When you think about what the go-to dishes are for healthy eating, odds are that salad is one of the first that comes to mind. It’s so commonplace that it’s become the subject of a wealth of jokes and certain stereotypes. That said, the fact remains that salad has the potential to be immensely healthy for you. But do you know why?
To start, let’s look at the fiber content of salad. A green, vegetable-heavy salad is likely to be an excellent source of fiber. Most of the fiber in lettuce is insoluble fiber, which is the type that adds bulk to the contents of your intestines and keeps things moving smoothly. It also reduces your risk of things like diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and constipation. Including things like avocado, carrots, apples, seeds, and even beans will up the fiber content of your salad and help you get a good balance of both insoluble and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is the type of fiber that helps you feel fuller and helps regulate your blood sugar, reducing your risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Getting enough of both types of fiber is crucial to your health, and salad makes that easier to do.
It’s no secret that getting a healthy helping of various vitamins and minerals is important to your health as well. The thing about produce is that any one thing is generally a good source of just a few vitamins and minerals. In order to get all the nutrients you need, you have to eat a variety of items. That sort of variety is a huge part of what makes a good salad, allowing you to get a variety of nutrients in one dish. And thanks to the low calorie density that most salad ingredients have, you’re looking at a dish that is overall high in nutrients and low in calories, yet leaves you feeling satisfied when you’re done.
Salads are some of the easiest foods to customize. You can adjust them to meet the criteria of just about any diet. Because each ingredient in a salad is added individually, it’s easy to pick and choose what you want included and what you want to skip. That level of customizability also lends itself to making salads a very friendly dish for people who have different allergies. Dressings for the salad may be a different matter, but the customizability of the salad itself is just one more thing that makes it such a good meal for you.
You can, of course, make choices regarding salad that make it a less nutrient-dense dish and more calorie dense. Still, salads offer you a chance to consume a variety of vegetables that help you get the fiber and nutrients your body needs to be healthy. As you make conscious, mindful decisions about the foods you choose to eat, you’ll find that it becomes easier to eat that way and that you prefer the way it makes you feel over other foods you choose to eat.