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During the pregnancy, there are foods that almost necessarily have to appear on your weekly shopping list. One of them is chard, a vegetable with vitamins of group B, among which is folic acid, and that is very beneficial for the health of the pregnant woman and for the baby.
The chard It is a herbaceous plant that belongs to a subfamily of plants in which quinoa and spinach are also found, with which it shares many properties. Its leaves have a bright green color, while the union to the stalk or petiole (chard stalk) is characterized by being white and fleshy. Both parts, the leaf and the stalk, are edible and highly appreciated, although generally in different ways.
Although there are many varieties of chard, both edible and decorative, the chard The most widely consumed are two varieties: the yellow of Lyon, with large, wavy leaves, light yellowish green and with a large white stalk, and the traditional green with white stalk, called Bressane, whose leaves are very wavy and of dark green color and whose leaves are wider than the Lyon variety.
Except for the summer months, chard is usually available all year roundAlthough they are at their peak between October and April, and that's when their nutrient content is optimal.
Swiss chard is a very attractive food in all trimesters of pregnancy. They are vegetables of high nutritional value and low caloric intake, a source of protein, fiber and many vitamins and minerals in not inconsiderable quantities. Specifically, they provide very significant amounts of minerals such as iodine, iron, magnesium and potassium, in addition to vitamins such as vitamin C, retinol and niacin and folic acid. They also provide lutein, although it is a carotenoid that has no provitamin activity.
But the great attraction of Swiss chard in pregnancy is based mainly on three of its characteristics:
1. By constituting an excellent soluble fiber intake, favors intestinal transit and prevents constipation, a tremendously frequent problem in pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, given the increase in size and volume of the fetus.
2. It is a source of B vitamins, including folic acid, essential during the first trimester.
3. It is a source of minerals such as iron, essential during pregnancy due to the increase in blood volume or magnesium, involved in the correct development of fetal tissues. In addition, it provides iodine, a key mineral for the fetus's brain and which is also very important for breastfeeding.
For get the most out of this vegetableIt is preferable to consume them when they are at their best, that is, from October to April. Also, although eating vegetables without peeling or cooking is ideal to preserve their nutritional value, Swiss chard is not usually eaten raw. However, we should not close ourselves to the possibility of using its leaves to roll already cooked foods, such as chicken or salmon, or to make a fajita!
Additionally, if you want to preserve the greatest amount of vitamins and minerals, you can follow some tips such as:
- Take care of their storage, so that light and oxygen are in contact as little as possible to avoid possible oxidation of the micronutrients.
- Wash them whole and chop them later, just before cooking.
- Do not soak them, or, if you do, do it quickly.
- Choose cooking methods that are respectful of vitamins and minerals, and also cook them al dente to prevent excessive heat from increasing the loss of nutrients.
For example, chard should be steamed or, if they are cooked in water, do it with little water and, preferably, in a pressure cooker, so that the time is less. Using the cooking broth is another tool to avoid the loss of vitamins, since both vitamin C and those of group B are water soluble, and as such, susceptible to being lost by leaching in this cooking water. In addition, if a splash of vinegar or lemon juice is added to the cooking water, we can avoid the oxidation of minerals such as iron.
Another appropriate cooking method for chard is sauté. Using a wok-type pan, at high temperature and cooking for a very short time both the leaves and the leaves in pieces (vegetables al dente), we manage to preserve the micronutrients as much as possible.
Also, Swiss chard can be added raw to healthy smoothies or smoothies, accompanied by fresh fruits, oatmeal or nuts and seeds, they manage to provide everything the pregnant woman needs to ensure good health for herself and the fetus.
You can read more articles similar to Benefits of consuming Swiss chard in pregnancy for mother and baby, in the Diet category - menus on site.