1. A Natural Source of Fiber
Your leafy greens and raw veggies are a superb source of natural fiber, and consuming enough fiber each day has several health advantages:
1. Fiber helps to reduce LDL or "bad" cholesterol.
2. It helps to control blood sugar.
3. Adequate fiber intake helps with weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.
4. It normalizes bowel movements, and aids in the prevention of bowel disease.
5. Proper fiber intake has been shown to reduce the recurrence and prevention of a number of cancers including colorectal, breast, mouth, throat and esophagus.
2. Nutritional Benefits of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
The idea that fresh vegetables and fruits are essential to our good health and well-being isn't anything we haven’t heard before.
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems.
It’s important to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, in as many different colors as possible.
Loaded with vitamins and minerals, eating a salad a day will also increase the level of powerful antioxidants in your blood.
The basis of any salad, leafy greens, offer a huge nutritional benefit.
Among the best of the super greens group are: kale, spinach, beet greens, watercress and Romaine lettuce.
This includes produce with orange, purple, red and burgundy flesh.
Some examples are tomatoes, red and orange peppers, carrots, strawberries, nectarines, peaches, plums, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and pomegranates.
Carotenoids are a class of compounds synthesized from the yellow, orange and red pigments of plants.
This includes vitamin A and all its varied compound forms: beta carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
3. Load up on Salads for Weight Control
Eating a fiber-rich salad before your entree will help you to feel full faster, so you'll consume less calories than you might when a meal is served without this appetizer.
The more raw vegetables you can incorporate into your salad, the greater the potential positive effects will be.
4. A Daily Salad Will Aid Your Intake of Healthy Fats
Add a couple of tablespoons of mixed raw or roasted seeds like pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and ground flax or chia to boost your daily intake of good fats.
Slicing a quarter of an avocado and adding it to your greens will also give you a boost.
These foods also help the body to absorb all of the protective compounds, phytochemicals, and lutein.
Adding a healthy fat to your salad via the dressing, or by adding healthy raw nuts or avocado will also make it more filling, as fats are among the most satiating.
5. Build Strong Bones
Low vitamin K levels have been linked with low bone mineral density in women.
For healthy bone growth, a recommended full daily serving can be found in just 1 cup of watercress (100%), radicchio (120%) or spinach (170%).
6. Improve Muscle Performance
Well, it turns out Popeye knew his stuff.
The nutrients found in spinach not only help to build strong bones, they also help to improve the performance of the mitochondria little structures inside our cells that help to produce energy, as well as inform and power our muscles.
7. Protect Your Heart
Romaine lettuce contains two key nutrients in significant levels that help to protect the heart muscle: folate and fiber. High levels of folate have been shown to assist in the prevention of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
8. Improves Skin Tone
The high levels of water found in salad veggies improves hydration in our bodies, which is necessary for youthful skin tone and various basic bodily functions.
Protein for Salads
If your salad is going to be your main course, make it a balanced meal with the addition of some lean protein. Good quality protein sources for serving with your greens include tofu, eggs, tuna, salmon, prawns (shrimp), nuts and seeds, lean chicken and turkey, as well as low-fat cheeses, cottage cheese and yogurt.