Everyone knows salads are diet food. Yet a heavy hand with dressing will increase the calorie count of even the healthiest salad. Still, eaten before a meal, a salad can take the edge off hunger, while filling your stomach with its bulk. This should curb your appetite enough to modulate overindulgence for the rest of the meal.
Though Romaine provides decent nutrition, iceberg lettuce does not, so to make the ultimate fat-fighting salad, use plenty of leafy greens. Wonderfully flavored greens like raddichio, arugula, endive, chicory, and escarole make a salad stand out in taste and nutrition. Some greens back up their fat-fighting bulk with a decent amount of fiber. When fighting off pounds, fiber can curb your appetite by filling you up faster.
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating about 2 cups of vegetables each day. It takes two cups of raw greens to equal one cup of veggies, according to the Guidelines.
The darker the color of the salad green, the more nutritious it is. Beta-carotene is the chief disease-fighting nutrient found in the darker-colored greens. As an antioxidant, it battles certain cancers, heart disease, and cataracts. A dark-green color also indicates the presence of folic acid, which helps prevent neural-tube birth defects in the beginning stages of pregnancy. Researchers are uncovering other important contributions folic acid has to offer to your well-being, like its role in the prevention of heart disease and inflammation. Most salad greens are also notable sources of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Chicory is a good source of vitamin C, another antioxidant nutrient linked to prevention of heart disease, cancer, and cataracts. Some salad greens, including arugula and watercress, are members of the cruciferous family, adding more ammunition to the fight against cancer.