Salad – An option or compulsion?
Do you add a bowl of salad to your diet? Or is it an optional start for you?
Many people believe that salad is only for those who are looking to lose some weight. However, the fact is that salad is not only for the health-conscious people but should be included in diet by everyone for good health. Salad benefits are numerous. Having a good portion of salad daily is one of the healthiest habits everyone should develop for a healthy lifestyle.
Salads are quite rich in vitamins and other essential nutrients, as well as low calorie-wise. One of the latest health crazes, salad is not something adopted from western culture. Traditionally, salads were included in the diet in the form of raw vegetables like cabbage, cucumber, onion, and tomatoes which were diced into slices and some lemon and salt were sprinkled on it to add some taste.
But these days, the number of ingredients in salads have changed to a great extent. Apart from vegetables, fruits, boiled pulses, and much more is added to the salad to make it tasty, crunchy, balanced, appealing, and colorful apart from healthy.
What are the health benefits of eating a salad?
There are three different types of salads like breakfast salad, lunch salad, and lastly dinner salad. Where breakfast salads include ingredients like eggs, fruits, cheese, nuts, grains, beans, and seeds, the lunch and dinner breakfasts include various vegetables, fruits, and pulses to gain maximum health benefits.
Here are some of the health benefits of eating a good portion of salad on a daily basis.
1. For boosting the productivity and mood
Yes, whether you are having a salad in breakfast, lunch, or even during dinner, the salad is much helpful in boosting your mood and mental performance. The salads are high in carbs that are complex and low in fats which are helpful in improving the mood, especially in the mornings. As they are low in carbs, they are also helpful in reducing fatigue levels.
To take advantage to salad benefits, make it a part of your breakfast. When included in breakfast, the salads come with complex carbs that help in elevating the mental performance like information processing, attention, and memory. Overall, the salads come with antidepressant benefits that enhance mood and performance.
2. Improves your digestion
Salads are naturally rich in fiber and water. The fiber in the salad can be soluble or insoluble. Hence, this aids your digestion. The insoluble fibers add bulk to the stool and also improves the movement of the food in the stomach or gut which on the other hand produces short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, propionate, and acetate.
All these fatty acids help in reducing inflammation, feed the gut cells, and fight particular gut disorders like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritating bowel syndrome. Some ingredients that provide both the fibers include avocadoes, beans, oats, pears, figs, apples, sweet potatoes, bananas, potatoes, peas, nuts, seeds, lentils, etc.
3. Helps in reducing weight
Salad benefits include weight loss too! The salads are rich in water and fiber, but apart from that, they need to be chewed extensively. All these altogether help in reducing the hunger as well as boost fullness, which help you in eating less.
The vegetables and fruits added to the salad are low in calories which means they consume a good volume in the stomach that adds to your weight loss efforts. The salads are rich in protein which reduces your hunger as you feel full. The salads are quite helpful in replacing processed foods that high in calories like croissants, breakfast cereals, etc.
4. Boosts overall health and protects from diseases
Salad is a great way of adding vegetables and fruits to your diet. In this way, you can add a number of nutrients to your diet along with compound plants that are beneficial for your health. They are also helpful in protecting yourself from various diseases.
Like adding ingredients like cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens to the salad would protect you from mental decline, heart issues, and diabetes type 2. Hence, adding some salad to your diet would help in keeping your heart healthy and would also protect you from other chronic diseases.
5. Adds smart fats to your nutrient levels
Eating salads help in boosting smart fats to your nutrient levels. They help in adding good fats like monosaturated fat that help the body in absorbing various protective phytochemicals. For this, add ingredients like tomatoes, green leafy veggies, avocado, nuts, and olive oils.
This is also helpful provides the body with beta-carotene 13 times more that is helpful in protection against heart issues and cancer. Adding olive oil to the salad would surely be helpful in adding some more years to your life while the raw veggies would help in reducing mortality.
Apart from all these, salads add micronutrients and fiber to your diet which reduces the cholesterol levels and also helps in the prevention of constipation.
Are salads good for meal replacements?
This is among the various myths prevailing in the market, especially for the people looking for some weight loss. Salads are surely among the healthy meals, but they are surely not a replacement for your meals. No doubt, salads are quite nutritious, as they add fiber and other essential micronutrients to the body, they still lack the required protein levels. Hence, they are not good at replacing major meals.
People who skip meals and prefer salads instead are found suffering from the deficiency of proteins which lead to irregular functioning. This can also result in the reduction of proper metabolism in the body and gain you more weight in the long-time period. Salads when taken before heavy meals help in reducing the chances of overeating when having meals. It makes you feel full and hence, you eat a limited quantity that is essential for your body. Hence, it is beneficial for people looking to reduce some weight.
How to prepare the best healthiest salad?
