I do apologise for the lack of blog posts – I have been away and busy, but now I’m back with lost of ideas for things to blog about regarding healthy living for the cold season. As I’m sure many of you have noticed, colds and flu viruses are really doing the rounds at the moment. This is an important time of year to give your immune system some good defences against the nasty bugs, and eating the right foods is the best starting point. Fresh fruit and vegetables provide a great source of immune system fighting Vitamins and minerals, but you might be surprised to hear that one of the best immune system boosting veggies is the leafy green Swiss chard.
Are you ready for the list of magic that Swiss Chard contains? Chard is rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and B vitamins, it’s a great source of magnesium, iron, calcium, protein, selenium, thiamine, folate, phosphorus and zinc. Chard leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, one of which actually helps to regulate blood sugar levels. With few calories per weight, it’s an extremely nutrient rich vegetable, making it perfect for time when your body needs a helping hand in fighting off nasties. And to top it all, it’s super tasty (think spinach, but with stalks that you can cook like onions and juice like celery). Amazing stuff really.
You can cook chard leaves in the same way you cook spinach, or dice the stalks and fry them with your onions (remember to fry vegetables in coconut oil!). Because of the juicy stalks, chard is great for juicing too. Here are some recipes that include lots of chard. Try these out if you’re feeling under the weather or during the colder months…
Comforting quinoa with pesto and chard
This is a superfood dish that’s warming, comforting and just pure goodness for your body. Remember to soak or rinse the quinoa before cooking.
1/2 cup quinoa
6 large chard leaves with stalks
2 teaspoons coconut oil/ghee
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 Tablespoons pesto
1 clove garlic chopped
Cook the quinoa as normal (twice the amount of water to quinoa cooked for 10 minutes, the cover and stand for 10 minutes). Whilst the quinoa cooks, separate the chard leaves from the stalks and slice the stalks. Heat up some coconut oil/ghee in a pan over a medium heat and add the chopped garlic and chard leaves. Cook until soft, add the spices and the chard leaves and cook until the leaves have wilted. Remove the pan from the heat and once the quinoa has cooked add it to the pan of cooked chard mixing well. Stir in the pesto and serve immediately whilst warm.
Dark green flu busting soup
(makes 4 portions)
This soup looks like something Shrek would eat, but it’s actually really tasty. And as this is a nutrient dense meal with lots of fibre, so don’t bother straining this soup,your tummy will thank you.
This is a quick recipe that doesn’t take too much cooking and boiling, also great for days when you are feeling under the weather.
6 – 8 chard leaves
1 clove of garlic
1 small red pepper
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons vegetable bouillon powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
Warm the oil in a pan over a medium heat,add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions soften, add the courgettes and chard and cook until they just start to soften. Add the coconut milk, bouillon powder and spices and top the pan with water until there is enough liquid in the pan for 4 servings.
Immune System boosting green juice
Here’s a delicious combination of things to put through your juicer that has chard added to it to boost the vitamin content. A good choice if you’ve already got a cold or flu and not much of an appetite.
1cm ginger slice
2 plums (optional)
5 large chard leaves with chunky stalks
1/4 medium cucumber
We hope you’re having a healthy day!
Hanri & Banjo