Forget the idea of salad as a side dish — today, a big, juicy, nutrient-packed salad takes center stage. You just need plenty of cruciferous greens, colorful veggies, heart-healthy nuts, savory beans, spicy onions, tofu, avocado, berries — and a delicious dressing, of course. Here are five doctor-approved tips for making the best salad ever.
1. Start with the greens — they're super-foods!
This forms the base of your salad, so make it a nutritious one. Five cups of leafy greens, including cruciferous veggies, adds a powerful nutritional punch to your meal. Green vegetables are the healthiest foods on the planet. One of my favorite sayings is "The more you eat green, the more you get lean."
2. Add lots of color.
Green, red, and yellow peppers, as well as tomatoes, berries, and other colorful foods owe their brilliant hues to flavonoids and carotenoids, which are phytochemicals that help defend the body’s tissues against oxidative damage.
3. Don’t forget the onions.
Onions, and other members of the allium family, make everything taste better with their unique flavor profiles. But their most important benefit lies in the anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties of their sulfide compounds – yes, the same ones that make your eyes water.
4. Toss in some beans.
There’s something magical about beans. Not only do they add a satisfying note of starchy creaminess to a salad — beans contain soluble and insoluble fiber and lots of resistant starch. They have anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties.
5. Dress it for success.
Before you dig in to that heaping bowl of fresh vegetables, remember to add in some healthy fats, which will help you absorb the micronutrients in the salad. Eating a healthful dressing that contains nuts and seeds helps dieters feel satiated and reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer.
For a more comprehensive look at Dr. Fuhrman’s Formula for building the perfect salad, download our handy infographic (above). For a complete Fuhrman’s Formula Salad Kit, which includes infographics on creating the perfect salad dressing plus three recipes, click here.
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