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Kick Your Salad Up a Notch

Kick Your Salad Up a Notch

Throwing together a salad for a meal might seem like the most boring idea ever, but your life isn't boring! By adding some special ingredients, you can turn your ho-hum lettuce and carrot combo into a power-packed lunch or dinner. How's that for some exciting healthy living!

Health experts urge green chompers to try fruit, nuts and even seafood the next time they throw together a salad, increasing nutritional benefits and making your meal even tastier! Here's some ideas to craft a healthy get you started:

*Greens. Most leafy greens supply folate, the B vitamin critical to red blood cell health. You will also find vitamin A and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help protect against macular degeneration. Pair the greens with olive oil and the nutrients from luetin will be better absorbed.

*Fruits. Apples, oranges, berries—you name it—add great nutrients to your leafy greens. You'll get vitamin C and potassium, and a load more of disease-fighting chemicals. Try blueberries or grapes, which add polyphenol, a phytochemical that has been shown to prevent heart disease and cancer. What’s more, fruit fiber can help lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce risk of heart disease.

*Nuts and seeds. One-fourth cup of nuts or seeds adds nearly five grams of high-quality protein, as well as generous amounts of vitamin E, fiber, minerals and arginine, a compound that helps blood vessels to function, according to Cooking Light magazine. In addition, a report in Harvard Men's Health Watch showed that as little as two ounces of nuts per week might lower your risk of heart disease.

*Seafood and other proteins. You will find plenty of omega-3 fats in fish, like salmon or tuna. Omega-3 fats have been shown to lower your risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two three-ounce cooked servings of fish per week.

What are your favorite healthy salad combinations? [CNN]

Posted: 5/15/08