10 foods to supercharge your salad
Back away from the iceburg and put down that soggy tomato! Salads should be one of the most nutrient packed dishes that you can have so start incorporating some of these ideas and you’ll soon have a meal that punches way above its weight in healthy goodness.
1) Lemon or lime zest
Don’t make the mistake of throwing away the lemon that you’ve just juiced. The peel of both lemon and lime is the most nutrient rich part, and shows promise stoping the growth of some cancers, protecting against heart disease and fighting bacterial infections. Not only that, the tangy skin contains up to 10x the amount of Vitamin C found in the juice. Make sure that you only use organic though because you don’t want to eat the wax and chemical residues found on conventionally grown fruit.
2) Edible weeds
Edible weeds, which would have been discarded in the past, are making a nutritional comeback. Look for dandelion greens to support your liver, amaranth greens for minerals and protein, and beetroot greens as a rich source of lutein to protect your eyes.
3) Fresh herbs
Most herbs are delicious fresh and eating them raw only helps to preserve their therapeutic activity. Add fresh basil as a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, dill for activating the liver enzyme that neutralises some cancer-causing compounds or parsley as a source of antioxidants as well as vitamins C and K.
Don’t just save berries to use in your breakfast, your body needs nutritional support 24 hours a day so it will always be grateful for the protective antioxidant compounds that these contain. A handful of blueberries will help improve your memory, strawberries reduce spikes in blood sugar levels and raspberries contain a compound which seems to prevent baby fat cells maturing into adult sized ones. Don’t be limited by a lack of fresh or frozen berries, a handful of dried goji berries will still add much needed minerals like selenium and calcium.
Seaweeds are a terrific source of iodine, an essential mineral which is sorely lacking in the modern diet. They have a strong flavour so don’t go overboard but a few sprinkles of dried kelp, arame or wakame will help support your thyroid gland. Seaweeds are also a source of fucoidan, a compound which shows promise with increasing weight loss, protection against certain cancers and activity against viruses.
The health benefits of coconut oil are well known but adding dried shredded or desiccated coconut to your salad will seriously boost the fibre content, making you feeling full for longer and keeping your bowels happy.
Now that we know that most fats are really very good for us, the addition of avocado provides a broad range of nutrients plus its heart-protecting monounsaturated fats help you to absorb the fat soluble compounds in your salad ingredients. Recent research showed that when people had ½ an avocado at lunch, they felt full for much longer and tended to snack less later on in the afternoon.
8) Sundried tomatoes
While fresh tomatoes are still good for you, drying them and adding oil concentrates the antioxidant lycopene. This carotenoid not only helps protect men against prostate cancer, it reduces the sun’s UV damage to the skin.
9) Artichoke hearts
Artichoke is used medically in the treatment of “sluggish” liver through its ability to improve the flow of bile and the breakdown of cholesterol. Adding some fresh or marinated artichoke hearts to your daily salad will help aid digestion and support your liver.
These little guys contain even more omega 3 than their bigger fish cousins, salmon. They’re also high in minerals and so long as you’re eating a healthy, no processed foods kind of diet, they’ll provide a welcome source of the essential electrolyte sodium.
Feeling inspired? Check out the two of the most popular W8less 40 Day Challenge salads below. Just click on the link to see the recipe.
Cauliflower and kale tabbouleh Raw breakfast salad and poached eggs