Salads – and green leafy vegetables in general – are often thought of as diet food.
Eating salad doesn’t have to be the healthy habit of someone who is trying to lose weight, however. The health benefits of eating salad are so numerous and adaptable, making salads a healthy option for anyone.
What are the health benefits of salad? The answer depends on the ingredients used when preparing a salad, as well as the actual leafy greens themselves. Salads that consist mainly of vegetables and fruits – and avoid lots of unhealthy “extras” – provide many nutritional benefits like fiber, vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy fats.
The following article, originally published on TheRedheadRiter.com, covers twenty health benefits of eating salad that will have you thinking more seriously about the importance of salad in your diet.
20 Health Benefits Of Eating Salad
Eating raw fruits and vegetables will keep you feeling better, look more fit, become healthier and live longer. Listed below are twenty health benefits of eating salad. Hopefully this will encourage you to add salads as a staple to your diet.
Salads Are Delicious
Fresh fruit and vegetables are delicious, so mixing them in an array of different combinations to create a salad ensures exciting meals. Salads are delicious and knowing that they are also good for you, adds to the delicious factor.
Salads Are Visually Satisfying
First, you eat food with your eyes. Salads have varied textures, shapes, sizes and colors which make them visually appealing and satisfying. We enjoy foods that are entice our eyes and also eat more of them.
Eat A Different Salad
A salad does not have to be just lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. There are thousands of ingredient combinations possible for making a salad. You could have a different salad every day for years! Not only are the ingredients in the salad numberless, but there are also many salad dressing combinations that can spice up a salad.
Eat Salads To Decrease Calories
As long as you don’t add a bunch of fried ingredients that swim in dressing, salads are low in calories and can help you lose weight. Adding fruit and good fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocados to a salad enable the body to absorb lycopene (in tomatoes), lutein (in dark green vegetables), iron (in spinach) and other nutrients.
Salads Add Fiber
Eating healthy foods aid in helping the body feel energetic and filled with vitality. Salads add fiber to the diet which reduces cholesterol and constipation. High fiber salads eaten before a meal tend to help you consume less of the higher calorie foods served afterward. This fiber fullness side effect will help you lose weight.
Crunch And Munch
Eating a variety of textures keeps mealtime interesting. Salad ingredients can add a nice crunch which is much better for you than munching on cookies or potato chips.
Eat Salads To Stop The Craving
If you have a sweet-tooth that craves sugar and candy, add fruit or a fruity dressing to the salad. Not only will this satisfy your craving, but it tastes refreshing and will re-energize you.
Salads Are Fast
Compared to making homemade lasagne or waiting for Chinese food to be delivered, making a salad is relatively quick. The basic salad only requires that you wash and cut the vegetables. No baking is required. After buying vegetables, washing and storing them in the refrigerator decreases the time it will take you later to prepare a salad.
Salads Are Healthy
Salads are high in vitamins and minerals such as: vitamin A (immunity), vitamin C (fight infection, boost iron absorption, maintain healthy bones, gums and skin), vitamin K (strong bones, heal wounds, assists blood to clot), calcium (build strong teeth and bones, assists blood to clot, nerves to carry messages, muscles contract), alpha- and beta-carotene (antioxidant that help protect against cancer and heart disease), iron (maintain healthy blood) and many other vitamins and minerals.
Eat Salads Because It Is Hot Outside
Stifling heat in the summer not only curbs the appetite, but also lessens the desire to slave over a hot stove. That makes eating a salad the perfect meal when it is so hot in the summer months. Since there is no cooking required to make a salad, you won’t have to worry about adding extra heat from an oven.
Eat Salads To Increase Vegetable Intake
The perfect way to increase the number of vegetables in your diet is to eat a variety of salads often. Eating plenty of raw vegetables ensures that you are getting the benefit of the enzymes found in them. These enzymes enable your body to absorb the nutrients found in the food. More nutrient absorption leads to better health.
