Chard is actually a type of beet that has been bred to grow robust stalks with juicy leaves instead of thick roots, and in some parts of the word chard is known as silverbeet. Rainbow chard, sometimes sold under the name "Bright Lights," is a mixture of chard varieties with red, orange, yellow or white colored stalks. Use highly nutritious rainbow chard as you would spinach. The mildly flavored leaves can be served raw, lightly steamed or boiled, and the crisp stalks can be sauteed or stir fried. A serving of chard is 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked.
Rainbow chard is naturally low in both fat and calories. A cup of raw chard has a mere 7 calories and a negligible amount of fat: 0.07 grams. If you cook your chard, keep in mind that sauteing it in oil greatly increases the amount of fat and calories.
Chard contains a large quantity of vitamin A. According to Christopher Theberge, RD, LDN on his website NAFWA, a 1/2 serving of cooked chard will provide 110 per cent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps protect your body against infections and also promotes healthy skin and eyes.
Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, and chard is no exception. One cup of raw rainbow chard has over 10 milligrams of vitamin C. Vitamin C improves iron absorption in the body, helps fight infections and also maintains and improves the health of your body's cells.
Rainbow chard is a good choice if you are looking for vegetarian sources of iron. One half cup of cooked chard offers 10 percent of your daily recommended amount of iron. Getting plenty of iron in your diet is essential for your body to deliver oxygen from your lungs into the rest of the body.
As with other dark green leafy vegetables, rainbow chard is a good source of calcium, and 1 cup of raw chard contains 18 mg of calcium. If you are vegan, lactose intolerant or just don't like to drink milk, it's important to eat plenty of vegetables like chard to get the calcium you need for strong bones.
Canadian nutritionist Leslie Beck, RD, recommends chard for its high fiber content on her website. Half a cup of cooked chard delivers 1.85 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber not only keeps you "regular," but also improves your cardiovascular health.