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Salads: A World of Variety

Healthy dietary lifestyles are chosen by people for variety of reasons. Healthy diets are often beneficial for weight management, prevention or management of illness, improved energy or sleep habits or toward maintaining current levels of health. The word “salad” comes from the French, salade of the same meaning, from the Latin salata (salty), from sal (salt)” –Wikipedia

Salad is a cold dish consisting mainly of a mixture of raw vegetables, whole, sliced, chopped, or in pieces, usually served with a dressing for flavour, or a cold dish consisting of a particular type of food such as a single vegetable or a selection of fruit, and served usually with a dressing. Many other ingredients may be incorporated into a salad, which can be served as a separate course or as an accompaniment to other food.

Eating raw fruits and vegetables will keep you feeling better. You’ll look fit, become healthier and live longer. Interestingly, clinical trials have shown that adding salad dressing to a salad not only adds a delicious flavor, but also increases the absorption of certain nutrients being consumed. “It’s not just the leafy greens and vegetables that are doing a body good, some fat can also enhance the absorption of nutrients such as lycopene and alpha- and beta-carotene” (Dr. Lenore Arab)

Fresh fruit and vegetables are delicious, so mixing them in an array of different combinations to create a salad ensures exciting meals. Salads have varied textures, shapes, sizes and colours which make them visually appealing and satisfying. Leafy green vegetables are nutrient-rich because leaves contain the light-catching, energy-converting machinery of plants. Salads add fibre to the diet which reduces cholesterol and constipation.

Salads are healthier than we think; they 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 (antioxidants that help protect against cancer and heart disease), iron (maintain healthy blood) and many other vitamins and minerals. The raw fruits and vegetables in a salad also are antioxidants. Research has also shown that people who consume plenty of raw vegetables and good fat (olive oil) have a reduced mortality. Leafy vegetables are a good choice for a healthful diet because they do not contain cholesterol and are naturally low in calories and sodium.

Salads come in different types: vegetable salad, green salad, bound salad, main course salads, fruit salads, dessert salads, and a host of others.

Health Benefits of Eating Salad

1. It sharpens your eyesight: spinach and red leaf lettuce contain loads of the carotenoids vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin—key to seeing better. Vitamin A helps eyes adapt from bright light to darkness. Lutein and zeaxanthin can help filter out high-energy light that may cause eye damage from free radicals.

2. It prevents chronic disease like cancer and heart diseases: many of the health benefits that leafy greens provide come from phytonutrients, unique compounds that provide protection for plants. Phytonutrients can act as antioxidants, which help to prevent chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

3. It reduces risk of diabetes: chronic magnesium deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and the development of insulin resistance. Two cups (500 ml) of spinach contain 16 percent of your daily magnesium needs.

4. Lettuce, spinach, and other salad greens are an important part of a healthy diet because they can be year-round sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and other nutrients.

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. There is no end to the number of recipes for salads and dressings.

The only limiting factor is your mind. Start with fresh greens like spinach and add a variety of colourful vegetables. Health is wealth. Eat Healthy.

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