How to Build a Better Salad for a Healthier, Leaner You

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Eating healthy and/or following a diet plan always includes consuming plenty of fresh green salad. So it would seem to be a no-brainer to just belly up to the salad bar and fill’er up, but it’s not quite that simple, since all food items on the salad bar are not created equal. Certain foods contain compounds that target specific maladies, such as mozzarella cheese will help strengthen bones and peppers will rev up metabolism. Building a better salad by including these ingredients will help you become healthier and leaner.

Mozzarella Strengthens Bones

A one ounce serving (approximately two tablespoons) of shredded mozzarella cheese contains about as much calcium as a six ounce glass of low fat milk, so a cheese topped salad helps build strong bones. An ounce of part-skim mozzarella cheese contains about 80 calories and 3 grams of fat.

Burn More Calories With A Revved Up Metabolism

Jalapenos and chili peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that gives pepper it’s spicy hot zing and revs up your metabolism after eating. One-fourth cup of peppers contains 15 calories, so pile them on when building a salad. Research has shown that people who consume capsaicin-rich peppers or hot sauce consume fewer calories at that meal.

Add Fiber For Heart Health

Fiber lowers cholesterol, which in turn improves heart health, Build a salad with plenty of heart healthy fiber by adding legumes such as chickpeas, black beans kidneys beans and lima beans. As a bonus, the fiber will keep you feeling fuller longer and a half cup of legumes only contains about 120 calories.

Ease Pain With This Salad Ingredient

Toss a few dried cherries on your salad and feel better the rest of the day and sleep better that night. Dried cherries contain anti-inflammatory compounds called anthocyanins, which help alleviate aches and pains. Dried cherries are also rich in melatonin, an antioxidant which improves the quality of sleep. Half cup of dried cherries contain 280 calories.

Protect Eyesight With This Leafy Green

Spinach is not only loaded with fiber, folate, vitamins A and C, this leafy green contains zeaxanthins, compounds that have been proven to protect against macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss as we age.

Boost Immune System

You can build a salad that will boost your immune system and help ward off common viral and bacterial infections like colds and flu. Toss sunflower seeds into the salad mix for a dose of zinc and selenium, minerals that naturally boost the immune system and help ward off illnesses. One-fourth cup of sunflower seeds contains about 190 calories.

Salad Topper That Curbs Snack Urge

A salad topped with slices of skinless chicken breast meat will provide the protein to keep you feeling fuller longer and curb the urge to snack. The protein also builds lean muscle mass which raises metabolism and burns calories faster. Half cup of cooked chicken breast contains 115 calories and less than 3 grams of fat.