Apart from raw vegetables, there are various other ways of making healthy salads to rip the salad benefits. Here are the tips for making healthy salads.
1. Select your vegetables
Green leafy vegetables along with cruciferous vegetables are among the nutritious vegetables which can be included in the salads as the base ingredients.
The list includes ingredients like cabbage, collard greens, kale, spinach, watercress, beet greens, Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, boy Choy, turnip leaves, arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, etc. Use these ingredients in the salads as per your choice. Try picking different color veggies for increasing minerals and Vitamin to your salads.
2. Add some protein
Adding some ingredients rich in protein can be beneficial for making a healthy salad. This would not only help in reducing or controlling your hunger by maintaining fullness but would also be helpful in supporting strong bones and preserve the muscle mass.
For adding some protein-rich ingredients to your salad, use ingredients like beans, nuts, tempeh, tofu, dairy products, meat, eggs, seafood, seeds, peas, and particular whole grains like quinoa.
3. Look for some complex carbs
Carbs are among the essential nutrients for the body. It works as the fuel to the body, and adding it to the salad keeps you energized throughout the day. The carbs can be split into fibers, starches, and sugars. Sugars are in the form of simple carbs which can lead to health issues when processed.
While both the fibers and starches are in complex form, which is slow during digestion and also promotes blood sugar levels that are healthy. For including complex carbs in your nutrients, look for ingredients like starchy veggies, legumes, fruits, whole grains, apples, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, black beans, etc.
4. Don’t miss the healthy fats
Adding healthy fats in salads is much helpful in absorbing Vitamins that are fat-soluble. The best sources for healthy fats include olives, avocadoes, seeds, and nuts. All these sources are rich in minerals, plant compounds, and vitamins compared to refined fats. So, for dressing the salad in a healthy way, go for healthy ingredients like flaxseeds oil, avocado, olives, etc. that harbor added sugar and salt.
Hence, to give your salad a perfect balance, add seeds, beans, and nuts that would pack additional fiber and protein to the salad. You can also make a one-dish meal by adding lightly cooked seafood and lean meat apart from veggies. Some low-fat dressing ingredients that can be added in limited quantities include oils, cream, and mayonnaise. Adding some salt, pepper, and lemon would not only make the salad tasty but add to other health benefits.
What ingredients should you avoid in salads?
Just as there are ingredients to add in salads, there are particular ingredients that need to be avoided too to gain maximum health benefits from the salads. Some ingredients to ignore while making salads include:
- Avoid adding fatty meats, other sodium-rich meat, and fried foods in the salads as this would help in avoiding unnecessary fat amount and salt.
- Try to avoid store-bought dressings for salads as they are loaded with salt and sugar. They can also be low in minerals and vitamins.
- Avoid adding oil-roasted nuts and candied nuts as they are wrapped in sugar and would add unnecessary fats to your salads. Instead, go for dry and roasted nuts.
- Also say no to refined grains like crackers, croutons, and white pasta as they don’t have any minerals, vitamins, or fibers.
No doubt, dried fruits are healthy, but it is sure to add some extra sugar levels to the body. So, look for healthy ingredients and avoid unnecessary nutrients to make a healthy pre-meal dish.
Frequently Asked Questions About Salads and Nutrition
1. Can Florette’s green salad be included in the daily diet as a healthy ingredient for a salad?
Ans : Yes, Florette’s green salad can be included as a fresh salad for daily diet among the 5 a day of vegetable and fruit.
2. What herbs can I add to the salad for weight loss?
Ans : Add herbs like cilantro, basil, chives, tarragon, parsley, dill, chervil and thyme to make the salad good for weight loss.
3. What is the benefit of adding herbs to the salads?
Ans : Adding herbs to the salads eliminate the necessity of any kind of salad dressing to the salad, and also reduces any fat count and calories from the salad.
4. What are the different types of salads?
Ans : There are 5 different types of salads namely green salad, Caesar salad, chef salad, Waldorf salad, pasta salad, bound salads, fruit salsa salad, three-bean salad, cobb salad, and coleslaw salad.
5. Can I lose weight by eating salad daily?
Ans : Yes, salads are rich in fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients, while containing a smaller number of calories and fats. Hence, they keep your tummy full and reduce the chances of overeating. This helps in losing weight.
Salads are incredibly versatile, transportable, and quick to make. Some of the healthy salads to make include spinach-berry salad, Mexican salad, smoky sesame salad, poached-egg salad, scrambled-tofu salad, normal vegetable salad, etc. There are many who consider salads to be a great replacement for breakfasts. The nutritious toppings are also helpful for improving digestion, eliminating the unwanted weight, and protection against particular diseases.
So, now that are you are aware of the health benefits of including salad in your diet, when are you starting with a salad routine? Share with us your reviews and suggestions if any.