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Summer Salads Are a Great Way to Boost Health and Stay Fit

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Summer Salads Are a Great Way to
    Boost Health and Stay Fit
The health benefits of summer salads can be
quite useful to a lot of people, especially
those who engage in activities that easily
drain the strength and reduce the body's
water levels. Summer salads can be found in
many lunch and dinner tables this season as
lots of fresh produce reach their
nutritional peak and impart optimal levels
of health benefits during this time. The
freshest vegetables and fruits of summer can
be deftly and creatively combined to produce
a delicious warm-weather feast for family
and friends alike.
During the summer, the warm and stifling
weather can usually sap energy and water
from people's bodies at a faster pace than
normal. Eating a salad is a good way to
recoup these lost resources while fortifying
the body's defenses against viruses and
bacteria that may cause sickness and other
health challenges.
Summer salad health benefits are typically
derived from the natural chemical substances
that make their health food components
bristle with vivid colors. Among the foods
that can be included in a highly nutritious
and satisfying summer salad include:
Tomatoes - The bright red color of this
fruit betrays its rich lycopene content.
Lycopene is a vital antioxidant that may
help lower the risk of cancer, osteoporosis
and cardiovascular ailments. Additionally,
it may also help maintain skin health as
well as prevent the development of
neurodegenerative ailments.
Carrots - The vivid orange color of this
vegetable signifies its abundant content of
the antioxidant beta-carotene. Its rich
beta-carotene and vitamin A content combine
to make it a powerful ally against problems
of the eye. It is also a potent partner in
the maintenance of colon, lung and heart
health. It is likewise good for maintaining
skin and nail health.
Spinach - This leafy green contains
considerable amounts of vitamin K, vitamin
A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron,
calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium,
and vitamin B6. It is also a very good
source of protein and dietary fiber. This
may help fight cardiovascular ailments by
lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol
levels. It also has anti-inflammatory
properties and may help maintain brain
health.
Lettuce - This leafy green is also a great
source of vitamin C, vitamin K and
chlorophyll. It is believed to help
facilitate good digestion and promote liver
health. It may likewise help lower the risk
of heart disease, strokes and cancer.
Onions - This vegetable has a rich content
of sulfides, sulfoxides, thiosulfinates, and
other odoriferous sulfur compounds. The
World Health Organization (WHO) supports the
use of this vegetable for the treatment of
poor appetite and the prevention of
atherosclerosis. Onion extracts are likewise
recognized by WHO in the treatment of
coughs, colds, asthma and bronchitis.
Apples - This healthy fruit contains many
vitamins and minerals. It contains the
substance pectin that may help lower bad
cholesterol levels as well as help in
lessening the severity of diabetes. It also
contains the antioxidant quercetin that may
help shield against Alzheimer's disease and
other neurodegenerative diseases.
Additionally, the flavonoid phloridzin may
also help protect the bones.
Blueberries - This dark blue fruit is
usually classified as a 'superfood' and this
is because of the abundance of vitamins,
minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients
in its small frame. It is hugely rich in
the antioxidant anthocyanins which helps
strengthen the body's resistance to free
radical damage that usually brings about
serious ailments like cancer and heart
disease. It also has fiber that lowers
cholesterol.
Watermelon - This bright and watery fruit is
also abundant in several antioxidants, most
notably beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene.
These help make the fruit a potent fighter
of oxidative damage that leads to many
chronic illnesses. The fruit is likewise
rich in the amino acid citrulline which
makes the arginine amino acid, which is
beneficial to the heart, the immune system
and the male reproductive system. This fruit
is said to have 92% water content and may
prove quite handy in helping replenish lost
liquids.
Summer salad health benefits can easily be
enhanced by adding protein to the mix.
Adding these body building health foods can
easily transform the salad from a mere side
dish to a full-fledged main course. Salads
are a great way to use up leftover chicken
or steak. Other meats like turkey, tuna,
salami, ham and prosciutto are great too.
Those who want to steer clear from any meat
may substitute beans.
Yellow sweet corn may also be tossed in to
further enrich the mix. Corn adds a
flavorful crunch when it's cut off the cob
and sprinkled into the summer salad. Corn
contains phytonutrients like lutein and
zeaxanthin. It also has ample amounts of
fiber, vitamin B1 and folate that may help
facilitate good digestion and help lower bad
cholesterol levels. These may also help
better control blood sugar.
Nuts are a tasty and healthy addition, too.
Walnuts, almonds or pine nuts are great
choices in adding zing to the summer salad.
Stir these nuts over medium heat until they
turn a shade darker and give off an enticing
aroma.
A healthy salad dressing is key to fully
realizing the summer salad health benefits.
The best oils for salads dressings have high
amounts of monounsaturated fats and low
amounts of omega-6 fats. Of the readily-
available oils, olive oil is probably the
best choice, as it has 73% monounsaturated
fat and 9% omega-6. Olive oil may help
lower the risk of heart disease by improving
related risk factors such as lowering levels
of total cholesterol and low-density
lipoprotein cholesterol. It may also help
normalize blood clotting. Furthermore, some
research shows that monounsaturated fatty
acids may also benefit insulin levels and
improve blood sugar control.
In making these salads, it is important to
thoroughly clean and wash the ingredients so
that bacteria and viruses may be removed. It
is vital that the summer salad health
benefits are not negated by the improper
preparation of the ingredients.
With all the fun and exciting activities
going on, summer is certainly among the best
times to eat. In under 20 minutes, a
nutritious and healthful summer salad can be
produced. Take advantage of the season when
most of these health foods are in full
bloom and give your family and friends a
beneficial and satisfying meal they won't
soon forget.

				
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posted:9/4/2011
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