Scientific fact: eating salad will make you live forever. Okay, that might not be true. The truth is, salads can be amazing vehicles for eating a bunch of healthy things all at once. They only work properly if you know what to put in them though. Loading them up with cheeses, croutons and creamy dressings do more harm then good (sorry, Caesar). So what are the best things to throw in your salad? Well, superfoods, of course! Here are the best ingredients to add to your salad to make it the super-est.
Red leaf lettuce
We’re all a little obsessed with kale, but red leaf lettuce might actually be better for you. It has a higher ORAC value (which just means it’s high in anti-oxidants). Plus, if you have too much kale, you might mess with your calcium levels (too much of a good thing). Nutritionists suggest that the base of your salad be a variety of greens so you can get the benefits of all of them.
Basil and oregano aren’t just for pasta sauce. They have anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties that you’re not going to want to miss out on. You can add full fresh leaves to your salad, or chop them up if you don’t want a mouthful of basil.
Ah, yes, the second-most-popular superfood next to kale (as far as we’re concerned). Rich in protein, fibre, iron, magnesium and other good stuff, why wouldn’t you want those little beads of joy in your salad? Just remember to soak it overnight to get rid of the phytic acid which can block the absorption of minerals in the body. You should actually soak all your grains overnight before you cook them because they are all coated in that ‘anti-nutrient.’
Let’s add a little colour. Beets are great for cleansing your liver and add a unique taste. If you don’t want chunks of them in your salad, you could also mash them up in the quinoa for the health benefits and colour without the unusual texture.
Tomatoes are so common that we forget that they’re actually a great superfood too. They’re packed with vitamin c and the anti-oxidant lycopene, and are great for lowering cholesterol and fighting cancer. Load ’em up.
Sprouts, especially bitter ones, are great at cleansing the body and taking care of build-ups. Get a mix that includes things like bitter sprouts, dandelion greens, radicchio, arugula and watercress. If it’s bitter, it means it’s working.
We don’t mean the overly-salted ones here, we don’t want to undo all our hard work. There’s so much flavourful stuff in this salad already, you won’t even notice if your pumpkin seeds are unsalted. The seeds contain a lot of zinc (great for the skin), magnesium and plant-based omega-3 fats.
Everybody loves avocados, right? Work that healthy source of fat and potassium into your salad by adding it straight or using avocado oil as the oil component of your dressing.
Side note: olive oil has health benefits too.
Apple cider vinegar
We know we should all have fermented foods in our diet and vinegar covers that (also, your dressing would be pretty boring without a vinegar component). Apple cider vinegar is good for killing bacteria in the body, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol and may even protect against cancer (they’re still researching that one though).
Every good salad needs a little protein. Try adding tuna or hemp seeds as a lighter source of protein (and a little something different).
A flower? What? Garnish the whole thing off with an edible nasturtium flower (not if you’re pregnant though). These peppery-tasting flowers are high in vitamin c, a natural antibiotic and can block you from developing colds. Plus, they’re pretty and it will feel like you’re eating your super salad at a five-star restaurant.
Now dig in and feel your body healing, detoxing and getting stronger immediately.