A sublime salad A perfect, crisp salad made from freshly picked vegetables, either bought or cultivated yourself is always one of the healthiest options at any time. We all enjoy the texture and flavor of a delicious fresh salad but what is more important is that vegetables, consumed in this way, raw, are the healthiest form of nutrition. Vegetables are, of course, packed with all the necessary nutrients for a healthy body including vitamins, minerals, fiber and anti-oxidants, and according to medical experts the consumption of fruits and vegetables is promoted to avoid the occurrence of many illnesses including cancer and heart diseases. An increased intake of fruits and vegetables in the daily diet can also be most effective in lowering blood pressure. A publicised eating plan called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) advises the avoidance of fats and foods that are high in sugar and the inclusion of fruits, vegetables, pulses, nuts and low fat substitutes for dairy products. Another body, namely the The American Institute for Cancer Research endorses this advice and strongly suggests that processed meats are cut out altogether because of the risk of cancer attached to this type of food. Overall, increasing fruits and vegetables into your daily diet is beneficial. If fresh vegetables are not available then the next best thing would be vegetables that are frozen. Canned vegetables should be eaten only as an alternative to fresh or frozen.
Ingredients that are high in fat or calories should be totally avoided when creating a fresh salad as part of a healthy diet. For example, such items such as cheese, salad dressings that are high in calories, croutons, bacon bits etc., should be eliminated altogether.
A healthy salad can be enjoyed by replacing these high calorie fat laden ingredients with low fat or fat free alternatives. The healthiest option for salad dressing is a classic vinaigrette. The ingredients to avoid when creating a nutritious healthy salad are those that have a high fat and calorie content, for example, dressings that are rich in fats and salt, mayonnaise based salads such as coleslaw, croutons, pasta, cheese, unless low fat, and bacon bits. You can always substitute a classic oil and vinegar dressing or choose a dressing that has no fat content at all. A healthy salad should contain a combination of fresh produce such as salad greens, which come in many varieties, sweet tomatoes, citrus fruits, dried fruits such as raisins, nuts, cucumber and zucchini or squash. If you are creating a salad that does not include either meat, poultry or fish you may like to add some protein in the form of eggs or hummus for extra flavour and nutrition.
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