Power Ingredients for Smarter Salads

Simple add-ins bring fresh tastes, new textures, and an array of nutrients to your plate.

Add to Your Plate

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Add to Your Plate

While the quintessential pairing of ripe tomatoes and lettuce is certainly enjoyable, a good salad can be so much more. Adding fruits, nuts, and other well-chosen ingredients offers a welcome change. More importantly, incorporating a few more nutritious ingredients is an easy way to serve a more healthful dish.

Fruits

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Fruits

All fruit provides abundant good nutrients (vitamin C and potassium, in particular) and a laundry list of disease-fighting chemicals in a package that's naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories. Blueberries contain polyphenol (a phytochemical linked to heart disease and cancer prevention) compounds called anthocyanins and proanthocyanins that may play a role in preserving memory. Grapes also offer polyphenols.

View Recipe: Mesclun with Berries and Sweet Spiced Almonds (pictured)

View Recipe: Mixed Greens with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Nuts and Seeds

Becky Luigart-Stayner

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. Nuts are high in fat, the healthful unsaturated kind.

View Recipe: Arugula, Grape, and Sunflower Seed Salad (pictured)

Tomatoes

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Tomatoes

With plenty of vitamin C, some blood pressure-lowering potassium, and folate, tomatoes also impart the plant chemicals flavonoids (potential cancer fighters) and phytosterols (which may help lower cholesterol).   View Recipe: Summer's Best Garden Salad  (pictured)

Onions

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Onions

Onions are plentiful sources of disease-fighting phenols and flavonoids, both potential cancer fighters and weapons against some chronic diseases. The richer its phenolic and flavonoid content, the better an onion's protective effect, according to Rui Hai Liu, MD, PhD, an associate professor of food science at Cornell University.

  View Recipe: Sautéed Tuna and Green Onion Stalks on Romaine  (pictured)

  View Recipe: Escarole-Arugula Salad with Roasted Peppers and Marinated Onions  

Vegetable Oils

Randy Mayor

Vegetable Oils

Liquid vegetable oils are rich in vitamin E and unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), which don't clog arteries. Olive oil is particularly rich in phenol antioxidants.

  View Recipe: Mixed Herb Salad  

Seafood and Other Proteins

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Seafood and Other Proteins

Fatty fish like salmon or tuna offer omega-3 fats, which help lower the risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association suggests eating at least two three-ounce cooked servings of fish per week.

  View Recipe: Sesame Shrimp Salad  (pictured)

  View Recipe: Southwest Salmon Caesar  

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