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5 Ingredients that will send your salad into nutrient overdrive

Holistic Nutritionist & Health Coach, Kelly LeVeque launched beWELL to help individuals find wellness through fitness & nutrition. NSCA Certified Personal Trainer & Yoga Instructor

There are so many fun and interesting ways to bring vitamins, nutrients and protein to your salad that go beyond grilled chicken. Here are some of my favorite ways to give your salad an unexpected boost of nutrition and creativity!

After recently attending an event celebrating the launch of Ocean Spray's new cranberry extract water, PACt(TM), I was so inspired by small and easy ways to bring better health in to your life, every day.

Microgreens

Image: .imelda/Flickr

Not to be confused with 48-hour-grown sprouts, microgreens are grown in soil and sunlight for at least seven days. These medicinal baby leaves were found to contain four to six times more nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plant. The U.S. Department of Agriculture researched 25 varieties of microgreens and found this increased average across the board from vitamin C and vitamin E to beta carotene.

Coldwater fish

Image: sean dreilinger/Flickr

A great source of protein and healthy fat, cold water fish like herring, salmon, mackerel or sardines are easily added to your salad from a can. At BeWELL, we suggest starting with wild salmon and moving on to sardines. Sardines are one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and provide three times your need for B12. If you find it hard to stomach sardines, any of the above listed fish above (fresh or canned in water) will hydrate your cells with omega-3 while lowering your triglycerides and cholesterol levels.

Herbs

Image: Chiot's Run/Flickr

Herbs are a fresh way to add flavor to a salad and support natural daily detoxification. Add parsley if you indulged in excess holiday libations; this strong liver detoxifier helps keep toxins from exiting the skin. Did you just finish a course of antibiotics or binge on tuna sashimi? Cilantro chelates heavy metals and reduces cellular toxins. If stocking fresh herbs in your fridge is a chore, try adding a few shakes of ground turmeric, cayenne or ginger to spice up your salad, these herbs have been shown to squelch inflammation, speed up your metabolism and support digestion, respectively.

Fermented vegetables

Image: Veganbaking.net/Flickr

Fermented vegetables are potent detoxifiers and contain much higher levels of probiotics than probiotic supplements, making them ideal for optimizing your gut flora. The increase in beneficial gut bacteria and fiber in the vegetables to feed the live bacteria perform a number of functions, including supporting mineral absorption, and producing nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin K2. Furthermore, together vitamin K2 and vitamin D are necessary for integrating calcium into your bones and keeping it out of your arteries, thereby reducing your risk for coronary artery disease and stroke. Healthy gut bacteria is also linked to preventing obesity and diabetes, regulating dietary fat absorption, lowering your risk for cancer and preventing acne.

MCT oil dressing

Image: Meal Makeover Moms/Flickr

For an even better dressing switch out your canola and olive oil for pure Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). Occurring predominantly in butter, red palm and coconut oil, this light-yellow, odorless, translucent oil is comprised of primarily caprylic and capric fatty acids. It has a range of positive health benefits from increased energy to candida, weight and appetite control. Because MCTs are converted into fuel for immediate use by organs and muscles they are less likely to be stored as fat. Furthermore, they have been shown to enhance thermogenesis and produce ketones, two ways our body burns excess fat.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Ocean Spray(R) and SheKnows. All opinions are my own.

Image: Kelly Leveque
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