Nutritious benefits of eating salads
We all know that a salad is a healthy option, but if asked exactly what the benefits of eating salads are the common answer might be, “they help you lose weight” or “they help you eat more vegetables”. While it is true that eating salads can help you lose weight and eat more veggies, let’s take a closer look at the many nutritional benefits of eating salads.
Colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and vitamins that can help protect against types of cancer, heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration. Typically, the richer the color of the produce, the more nutrients it contains.
Almost all the components of a salad are high in fiber. The high fiber in salads is what helps you feel full without eating as many calories and helps curb overeating. Fiber is instrumental in helping lower blood cholesterol, preventing constipation, and steadies blood sugar.
One of the important benefits of eating salads that is sometimes overlooked is added protein. Protein is important to help our body grow, repair, and strengthen bones, muscles, and ligaments. It is very easy to add protein to a salad with ingredients like seafood, beans, lentils, tofu, lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, etc. Don’t leave out this important ingredient!
Salads generally contain a type of fat, but it is important to make sure the it is a good, healthy fat. Adding nuts, seafood, avocados, and olive-oil based vinaigrettes is a great way to add healthy fats that boost brain health, improve vision, reduce inflammation, boost immunity, regulate blood clotting, and more!
One ingredient that most people don’t often think of adding to a salad are spices. Besides adding a ton of unique flavors and transforming an ordinary salad into a masterpiece, spices contain high levels of antioxidants and immune boosting nutrients.
Mix for the full benefits of eating salads
Individually, each of the components of a salad contain many health benefits, but the synergy that is created by mixing these ingredients together is what makes salads so nutritious. For example:
- Combining a protein (lean meat or beans) with vegetables high in vitamin C increases the body’s ability to absorb the iron from the protein source.
- The healthy fats in olive oils and nuts helps increase the body’s ability to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as the antioxidant lycopene found in tomatoes.
- Adding a source of acid such as lemon or lime juice or vinegar also increases the absorption of many vitamins and minerals. Some studies also suggest that these juices can also lower and slow down glucose absorption from a meal and therefore help stabilize blood sugar.
- Want your salad to be even more beneficial? Top your salad with these booster foods: chia seed, hemp seed, flax seed, and nutritional yeast.