Snap the stems, tear the leaves, chop them in bits and toss them all. Add some seasonings, and some dressings and its ready to get devoured. That’s the good old salad! Oozing with natural juices, nutrition, and taste, the salad has finally started gaining its much-deserved importance in recent times, thanks to the nutritional experts and increasing health awareness. The nutrition in green salad can be enhanced by choosing the right combination of greens. And the potential question here is — Are the green salads that we eat truly nutritious and healthy?
Here is a list of super-healthy greens that are extremely nutritious for your health….
It beats all other greens in the antioxidant and roughage score. High in vitamins A, C and K, kale is a little high in calories, but also provides calcium, iron, and potassium in good quantities. The phytonutrients in kale help in fighting away the free radicals that can lead to fatal diseases. Wash it well and serve it steamed, boiled or raw in your choice of salad. Put in some nuts for the extra health punch.
This classic vegetable can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled or added to any curry, bread or roll; it will not only taste divine but do loads to increase the nutritional value of the food. Great for pregnant women and the fetus, spinach contains folate, in addition to vitamins A, K, C, and fiber. The darker the leaves, the more nutritious they are. And the most amazing thing about this salad green is that cooked spinach is always more nutritious than the raw leaves.
Hailing from the beet family and sharing its bright pink color, Swiss chard contains calcium, iron, and vitamins A, K, and C. This salad is best eaten with a combination of greens to enhance the nutritional content. Swiss chard tastes great when sautéed, and it also contains oxalate which reduces to an extent on cooking.
Watercress is a highly undervalued salad green and used just for garnishing in most cases. The vitamin A and K content of this vegetable are noteworthy, and it also contains some amount of vitamin C. Its nutrients like vitamin K are essential for the blood and bone health.
Romaine/Green and Red Leaf:
Researchers say that the darker the leaf, the higher its antioxidant and nutrient content. Hence, the red leaf scores the best, followed by romaine and then the other leaf lettuce variety. These leaves contain vitamins A and K, and also some amounts of fiber and folate. Mix all these varieties in your salad to make a colorful, appealing dish, but do add some high nutrition veggies like spinach, cabbage, broccoli, etc.
Cabbage contains huge amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C. They are available in red and green varieties and can be cooked or added raw to salads. The cancer-fighting compounds in cabbage make it a hearty choice for adding it in salads.
This peppery green does have its share of vitamins like A and C, iron and calcium, but it has to be mixed with other greens to boost its antioxidant quotient.
Though low in calorie count, these popular salad greens are not actually very healthy. These are high in water content and maintain the electrolyte balance in the body. A common ingredient in burgers and tacos, it would be a good idea to add the darker greens with the iceberg lettuce to the diet for more nutrition.
Having studied the various nutrition in green salad in detail; it is evident that the dark green leaves are the winners. They absorb more sunlight and are therefore denser in nutritional value. Kale is definitely the super power followed closely by chard and spinach. Though the lettuce family lags behind, they are still popular due to their crunchy flavor and buttery tastes. The best option to increase the nutrition in a green salad is to toss up a variety of the greens, add some oil, nuts, tangy pieces of fruit, skip the mayo, and eat a bowlful of these healthy greens.