May is National Salad Month! Let's celebrate by eating more salads! If you are trying to eat healthier, salad is often our "go to" when ordering at a restaurant. It sounds healthy, right?
Restaurant entree salads are not always the best choice. Some can weigh in at over 1100 calories! Read the description carefully: fried chicken? In a salad? Really?
Watch for salads loaded with bacon, cheese, dried fruit, and croutons. Opt for one of two of these delicious add- ins—not all of them.
And then there is the dressing! I often eat salads and have struggled with the dressing dilemma. I tried the low fat bottled dressings and did not like them; in fact, I quit salads altogether back in the low fat diet craze days. Now there is new research suggesting that in order to get all the nutrients from the veggies in your salad, you need to use dressing that contains oil. This is great news for me—I love a good vinegar and oil dressing.
An article, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cited research done by Wendy White, an associate professor in food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University. White's study suggests eating salad greens and vegetables with added fat—in the form of soybean oil—enhances the absorption of various micronutrients that promote human health.
The study indicated that salad vegetables dressed with oil aided in the absorption of several micronutrients: alpha and beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene; two forms of vitamin E and vitamin K; and vitamin A. White said better absorption of these nutrients promotes a range of health benefits, including cancer prevention and eyesight preservation.
This is great news for salad lovers, but be careful not to overdue a good thing. The average adult needs approximately 2 tablespoons of fat each day—so enjoy your salad dressed with vinegar and oil—but do not make the lettuce float!