A simple salad can become a super meal, chock full of superfoods that offer a ton of physical and mental benefits. While most salads will contain the traditional salad base–green, leafy vegetables being the most common ingredient–it is possible to dress up your salad in new ways to make it even better for your health.
This root vegetable is making its comeback because of its abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It gets credit for helping to fight disease and strengthen vital organs. Its pigments, called betalains, may be responsible for helping to prevent cancer and other degenerative diseases.
While blueberries are commonly thought of as a “sweet” addition, they can go quite well with a savory dish as well. Blueberries are considered nutritional superstars as they contain fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Including blueberries in your diet has been shown to help prevent cancer and improve memory.
Broccoli is quickly becoming a popular green vegetable for health as it is packed with vitamins, minerals, and essential fiber. It also has high levels of vitamin C and folate, which has been shown to reduce risk for certain diseases like cancer, as well as conditions of the heart. If you haven’t tried broccoli sprouts, that’s another great alternative that will provide you with the same nutrients in smaller servings.
Even though we often think of cranberries as harvest-time produce, they can provide health benefits all year round. Cranberries fight bacteria and inflammation, especially in cases where ulcers, yeast infections, or bladder infections are present; reduce the risk of heart disease; improve oral health; and may even help prevent and fight cancer!
If you’re looking for a new leafy green vegetable to add to your salad, choose kale. Kale is one of the most talked-about superfoods, and for good reason! With more nutritional density than nearly any other leafy green out there, kale provides more antioxidants than most produce and also contains fiber, calcium, and iron. If you don’t like it raw, it can be baked into “chips” for a unique salad topping.
This tiny pseudo-grain is a great addition to a cold salad as it provides you with all nine essential amino acids that can only be supplemented to our bodies via diet, as well as about 8 grams of protein per one cup serving. Quinoa has a slightly nutty flavor that can be paired well with both sweet and savory dishes. If you’ve never had quinoa, it has a similar texture to rice or couscous, although the individual seeds are smaller. Since it does not contain gluten or gliadin, it can be consumed by even the most health-conscious consumers on special diets.
There are so many health benefits to consuming this heart-healthy fish. Salmon, especially wild-caught salmon, which can be found at most grocery stores, is packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids which are a necessary ingredient in a nutrient-dense diet. Omega-3s are supposed to help reduce risk for cardiovascular disease. They can also be found in a few other foods like walnuts, flax seeds, and some leafy vegetables.
What are your favorite superfoods to add to your salad for maximum benefits?
“Superfoods You Need Now” from Health.com