Medical & Health5 Surprising Benefits Of Salads

5 Surprising Benefits Of Salads

 Author, Vineetha Reddy

Picture this – your breakfast is a cup of coffee, and your mid-meal snacks are packaged energy bars. Your lunch is a sandwich that you grab at a café down the road and dinner is a hamburger with three mugs of beer. Sound familiar? Well then, irritable bowel movements, saggy skin, a protruding belly, poor work performance and lack of concentration must sound like your everyday story too! It’s a universally known fact that the impact of your erratic dietary choices and lifestyle can be seen directly on your overall wellbeing and health. As age catches up with you, your immune function faces a greater brunt of a bad diet. If you think your body is finding it hard to catch up with today’s fast paced lifestyle, a wholesome bowl of salad  is what will give your system a jump start every day.

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Here are five astounding benefits of salads:

1. Salads Are Mood Enhancers – Depression is one of the most common mental conditions that over 350 million people are affected by today, according to the World Health Organization. Whether the stress is related to your work or personal life, anxiety and depression can play havoc with all aspects of your well-being, not just your emotional and mental health. While foods high in sugar and starch may uplift your mood temporarily, their long-term effects are all the more detrimental. Salads that contain omega-3 fat-rich ingredients such as leafy greens, beans, nuts, olive oil, etc. help fight symptoms of depression in adults and kids alike, a CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics study reports. Adding complex carbs like quinoa to your salad also helps prevent anxiety and depression by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Now you know what to reach out for in place of a pastry when you’re down in the dumps!

2. They Keep You Fit – Bothered about your ever-growing waistline? Enjoying one helping of salad before your meals may help you get rid of that extra flab you’re trying to lose! When eaten before meals, salads help induce the feeling of fullness, thereby causing you to eat lesser during your main meal. Doing this can help in weight management, a study by the Journal of American Diabetics Association suggests. The high fiber content of salads also helps improve bowel movements and its low-calorie content makes it a healthy source of energy-giving nutrients. Salads have a low-glycemic index that prevents immediate blood-sugar spikes, thus keeping you full for long.

3. They Give Your Grey Matter A Boost – Occasional bouts of memory loss and lack of focus is common, given the number of people we meet and the tasks we do each day. However, if this becomes a routine occurrence, you need to give your brain a regular dose of the food it needs, i.e., salads! Common salad ingredients such as cabbage and broccoli are rich in vitamin K, a nutrient that helps fight age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Spinach, another favorite ingredient in salads contains lutein, an antioxidant that also fights cognitive decline. Nuts like almonds help lower the levels of enzymes that break down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that boosts focus and attention. Walnuts help boost the brain’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Make sure to munch onto that nutty-green salad to keep your brain sharp!

4. They Help Fight The Age Clock – If you think your skin has lost its color, plumpness and texture earlier than it should have, maybe anti-aging creams aren’t the best solution to help you address the root of the problem. Salads are natural sources of anti-aging antioxidants such as vitamins C, A and E. Vitamin C (leafy greens, bell peppers) boosts the production of skin’s structural protein called collagen that makes the skin firmer and reduces signs of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A (carrots, cantaloupe) also reduces the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots. Vitamin E (nuts, sunflower seeds) is a natural emollient that helps lock in skin’s moisture and prevents dryness. These antioxidants also help fight other age-related conditions caused due to oxidative damage such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Salads that contain vegetables and fruits with high water content like cucumber also help keep you hydrated, apart from improving skin and hair health!

5. They Fight Infections – Falling sick every second day? Your immune system is clearly not in its best shape! Indulging in a colorful vegetable salad every day will do wonders to give your immune system a boost. Bright colored veggies like carrots, red and yellow peppers and squash contain the carotenoid beta-carotene. Beta carotene supports the mucous membrane that lines the respiratory and intestinal tract. It thus makes it tough for bacteria to enter the bloodstream and create havoc. Veggies like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard contain high doses of vitamin C, another essential immunity booster. Mushrooms contain zinc, a mineral that boosts the production of pathogen-fighting WBCs.
Hope these facts encourage you to embrace the goodness of nature and enrich your life with the wholesomeness of salads!  If you are ready to start having salads every day, here are  29 Salad in a Mason Jar Recipes. The nice thing about these salads is that they are meant to be in mason jars which makes them perfect for taking to work but you can also serve them from a bowl at home.

Author Bio: Vineetha Reddy
Being a regular practitioner and adviser of everything related to nutrition, fitness, health and wellness, I also have begun to write and contribute to this knowledge ecosystem. I strongly believe that the organic food you find in your pantry provide the best benefits for good health. Follow me for my best ideas and solutions:
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