Did you know that eating salads is the easiest and yummiest way to incorporate more fruit and vegetables into your diet?

Not only are salads easy to make, they can also be found at nearly every restaurant, grocery store, and fast-food chain. This will help you to maintain your health and even shed some pounds in the process.

5 reasons why salads rock

Here are five awesome benefits of eating more salad.

1. Lots of fiber

Fiber helps you to stay regular and flattens your stomach. Did you know that eating more fiber also lowers your cholesterol, and helps you to feel fuller for longer? All of these things help you to lose weight. Try adding some chickpeas or other beans to your salad for an extra fiber boost.

2. Health benefits galore

We all know that doctors recommend people consume for dark, leafy greens and bright colored vegetables. And that’s just what most salads are made of! In fact, nutrient-rich plant foods contribute to overall health since they’re jam packed with antioxidants that help to fight free-radicals and inflammation. What is more, if you eat more fruits and vegetables in general, you’ll lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. Salad foods rich in nutrients include peas, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, apples, nectarines, peaches, plums, pears, and strawberries.

3. Weight loss

Salad greens and veggies are naturally lower in calories than most foods. And they help you to feel full, so you won’t want to overeat. In fact, if you eat a salad right before a main course, studies have shown that you’ll eat less. When it comes to salads, bigger is better; but this means more veggies and fewer fatty add-ons like dressings and nuts.

4. Healthy fats

Drizzle your salad with olive oil and throw on some nuts like almonds or hazelnuts, or some avocados. In fact, adding some healthy fats to your salad can actually help your body absorb protective phytochemicals better — up to eight times more alpha-carotene and thirteen times more beta-carotene, both of which protect against cancer and heart disease.

5. Increased protein intake

Protein is great for building muscles, and it helps you to stay fuller for longer, especially if you combine it with fiber and healthy fats. Try adding some grilled chicken, canned tuna, chickpeas, or marinated tofu on your salad for an instant protein boost.

3 great salad recipes

1. Quinoa, smoked salmon, and beet salad

Time: 15 minutes

This salad is filled with fiber, protein, and antioxidants, all of which help you to feel satiated.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cubed pumpernickel bread
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 8 oz. cooked quinoa
  • 6 ounces salad greens
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon
  • 5 oz. cooked beets

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a bowl, drizzle the bread with olive oil
  • Toss to coat
  • Place bread cubes on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 12 minutes
  • In second bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, horseradish, and mustard
  • In a third bowl, mix the quinoa with one tablespoon oil
  • Arrange the salad greens on a plate
  • Sprinkle the quinoa mixture over them
  • Arrange the salmon over the salad
  • Top with beets and the croutons
  • Drizzle with olive oil

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2. Shrimp and arugula salad

Time: 20 minutes

This salad is filled with healthy fats, proteins, and antioxidants.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups arugula
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 15 large shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions

  • Combine the arugula, bell peppers, and carrots in a large bowl and set aside
  • Add 2 tablespoons oil to a pan
  • Add the pepper, rosemary, and garlic
  • Cook for a few minutes
  • Add the shrimp
  • Sauté for 6 minutes
  • Remove shrimp from the pan
  • Add the oil and vinegar
  • Cook for 20 seconds
  • Drizzle the mixture over the arugula mixture
  • Top with shrimp

3. Romaine salad

Time: 10 minutes

This salad is perfect for vegetarians. Add some tofu or chickpeas to it for an extra boost of protein.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 6 cups romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons goat cheese

Directions

  • Combine the first eight ingredients into a large bowl
  • Add the lettuce, dried cranberries, and goat cheese
  • Toss to coat

References

  1. "6 Health Benefits of Salad Greens," Best Health, May 1, 2011.
  2. "10 Healthy Benefits of Eating Salads," San Diego Healthy Living, February 8, 2013.
  3. "12 Salads Worse Than a Big Mac," Shape, December 16, 2015.
  4. "What Are the Benefits of Eating Salads?," LiveStrong, March 29, 2014.

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