What Does Percent Daily Value Mean on Food Labels?; Katherine Zeratsky; May 2010