Everyone Can Make A Salad
You simply can’t go wrong when adding basic salad ingredients, so it isn’t necessary to be a chef or even know how to cook in order to make a delicious salad. Children can easily assist in preparing salads. It is also the perfect meal to motivate children towards eating a variety of vegetables since they are more apt to eat what they help prepare.
There is no end to the number of recipes for salads and dressings. The only limiting factor is your imagination. Start with fresh greens like arugula, spinach and Romaine, then add a variety of colorful vegetables.
Salads can be packed easily and travel well because they won’t leak all over. They are compact and great for lunch or a snack. It also doesn’t matter if the salad gets “tossed” around.
Be The Farmer
It is possible to grow most, if not all, the vegetables in a salad. Not only is it convenient to pick the amount of vegetables needed for a salad from your own garden, but you will know exactly how everything was grown. As an added bonus, you will feel a sense of pride at being able to provide for yourself.
Salads Clean The Refrigerator
Since there are so many ways to make a salad, every couple of days it is easy to clean out the refrigerator of everything that might go bad soon. Not only is it frugal, but will add variety to the salad diet and help keep it balanced.
Salad Diversity Makes Everyone Happy
There are numberless types of salads which means that everyone can have a different salad at the same table by simply adjusting the ingredients according to their likes and dislikes. Mealtime should be a pleasant experience and encouraging salad individuality will also cause children to want to try new things. You know how it goes – “I want what he has in his bowl!”
Do you hate that super full feeling and the bloating that happens after eating a fatty meal? Well, salads do not cause bloating and that is akin to winning the golden ticket in “Willie Wonka And The Chocolate Factory”. Salads help to fill you up, but they do not feel heavy nor do they make you feel lethargic.
Salads Ward Off Disease
Salads help protect the body from diseases such as cancer and heart disease because they are high in fiber which improves digestive health. The raw fruits and vegetables in a salad also are antioxidants. Just add a hand full of blueberries and walnuts to a salad to up the health factor significantly. Research has also shown that people who consume plenty of raw vegetables and good fat (olive oil) have a reduced mortality! Salads will help you live longer!
Salads Are Exciting
Salads are so varied, that they are exciting. Really! Think about it! You never know what you will find under the next leafy green.
Obviously, I love making and eating salads. Hopefully after reading the twenty health benefits of eating salad, you will feel more inclined to add salad as a regular item on your daily menu.
Excuse me for a little bit. I’ve got to “leaf” you, so that I can get “dressed” and eat my salad.
Replacing other, less healthy or high-calorie foods with green leafy vegetables and ingredients found in a healthy salad will provide tremendous health benefits. Some additional health benefits of eating salad not mentioned in the previous article include:
- Eating salads may lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, osteoporosis and kidney stones.
- Eating salads can support healthy nails and hair.
- Eating salads rich in vitamins C, E, B6 and folic acid promote a healthy immune system in general.
- Bigger is better when it comes to eating salads, as long as the salad is bigger in volume (more leafy greens and fresh vegetables) and not in calories.
- Using olive oil as salad dressing increases the health benefits of eating salad. An Italian study shows that a diet rich in olive oil and raw vegetables is linked to reduced mortality.
- Eating salads embrace the truth that variety is the spice of life. Adding a diverse mixture of leafy greens – green leaf, red leaf, romaine, spinach, kale – and a wide variety of raw vegetables – carrots, beets, turnips, sprouts, squash, broccoli, bell peppers, red cabbage – can really amp up the health benefits of eating salad. You can even play with different cuts of the vegetables.
One of the greatest benefits of eating salad as part of a healthy diet is that you get to use your imagination. There are certainly common salad pairings, but you are limitless when it comes to getting creative with your salad creations. Enjoy all the health benefits of eating salads while stimulating your appetite for different!
When fresh, local lettuce and greens are in season, you certainly can attest to the importance of having salad in your diet – for health, taste and community reasons. You can support your love for healthy salads and your local market by eating at your favorite restaurants that highlight fresh, local produce. Feast your eyes (and your health) on the wonderful salad options at Ceres Bistro… and enjoy all the benefits of eating salad every day!