So my parents tell me that summer might be on it’s way to the UK?!! They were very excited when they had a day of 19 degrees Celsius last week. Seems like a reasonable winters day in Australia! As it heats up, our bodies often crave lighter foods. Salads can be a great addition to your daily diet, either for lunch or dinner and can be wholesome and nourishing. Gone are the days of just lettuce and tomato to make a salad! Here are five top foods to add to your salad this summer. And don’t forget, most of Australia doesn’t get too cold so make sure you still add salad to your plates over the next few months. Wherever you are in the world, salads are always great, as a main or a side accompaniment.
Cucumbers are low in calories and carbohydrates so are a beneficial food to eat if you are looking to lose weight. Cucumbers are 95% water so are great as a hydration food in the hot weather. This means they are also great for flushing out toxins. Because they are high in water and their skin contains insoluble fibre, they are great for the digestive system. Cucumbers contain good levels of Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting and bone metabolism.
There is a certain buzz around kale for a reason. It is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can find. Kale contains a very high amount of Vitamin A (206% of our recommended daily intake), Vitamin C (134% of our recommended daily intake) and Vitamin K (684% of our recommended daily intake). It also contains good levels of manganese, calcium, potassium and copper. It is full of antioxidants and scientific studies have shown that it can lower cholesterol and help lower the risk of certain cancers.
What about this kale salad for some inspiration?
Quinoa is such a great plant based protein source. Each cup contains 9g protein and not only that but they are a complete protein source, meaning they contain all the amino acids that the body needs but can’t make. Quinoa is also very high in manganese, essential for growth and metabolism as well as brain and nerve function. Quinoa is completely gluten free so a wonderful choice for individuals who are gluten intolerant or suffer from coeliac disease.
Chickpeas contain 11g protein/cup and make a great addition to any salad. They are also high in fibre which is necessary for a healthy digestive system. People who consume diets high in fibre have been shown to have lower incidence of colon cancer and digestive disorders such as diverticular disease. Chickpeas are also great for bone health due to the amount of calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron and zinc.
How about trying this simple chickpea salad?
Walnuts look like a brain and that’s because they are a great brain food (The way Mother Nature works is amazing). They are rich in omega 3 fats especially ALA (Alpha linolenic acid) which is beneficial for heart health. Walnuts are also high in antioxidants. 1 cup of walnuts contains 17.8g of protein which is 36% of our recommended daily intake. Walnuts are also high in vitamins and minerals including magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorous, and B vitamins (folate, thiamine and Vitamin B6). Several scientific studies have also linked walnut consumption to a lower risk of certain cancers. They are also great in salads as a walnut oil dressing.