The ultimate healthy summer salad

woman enthusiastically making salad

Use any combination of these 10 tasty ingredients for the ultimate healthy meal...

Avocado

This delicious salad staple is high in essential fats for healthy skin and monounsaturates that lower cholesterol. They are also one of the best sources of vitamin E – half an avocado provides 80 per cent of a woman’s daily recommended intake of this vitamin, which is important for a healthy heart and immune system.

Pomegranate

According to recent research, pomegranates have a higher antioxidant capacity than other juices, red wine and even green tea. This makes them good potential candidates for protecting against heart disease and cancer. The seeds taste great simply tossed over a salad or added to a dressing.

Watercress

Half a standard bag (40g) of this salad leaf supplies almost ten per cent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium, 40 per cent of the RDA of vitamin C, plus iron, folic acid and betacarotene. It’s a member of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family, which also includes cabbage and broccoli.

Shiitake mushrooms

One of the ‘super’ mushrooms, shiitake are revered in the Far East for their immune-boosting properties. The fresh mushrooms may help lower cholesterol, and they taste great lightly fried and sliced into a salad.

Roasted cherry tomatoes

Drizzling with olive oil and roasting in the oven brings out the flavour of baby tomatoes, and also increases the amount of the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene.

Pine nuts

A handful supplies more than ten per cent of the RDA of zinc (essential for healthy skin and immune and reproductive systems). They also supply another great boost of vitamin E and ten per cent of your RDA of iron.

Red onion

Sweet-tasting red onions provide high levels of quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant that’s believed to help quell inflammation and allergic reactions. Sliced red onion is perfect tossed into salads during the hay fever season.

Walnuts

Walnuts contain a vegetarian alternative to the heart-healthy omega-3s found in oily fish. The nuts can lower blood cholesterol and are also a good source of pantothenic acid – a B vitamin essential for energy release and to help bolster against the effects of stress.

Rocket

Half a bag (40g) of this leaf supplies over a sixth of the RDA of the vitamin folate, which is essential in pregnancy, and eight per cent of the RDA of bone-building calcium. These, and other deep green leaves, also supply good amounts of the minerals magnesium and iron.

Grated carrot

This vegetable is packed with betacarotene, which has an important role to play in fighting the free radicals that contribute to disease. You’ll need to drizzle oil dressing over it to absorb more of this fat-soluble vitamin, though.

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