Salads are the quintessential health food. For most people, salads might be the only way that they receive fresh, raw vegetables. And if they are done properly, they truly can be a great way for you to improve your health. However, there are mistakes that people make when preparing or consuming a salad that can greatly reduce its health benefits. Four of the most common mistakes are discussed below.
Using Non-Organic Greens and Produce
Buying organic can be more expensive – but it can also be worth it. This adds to the health of the salad in two different but important ways. First, most organic produce actually has a high nutritional value than its nonorganic counterparts, so you are getting more of what is good for you in every bite – namely, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other helpful plant-based compounds. Perhaps even more importantly, you are avoiding contamination with pesticide residues from conventionally raised foods that have been linked to hormonal disorders, neurological problems and even some forms of cancer.
Pouring On Commercial Dressings
The most common mistake that people make with their salads is putting on a commercial salad dressing that is high in saturated fat, simple carbohydrates or both. Most commercial dressings are full of Omega-6 fatty acids (NOT the healthy Omega-3’s) and high fructose corn syrup or other ingredients that seriously erode the health value of the salad. A great way to avoid this is to make your own healthy salad dressing, such as a basic vinaigrette of olive oil whipped together with either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
Adding Too Much Protein
Let’s state to begin with that protein is NOT a bad thing. It is necessary for building muscles, keeping the bones strong and keeping many hormones in balance. And adding healthy sources of protein like nuts, seeds, organic eggs or organic dairy products to your salad make it into a proper meal and help you fill up and not feel hungry right after eating. However, eating too much protein – a common problem in America – can indeed help build muscle but can also put you at risk for some forms of cancer and can be hard on your kidneys as well.
Not Utilizing Ingredients with Flavor
Let’s face it: what attracts many people to saturated fats, salt and sugar is the fact that is tastes good. If you are not able to come up with healthy and tasty alternatives to the processed foods that are so much a part of the American diet, chances are you are not going to be able to stick with your healthy choices. Adding flavor in the form of herbs and beneficial fats like olive oil or avocadoes will make it easier for you to live healthy because you are eating foods that are flavorful and appealing.
So the next time you think about making a salad, considering using organic produce with it and adding moderate amounts of high quality protein and healthy fats as well as homemade salad dressing to truly give your body the nutrients it deserves.
More by Christine . S