If you’re going to make a meal out of salad, you might as well load it up with as many raw veggies, nutrient-rich greens and healthy superfoods as possible to reap nutritional benefits. We love superfoods so much because they have more nutrient, vitamin and antioxidant content than other foods. Here are five superfoods you should be adding to your salad.
Putting ripe, raw avocado slices on top of a salad adds a delicious, creamy taste to all that crunch of the veggies. Avocado also packs heart-healthy fats. A ½ cup serving of slices avocado provides 10.5 grams of fat and 5 grams of dietary fiber. You can also try making it into a dressing. Mix it with cucumber, lemon, garlic, lemon powder, cilantro, onion and salt in this Avocado-Cucumber dressing.
Nuts can easily be stored on the shelf, bought in bulk to save money, and give a salad that final touch of crunch. Try walnuts, which will provide an energy boost and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that raise good HDL cholesterol and lower bad LDL cholesterol. About a quarter cup of walnuts provides about 90 percent of your recommended daily intake of omega-3s. Plus, their buttery, softer texture works so well with greens and raw veggies.
Freshly steamed lentils atop cool, crisp lettuce is deliciously and texturally satisfying. One cup of lentils has 230 calories, 18 grams of protein and only one gram of fat. Throw lentils on your regular salad or try making this vegan protein source the star of the bowl in this Spicy Lentil Salad. Or, use lentils in this BLT Salad with Super Secret Dressing.
Putting bright red beets atop dark, leafy greens will beautify your salad and your body. Aside from their gorgeous color, beets contain phytonutrients called betalains, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification properties. Try them in Quinoa and Beet Salad with Hazelnuts, Kale and Golden Beet Salad, or grill them and use in Grilled Beet Salad with Almonds and Dried Cranberries.
Broccoli may not be as foreign or exotic-sounding of a superfood as maqui and acai berries, but it shouldn’t be discredited. This superfood is very nutritious, fairly cheap and available at any grocery store. Nutritionally speaking, broccoli contains potassium, soluble fiber, vitamin C and the antioxidant pigmantes beta-carotene, quercetin, which fight free-radicals, reduce one’s cancer risk, and promote overall good health, immune system, nutrient absorption and vitality. Enjoy some broccoli in this Superfood Salad – Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Chickpeas, Kale, Sprouts and Seeds.
Try making a salad with all of these ingredients for a burst of protein, color that varies in taste, texture and nutritional content.