Silverbeet (Beta vulgaris), also called chard, belongs to the Chenopodiaceae family and hails to us from the Mediterranean coast.
Part of our diets since Greek and Roman times, it has fallen in past times into disuse, which is surprising because it has great culinary value and interesting medicinal properties.
Health benefits of silverbeet
- With a very low calorie intake, silverbeet is still nutrient and vitamin-rich. Raw or cooked, it is an excellent source of vitamin C and A, magnesium and potassium.
- With high levels of polyphenols, silverbeet helps our bodies combat ageing by neutralizing free radicals that tend to attack our body cells and accelerate the delinquency of our body.
- Bursting with fiber, silverbeet boasts emollient, refreshing and laxative benefits. It is also effective when the urinary tract is in a state of inflammation.
- Paired with other vegetables, in soup or stew, silverbeet lightens the burden on the liver and supports intestinal transit.
- Betaine contained in the silverbeet is a substance that encourages regeneration of hepatic cells and acts positively on metabolizing fats.
- Topical use, such as silverbeet leaf poultices, soothe dry patches and cutaneous inflammations and treat certain forms of mycosis.
Growing silverbeet for its benefits
- Silverbeet is a herbaceous plant with large fleshy leaves that must be planted in sun or part sun with clayish, sandy, moist but well drained soil.
- Remember to add some humus and soil mix to your earth and compost or manure during winter.
- Whether you grow it directly in the ground, potted in terra cotta or large garden boxes, silverbeet will thrive under your care.
- In the vegetable patch: how to grow silverbeet
Cooking silverbeet for its health benefits
Silverbeet is most often consumed cooked in a pressure-cooker or boiled in water, with a quick run in the frying pan to add a little flavor.
They give an element of surprise in baked gratin, pies or chop suey.
You can also prepare it as soup or cream soup, either alone or paired with other vegetables with the occasional potato thrown in.
Nutritional content of silverbeet
20 kcal / 3.5 oz (100 g). With very low calorie intake, silverbeet is among the vegetables that have the highest levels of fiber. Its effectiveness in case of lazy intestines is a revelation to many. Its leaves are replete with vitamins and antioxidant benefits.