By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
A vibrant, nutrient-packed salad is one of the best ways to get fruits and veggies (and much more!) into your diet. There are endless unique ways to create delicious salads that can be a side dish or stand on their own as a satisfying meal. Here are some of our favorite, colorful, and vitamin-rich salad recipes!
Salads can be an easy and fun way to get more of these in your diet:
- healthy fats
- quality proteins
When it comes to a great salad, variety and lots of color are key! Don’t be shy. You can really pack a nutritional punch by adding these types of goodies to your salads:
- fruit (fresh or dried)
- seafood (sardines, anchovies, and salmon)
- whole grains (quinoa, barley, bulgar)
Choice of salad dressing is important, and can make or break your salad: an otherwise healthy salad can become polluted with the wrong dressing. If you depend on cheap, store bought dressings, you are likely consuming low quality oils (soybean, canola), artificial flavors, colorings, and preservatives. Making homemade dressing may seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually a really simple process. All you need is a great bottle of extra-virgin olive oil, a nice vinegar, some typical household seasonings, and minute or two of your time. Give some of the dressings in the recipes below a try, and I bet you’ll be happy with your creations – your heart and waist will also thank you!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – The Best Salad Topper
Using extra-virgin olive oil in dressings and to drizzle on top of raw (or cooked) veggies are two of my favorite ways to use it. I prefer using it as a topper on dishes as opposed to cooking with it, because doing so preserves the healthful components of the oil such as:
- monounsaturated fatty acids, linked in experiments to beneficial effects against cancer cells as well as to support healthy blood pressure;
- antioxidants like oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, which are known to support cardiovascular health and have protective actions against metabolic disorders;
- polyphenols, which can support healthy HDL cholesterol and improve its ability to remove cholesterol from arterial plaque.
Enjoy These Easy and Fun Recipes!
You can find even more heart-healthy recipes at Vervana.
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