Saturday, March 17, 2007

Getting the Most Leafy-Green Nutrition Out of Your Salads

Chances are, if you don't know a whole lot about the valuable nutrition of the various types of lettuce, you're buying a bag of pre-mixed lettuce, carrots, and cabbage, dabbing some dressing on it, and calling it a salad. Don't get me wrong, eating a salad of any kind beats a burger in the vita-race hands down. But iceberg lettuce is not the most nutritious lettuce you can offer up in your salads. Iceberg lettuce is mostly water, and does not offer a great deal of nutrition or dietary fiber. However, there are plenty of options to make your salad a gourmet treat, while getting more of the vitamins and fiber your body needs.

There are a great number of colorful varieties of lettuce and leafy greens you can put in your bowl, but some of them offer more vitamins than others. If you want to get the most nutrition out of your salad, try experimenting with the more colorful varieties of lettuce. The general rule of thumb with salad nutrition, is that the more colorful the ingredients in your salad bowl, the more nutrition it will offer. Dark green leafy vegetables offer a great deal of calcium, which is a suitable replacement for the suggested intake of dairy milk.

Romaine lettuce is an emerald green variety that is perfect for a Caesar salad, as well as a great addition to any chicken salads, and tastes great with heavy flavored dressings, such as sesame. You can usually buy Romaine in packages of three oblong heads, and most grocers also offer an alternative organic brand as well. Kale is very dark green, thick, and crisp. It makes an excellent last-minute addition to soups because it holds up well under the heat, and adds a wonderful flavor - great with small pieces of Italian sausage (or vegetarian substitute). Loose-leaf varieties, such as butterleaf, green, and red lettuce, have ruffled edges, and are an excellent lettuce for making dinner salads. Mesclun mixes are available either in pre-mixed bags, or in self-serve bins in the produce section. It usually includes endive, arugula, and chicories, and creates a beautiful mixture of varied greens, reds, and mohagany in your bowl.

For a real treat, try using a combination of lemon juice, sunflower seeds, and raisins instead of salad dressing - it produces a sweet and sour flavor, is low-fat, and compliments the flavor of almost any salad blend. Adding other colorful fruits, vegetables, and natural foods can help pack in the vitamins, protiens, and minerals your body needs to function properly, such as tomatoes, yellow or white corn, kidney beans, avocados, parmesian or cubed cheese, tofu, seeds (sesame and sunflower are delicious!), nuts, sprouts, bell peppers, jalapenos, onions, and garlic are just a few flavorful additions you can add to your creations!


  1. Hi there:

    Kale, is an important leafy vegetable that has a remarkable compound in it: Diindolylmethane-a potent anti-cancer and immune enhancing compound.

    More information about DIM is available below:

    [ Diindolylmethane Information Resource Center at the University of California, Berkeley]

    [ Diindolylmethane (DIM) Immune Support Formula]

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.