Salads needn’t be a meager piece of lettuce, with some sad tomato and cucumber. A well-constructed salad can be a meal in itself. Here are six reasons to munch on a tasty salad.
1. Multivitamins and minerals. There are too many vitamins and minerals in fresh produce to name them all here. Antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, help protect us from the harmful effects of toxins including pollution, and are abundant in vegetables. When possible choose organic produce to decrease the amount of pesticides in your diet. Vitamin K is another nutrient found in green leafy vegetables, like collards, Swiss chard, parsley, and various types of lettuce. Vitamin K is needed for healthy blood clotting and may help prevent osteoporosis.
2. Phytonutrients galore. Natural chemicals in plants, phytonutrients have many health benefits. They include lycopenes in tomatoes which have been found to protect men against prostate cancer. Lutein, found in spinach and kale may help prevent the formation of cataracts in the eyes. The more colorful your salads, the more phytonutrients you’ll find in them. This applies to leafy greens as well; paler iceberg lettuce has fewer nutrients than darker romaine lettuce.
3. Fabulous Fiber. Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diets. Salads are filled with it! Fiber helps keep us regular, binds toxins and releases them from the body, feeds the good bacteria in our gut, and can even help decrease cholesterol.
4. Salads are easy to make. No cooking skills required. When you’re pressed for time, just wash some veggies, chop them up, and toss them with some olive oil and a splash of apple cider vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice. Simple and delicious!
5. Unlimited options. Salads can be made with all kinds of delicious ingredients including a variety of greens, herbs, sprouts, fruits, nuts, seeds, and beans. Breadcrumbs, cheese, eggs, avocado, and grilled meats or fish can make a salad heartier and more filling. The dressing on the salad also changes the flavor, so experiment with different options. I would suggest forgoing store bought dressings as they usually contain unnecessary ingredients.
6. You can eat as much as you want. As long as you don’t add fried foods like bacon and dressings high in sugar, salt, and fat (such as mayonnaise) then you should have a healthy, calorie reduced meal. No need to limit your servings: enjoy!
Reach for that refreshing salad and know that you’re feeding your body real, healthy food.
Got a question?
Dr. Melissa Rodriguez is a mom of two and a wellness consultant. She also works as a naturopath at International Medical Center. To find out more, check out her website at www.drmelissarodriguez.com.
This article originally appeared on page 24 of the beijingkids September 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email email@example.com.