Salad days

June 13, 2008

One good thing about hot weather is that it encourages us to eat more healthily. Even if you are not a fan of what my father persistently referred to as ‘rabbit food’, once the temperature rises it is an option that many people look on more favourably. If it’s not one of your personal favourites, could you learn to at least look on it with kindliness as eating just one salad a day really is amazingly good for you.

A study conducted by the UCLA School of Public Health and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center has just revealed that those who eat salads and raw vegetables have considerably higher levels of vitamins C, E, B6, and folic acid — key nutrients in promoting a healthy immune system and reducing the risk of obesity, heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

Just one salad a day goes a long way to meeting the Government’s recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals – and that RDA is well below what any nutritionist would recommend so maybe two salads a day? In the USA, less than 50% of the population meets the daily recommendation for vegetables, and I suspect the Brits are not too far behind them. What is particularly deficient in the average diet are the vital water-soluble vitamins C and B complex which need to be ingested daily as the body does not store them. The raw vegetables in salads provide a good source of these vitamins, plus you get fibre for better digestion and antioxidants for boosting immunity.

Interestingly, clinical trials have shown that adding salad dressing increases the absorption of certain nutrients which require oil to be fully metabolised – these include A, D, E and K. Choose olive oil or omega 3 and 6 oils from flax seed or a similar source for the most benefit.


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