Good health starts with a good diet. Supplements, medication and other forms of treatment should only really come into play once nutrition through food has failed. Adding raw mixed plant matter, otherwise known as a salad, to a daily eating routine is something anyone can do. It costs little and can entail a surprising number of health benefits. While not everything that has ever been said about the benefits of raw foods is true, some nutrients are indeed better absorbed through eating raw fruit and vegetables. Neglecting this aspect in a diet can easily leave a person with a vitamin deficiency or an immune system that’s less stronger than it should be.
A large number of people have insufficient fiber in their diets, which is often accompanied by digestive problems. No matter how nutrient-rich a diet may be, poor gut health will often manifest as any of a variety of apparently unrelated medical conditions. A lack of fiber will leave your body unable to expel toxins effectively.
Fiber comes in two basic forms: soluble and insoluble. Both are needed to scrub a person’s intestines. Soluble fiber forms a kind of gel that can absorb impurities while insoluble fiber remains solid throughout the digestive process. Adding a side salad that takes no more than a few minutes to prepare a meal will provide all the fiber you and your family need. This is still possible even when the main course is something like pizza or hot dogs.
Despite its popularity, iceberg lettuce is one of the most useless foods imaginable. Apart from fiber and water, it contains virtually nothing that the body needs. Its culinary uses are limited to adding texture and bulk. In salads, it can be easily substituted with greens such as raw spinach, dandelion or beet leaves. The latter is commonly available, but often ending up in the trash.
Leafy vegetables, including many kinds of lettuce, are not only there to add a bit of crunch to a salad, but also to provide a healthy dose of antioxidants, folate, beta carotene and a whole galaxy of things that are good for you.
Lentils and Other Legumes
There’s no rule that states that every salad has to be based on leaves. Cooked chickpeas, white beans, and peas can all be combined with steamed or raw vegetables and some kind of dressing to make a delicious salad. Using legumes in a salad is a great way to pump up the protein content of a meal while also offering a respectable quantity of almost any mineral you can name, along with B vitamins and healthy fatty acids.
Nutrition Without Excess Calories
Much of the energy content in salads tend to come from the dressing. If this is replaced with an option lower in fat, such as a dressing based on Greek yogurt, a salad at lunch (or a salad as lunch) can easily provide a huge amount of vitamins, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients without making you gain an ounce. In addition, the fiber and bulk that a salad provides slow down digestion and keep a person full and energized for longer periods of time. This can greatly help anyone who wants to lose weight without feeling hungry.
Adding Superfoods to Your Diet
Most of us know that we’re supposed to eat more things like avocado, apples, broccoli, and seeds. But, it’s not always obvious how to incorporate them into existing food habits without them being bland, unappetizing, or requiring a lot of work to prepare. In many cases, a somewhat creative salad recipe is exactly the answer to this problem.
Nuts, fruit, seeds, and berries can all find a place in a side salad. Eating a whole carrot or orange can be inconvenient and messy. But, slicing them up and combining them with other ingredients easily make them more interesting and fun to eat.
Even those who are unwilling to give up takeout and sugary treats can easily improve the quality of their overall diet by eating a portion or two of salad each day. Salads are only boring when they’re made that way. But, they can be served as either a side dish or an entire meal. It can also perfectly complement other dishes both visually and in taste.