Eating salad almost every day may be one of the most healthy eating habits you can adopt — and one of the simplest, experts say. Eating salads is a super-convenient way to work in a couple of servings of vegetables and/or fruit. Green salads are on the menu of almost every restaurant.
Making one simple change to your diet – adding a salad almost every day – can pay off with plenty of health benefits.
Eating salads is a super-convenient way to work in a couple of servings of vegetables and/or fruit. Green salads are on the menu of almost every restaurant. You can even buy a side salad (with Romaine lettuce, carrots and tomatoes, available with fat-free or reduced-calorie salad dressing) for a buck at many fast food chains these days. And you can make a green salad at home in 5 minutes, armed with a bag of pre-washed salad greens, a few carrots or other veggies, and a bottle of light salad dressing.
Not only that, but salads are cool, crunchy, and fun to eat (lots of textures, colors, and flavors). Most people enjoy eating salads–even kids! You can customize them to include the fruits and vegetables that appeal to you the most, and whichever ones you have on hand.
If you frequently eat green salads, you’ll likely have higher blood levels of a host of powerful antioxidants (vitamin C and E, folic acid, lycopene, and alpha- and beta-carotene,) especially if your salad includes some raw vegetables. Antioxidants are substances that help protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.
For years, researchers have noted a link between eating lots of fruits and vegetables and lower risks of many diseases, particularly cancer. Studies from the National Cancer Institute suggest that people whose diets are rich in fruits and vegetables may have a lower risk of developing cancers of the head and neck — even those who smoke and drink heavily. Foods found to be particularly protective include beans and peas, string beans, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, apples, nectarines, peaches, plums, pears, and strawberries.
If you dress your salad with a little olive oil, there may even be some additional years in it for you. Italian research on people aged 60 and older has suggested that a diet that includes plenty of olive oil and raw vegetables is linked to reduced mortality.