I Did Not Know Swiss Chard Can Be Poisonous...

bulldinkieJune 8, 2012

I heard larger swiss Chard can be poisonous,If you taste it and it tastes bitter dont eat,now the way they talked it was larger plants,poisonous like rhubarb leaves.

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Bulldinkie, swiss chard is not poisonous, not even large leaves.

There is a variety of swiss chard called "rhubarb", but it is not the same as the sour rhubarb that we use to make pies. The leaves of the traditional rhubarb ARE poisonous, but the leaves of the rhubarb variety of swiss chard are not.

I've eaten them well into December, and we eat the large stalks cooked separately from the leaves because they take so long to cook, but the big ones are not poisonous. Tougher perhaps.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:16PM
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Wondering where you heard that?? It can contain fairly high amounts of oxalic acid, but that's not poisonous....may interfere with calcium absorption....but you are not going to eat a cup a day for a week are you?
No.....don't believe that's so at all.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:16PM
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I use the large leaves in place of cabbage in my stuffed cabbage recipes. I have eaten swiss chard for years even when it is 5 ft. tall and the leaves are 18" long. I can't eat a lot of it and I eat it cooked rather than raw because I have kidney stones.

I did a search and found this information. Don't feed it to your animals.
Is Swiss Chard Poisonous?

The intake of Swiss chard by animals such as cats, dogs, guinea pigs, and the like, in large amounts are reported to bring about many health hazards. But, the use of Swiss chard by human is not reported to be poisonous, and is noted for having diuretic, antioxidant and laxative properties. It is also known to be crucial for bone health. Several nutritional benefits are associated with Swiss chard as they are rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, E, K, C, B6, and essential elements like calcium, magnesium, iodine, Beta carotene, Chlorophyll, folate, zinc, and many more that offer added health benefits to us.

Like spinach, Swiss chard has a relatively high oxalate content. This decreases when the vegetable is cooked.

Oxalates interfere with calcium absorption, but the effect is relatively minor and not something to be worried about.

However, eating large quantities of foods with a high oxalate content can result in high oxalate concentrations in body fluids, which can result in the formation of oxalate crystals. Eventually, kidney stones and gall stones could form as a result. For this reason, people with kidney and gall bladder problems are recommended to avoid eating large quantities of oxalate-rich foods.

In this respect, eating raw Swiss chard is no different to using raw baby spinach leaves in salads.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:16PM
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Ah. Bulldinkie, iirc, is on dialysis, so possibly has been told to avoid Swiss chard.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 1:14PM
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Colleen, you are probably right, I know stepmother was on dialysis and wasn't allowed to eat any greens. Now she's on coumadin for her heart and still isn't supposed to eat greens, something about the coumadin level in her blood.

So, it's not poisonous, but it could be unhealthy for people with other health issues, I'm sure.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 10:49PM
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Leafy greens and green vegetables contain Vitamin K which aids in blood clotting.
So it isn't really that you don't dare eat greens but you need to eat about the same amount every day....because you coumadin dosage is based on the clotting level of your blood.
So if you take coumadin, don't go crazy when the garden lettuce comes in or your garden yields lots of fresh broccoli, but also don't go on a greens fast either. Consistant ... that's the ticket.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 12:30AM
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There are some conditions where you do need to limit oxalic acid. I have one of them--interstitial cystitis. So I did some research on it. Lots of greens have oxalic acid in them, such as spinach. I love greens so much and they are so healthy otherwise, I eat them anyway. So far they haven't bothered me. I don't eat them to excess. As with all food sensitivities, everyone's mileage may vary, there's a lot of biochemical diversity in humans I am finding out!

The average person would have to eat a very large amount of greens to feel any effects at all.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 9:47AM
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Thats what the guy said on Good eats, Alton ?? he said when swiss chard gets big it can be poisonous like rhubarb leaves .He said if it tastes bitter do not eat.I just planted 6 plants yellow ,red.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 2:53PM
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Yes, if you're on dialysis, you need to know greens have high potassium levels. It's one of the things that keeps your heart in check, much like calcium and sodium, and it must be in the right balance. Be careful heart and dialysis patients!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 3:56PM
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Well....fish is "poisionous" to my SIL....would kill him without an EPI pen, musk melon is poisionous to my daughter, for some salt is poisionous for others things like strawberries or sesame seed rolls.
The oxalic acid in some greens may not be good for those with certain health conditions, but they are not poisionous.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 4:02PM
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I agree, LindaC, and I seldom disagree with Alton but swiss chard is not poisonous.

Bulldinkie, be sure to run it past your doctor before you eat much of that swiss chard, though, as has been mentioned, many people with chronic health conditions should forego greens. It would be horrible to eat something that's supposed to be so good for you, and find out that it's actually really bad for you.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 6:48PM
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I found the Alton Brown script to the program, "Field of Greens" where he uses the word 'toxic'.

However, if you continue to cook the leaves and these nutrients, the nutrients themselves, or some of them, can begin to break down. Bad things can happen. See, when isothiocyanates cook enough, they form very strong flavors and even stronger smells in the air. In fact, that stinky, rotten egg smell that comes out of greens all too often can be toxic in large amounts. In fact, it was synthesized and turned into a biological warfare agent used in World War I called mustard gas. Of course, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure my mother waged biological warfare on me in the 1960's. I've got to get some air.

Here is a link that might be useful: Field of Greens.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 7:39PM
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So the smell can be toxic, so much that it can be synthesized into mustard gas, but the greens are not. I guess that makes sense, I've smelled some pretty strong greens cooking!

And kids the world over would agree...


    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 9:56PM
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I don't think cabbage qualifies as "greens" does it? (wink, wink to you Annie!)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:48AM
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My lesson from this thread is that because one can distill a poisonous gas from the leaves of a plant does not mean that the plant is dangerous. Right?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 10:07AM
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Right. Concentration always matters. At some stage of production, Coke syrup travels with MSDS papers and can cause chemical burns. Pepper spray is made from peppers. What's perfectly safe in small quantities can be lethal in huge quantities.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 10:33AM
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Robin, that's a good question. Is cabbage considered a green? I never thought of it as a green, but I guess it really is. I always put the cruciferous vegetables in a class by themselves, the cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.



    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 11:02AM
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Well, in sufficiently large quantities even water is poisonous, as is nutmeg.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 11:30AM
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Cabbage is a green....the greener the leaves....the greener.

Everyone knows that awful sulfurous odor of overcooked cabbage.....it's what gave the stuff a bad name.
But poisonous?...only to visitors!

That's the kind of thing that gets me about "over scientific"....take a small fact, like mustard gas comes from a substance in plants we eat....and someone can turn it into "be careful because Swiss Chard can poison you".

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 11:32AM
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Swiss chard is apparently poisonous to me. Although I grew up eating it, if I eat it now I get to experience a very violent, painful total system purge similar to the effects of food poisoning.

Sure that it couldn't really be the healthy Swiss chard I'm growing organically in my garden that was causing this food poisoning reaction, I sautéed some chard for supper last night. Suffice it to say, it was a long, most miserable night, and sadly I have crossed chard off of my list of veggies I enjoy.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2014 at 5:00PM
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Sounds like a good cleansing.

When I take my dog to the park and he swims in the harbor and drinks too much salt water while fetching tennis balls...

...well let's just say more than one fellow pet owner, citing vets' opinions, has said "that's supposedly good for him." I never bothered to research to subtantiate.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2014 at 8:12PM
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