how to hack your salads for a better and healthier meal
Researchers at the UCLA /Louisiana State University examined diets of more the 17,500 individuals and discovered that regular salad consumption correlated with increased levels of folic acid, vitamin C and E, lycopene, alpha and beta carotene in the bloodstream.
This study proves salad is a viable source of nutrients. In addition it’s the first to connect increased salad consumption with increased nutrient levels in the blood stream. Nutrients such as folic acid are critical for life.
Our bodies use folic acid to make DNA and RNA. As such its needed for cell division, which we need to survive! The key item to remember is we can not make folic acid on our own, it only comes from our diet. Many salad friendly foods such as spinach, romaine lettuce, broccoli, Garbanzo beans, and carrots are good sources of folic acid.
Knowing that salad is healthy is great but then you have to make it. This is where the hack starts! First lets lay the ground work. While many people love a good crunchy salad we need to remember the reason we're eating a salad and select the right ingredients. A study by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that eating spinach, kale, collards and mustard greens could slow cognitive decline.
The study monitored diets and cognitive abilities of over 950 older adults. During the five year study those who eat the most green leafy vegetables experienced the least cognitive decline. Researchers determined that participants eating at least one daily serving of dark leafy vegetables displayed the mental abilities of a person 11 years younger.
In addition dark green leafy vegetables it might be a good idea to add a hard boiled egg. Researchers have found that consuming a whole cooked egg with mixed vegetables increases nutrient absorbition. This applies to the nutrients in the egg as well as the vegetables.
Knowing why to eat a salad and what to buy is only half the challenge. The most important part is putting this knowledge into action. Finding hacks to simplify the process makes taking action much easier!
Buy several airtight plastic containers. Keeping low oxygen levels in an air tight container keeps it fresh longer. Hack it- Making several salads at once saves time and ensures there is always one ready when you need it.
When buying ingredients look for vacuum packed vegetables. Sucking the oxygen out of the package make the vegetables last longer which means they will have more nutrients. Hack it- don’t under estimate the vacuum seal! This hack will add extra days and nutrients to your salad.
Wash vegetables right before you make the salad. As soon as vegetables are washed the aging process accelerates. Its also important to minimize cutting and chopping as this also accelerates aging. Hack it- buy pre washed in a vacuum sealed bag.
When packing the lettuce in your plastic airtight containers try to separate ingredients as much as possible. Packing up the lettuce in one container, the protein in another and keeping dressing off until you eat it is the best bet.
Try placing a dry paper towel in with the lettuce. It should increase shelf life. While its good idea to make several salads at once don't over do it. Every hack has its limits! Salads prepared with the preceding steps will usually stay good about three days. Make the most of this hack and keep salads on hand for at least one meal a day!