Have you had your salad today? Eating salad almost every day may be one of the most healthy eating habits you can adopt — and one of the simplest, experts say Not only that, but salads are cool, crunchy, and fun to eat (lots of textures, colors, and flavors). Most people enjoy eating salads–even kids! You can customize them to include the fruits and vegetables that appeal to you the most, and whichever ones you have on hand.
Here are four health reasons to reach for a salad today:
1. Eat Salads for the Fiber
It’s hard to believe that something we can’t even digest can be so good for us! Eating a high-fiber diet can help lower cholesterol levels and prevent constipation.
Not only that, says Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetric Eating Plan, eating more fiber can help you feel fuller, eat less, and ultimately lose weight.
2. Eat Salads for the Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
Many experts agree that we need to eat more fruits and vegetables (especially dark green and orange vegetables) and legumes — all popular salad ingredients. David Jacobs, PhD, professor of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, says in an email interview that there is plenty of evidence that nutrient-rich plant foods contribute to overall health.
3. Eat Salads to Cut Calories and Increase Satisfaction
If losing weight is your goal, you may want to start your meals with a green salad. Studies have shown that eating a low-calorie first course, like a green salad of 150 calories or less, enhances satiety (feelings of fullness) and reduces the total number of calories eaten during the meal.
4. Eat Salads to Get Smart Fats
Eating a little good fat (like the monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, avocado and nuts) with your vegetables appears to help your body absorb protective phytochemicals, like lycopene from tomatoes and lutein from dark green vegetables.A recent study from Ohio State University measured how well phytochemicals were absorbed by the body after people ate a salad of lettuce, carrot, and spinach, with or without 2 1/2 tablespoons of avocado. The avocado-eaters absorbed eight times more alpha-carotene and more than 13 times more beta-carotene (both of which are thought to help protect against cancer and heart disease) than the group eating salads without avocado.