As long as you avoid too many high-calorie or high-fat add-ons and unhealthy dressings, salads can be one of the best meals you can eat. They can also help you stay healthy and do your best to lower your risk of certain cancers. Some salad ingredients are more powerful than others.
“Eating a plant-based diet is the best way to help lower your risk of cancer all year long,” Stacy Kennedy, a senior nutritionist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
We’ve decided to visit the nutrition pros online and see what they think are the best salad ingredients.
Best salad ingredients
Arugula, spinach and romaine: These leafy greens offer a good amount of B vitamin folate. According to Prevention, folate may be able stop changes in DNA that prompt runaway cell growth, the key characteristic of cancer. You weren’t going to use iceberg, were you?
Grapes: Sweeten up your salad and add flavor by slicing a few red grapes and adding them. The skin of the grapes contains resveratrol, which the National Cancer Institute, may be useful in keeping cancer from beginning or spreading.
Tomatoes: Known for mood-boosting properties, tomatoes offer vitamins A, C, and E and they contain lycopene, the antioxidant phytochemical that helps inhibit heart disease.
Avocado: According to Prevention.com, research showed that volunteers who ate salads with 3 tsp. of avocado got 4.3 times as much lutein, 8.3 times as much alpha-carotene, and 13.6 times as much beta-carotene as those who ate salad without it. They can be high in calories, so try to use in place of other high-cal toppings (cheese, etc.).
Beans: Sprinkle on a few beans. According to Everyday Health, beans are high in fiber and are outstanding sources of antioxidants – especially pinto and red kidney beans.
Carrots: They are filled with carotenoids which have many healthy benefits. Harvard researchers have found young women who eat two+ servings of carotenoid-filled fruits and veggies had a 17% lower risk of breast cancer.
Balsamic Vinaigrette: This dressing, used in moderation, can be healthy as well. Livestong says grapes that are used to create balsamic vinegar contain quercetin, a bioflavonoid that works as an antioxidant. Balsamic Vinaigrette can also help with digestion, weight loss and lowering cholesterol.
Have you seen our video on foods that may reduce your risk of cancer?