Read these baby red chard health benefits for kids and introduce it to their diet in a few easy ways! Keep reading to know more.
Red Chard is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the spinach and beets family. Baby red chard is the delicate leaves of a young chard plant. The baby leaves are tender, smaller, and sweeter than the mature leaves. It has a mild nutty, earthy flavor that is similar to spinach. It looks similar to spinach but is distinguished by its red stems and red-veined leaves. A Swiss botanist first identified it, so it is popularly known as the Swiss red Chard. It has been cultivated in Greece since 400 BC and is popular in Mediterranean cuisine.
You can eat Red Chard raw or cooked. You can either boil, saute, or steam it for a minimal period to preserve its nutrients. Also, it does not require salt as it already contains a fair amount of sodium in it.
Baby red Chard is available in supermarkets throughout the year. It has betalain pigments, which give it its vivid red coloring and have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is packed with:
- vitamins like C, K, E, A, B1, B2, B3, B6,
- Pantothenic acid
- Beta carotene
- Dietary fiber
- Manganese, and
36g (1 cup) of red Chard contains:
- Calories – 7
- Protein – 0.65g
- Fat – 0.07g
- Carbohydrates – 1.35g
- Fiber – 0.6g
- Sugar – 0.4g
- Vitamin K – 298mcg
- Vitamin A – 110mcg
- Sodium – 103mcg
Baby Red Chard Health Benefits For Kids
- Red Chard contains nitrates, which help lower blood pressure. A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology shows that foods like red Chard, high in dietary nitrates, have many vascular benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, inhibiting platelet aggregation, and improving endothelial dysfunction.
- Dietary nitrates present in Chard improve muscle oxygenation during exercise, which can improve your kid’s athletic performance. They also boost cardiovascular health, respiratory health, and treat metabolic diseases.
- The fiber content has a low glycemic index and regulates blood sugar levels.
- Chard contains three times the recommended daily intake of vitamin K, which is necessary for healthy bones and clotting of blood.
- It has 44 % of the recommended amount of vitamin A which promotes eye health.
- Chlorophyll in Chard blocks cancer-causing chemicals that are released when you grill food at high heat. Therefore, it helps fight cancer.
- Decreases the risk of obesity.
- Contains antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid, which lowers glucose levels and also increases insulin sensitivity. It reduces peripheral neuropathy symptoms, retinopathy, and blood vessel damage in diabetics and is observed to reduce cholesterol levels in animal studies.
- Has a neuroprotective effect and therefore, guards against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
- Phytonutrients in chards increase energy and boost immunity.
- Calcium in Chard helps to strengthen bones.
- Betalain pigments in chard help detoxify your body.
How to include baby red chard in your kid’s diets:
- You can introduce Chard to your child as early as their 9th month.
- Steam or boil it and puree it with other steamed vegetables like carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes.
- You can use raw baby red Chard for older kids, for its vivid, appealing color in salads, wraps, and sandwiches.
- If your kid is not fond of greens, then you can introduce Chard to him in small amounts in his favorite foods, such as adding it to his pasta dishes, soups, in an omelet, and meatballs.
- You can cook it with other greens like arugula, spinach, or lettuce.
- Saute it in olive oil and add salt and pepper and serve it as a side dish.
- It accompanies well with pork, cheese, avocados, nuts, citrus, mushrooms, garlic, shallots, and fennel.
- You can braise or boil it, add to soups, casseroles, egg frittata, or blend with other vegetable or fruit juices.
Side Effects & Precautions
- Buy organic Chard to avoid the risk of pesticides.
- Choose leaves that are fresh, unblemished, and do not have holes.
- Make sure to soak and wash them in plenty of running water.
- Chard has oxalates, which decrease your body’s absorption of calcium and leads to kidney stones, hence consume it in moderation.
- Too much consumption of Chard can cause abdominal pain.
- It has nitrates, which lower blood pressure, so if you are on blood pressure-lowering medication, avoid consuming it.
- Excess consumption can cause tremors, convulsions, vomiting, and a weak pulse.
- If you are on blood thinners, then eat it with caution.