Nutrient Decline in Swiss Chard


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The nutrient content of Swiss chard has been measured and archived for decades. In general, small garden crops like chard have declined in nutrient content since the 1950s. (Read more here to learn what you can do.) Though these individual results are not statistically significant, we actually see an increase in the phosphorus content of chard and a decline in calcium, riboflavin, iron, and vitamin C.

Nutrient Change for Swiss Chard

In the table below we present the nutrient content of Swiss chard from 1950 and 1999. The 1950 measures for Swiss chard are adjusted for water content — a sample with more water will bias the results. These nutrient measures are based on a very small number of data points and none of the individual differences are statistically significant, but all together, they suggest that nutrition has declined in smaller garden crops.

Nutrient Change In Swiss Chard

Nutrient
1950*
1999
Calories
22
19
Protein
2.12
1.79
Fat
.33
.2
Carbohydrates
3.9
3.7
Ash
.98
1.6
Calcium
85.63
51
Phosphorus
29.36
46
Iron
2.04
1.8
Vitamin A
7111.64
3300
Thiamin
.05
.04
Riboflavin
.15
.09
Niacin
.33
.4
Vitamin C
30.99
30

*The 1950 data is adjusted for water content.

Creative Commons License: Share the Knowledge

The figures used to present differences in nutrients in garden crops here on the Traditional Foods website, including change in Swiss chard, can be reposted for noncommercial use with a link back to this specific page or to the more general article here: nutrient decline.

Source of Data

The historical measures on the nutrient content of garden crops has been published and distributed by the United States Department of Agriculture. It was also compiled by Davis, Epp, and Riordan whose work we describe on this website. In line with the authors, we adjusted the 1950 Swiss chard nutrient values so that the 1950 and 1999 food samples had the same water content.

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