Spring is often used as a metaphor for youth. So is the term "salad days." With foliage opening all around the world is colored with many shades of green. And when I think of greens I'm reminded that the edible kind are essential to maintaining good health and keeping our minds and bodies as youthful as possible. My thoughts come full circle with a salad. Eating one with mixed greens is an easy way to get lots of good nutrition into the body.
Here's a quick recipe for good health.
Mixed Green Salad
Start with some chopped Romaine lettuce. It contains both beta-carotene and vitamin C, which work together as antioxidants to keep plaque from forming in your artery walls and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. It's also full of fiber that helps remove bile salts from the body. And if that isn't enough, Romaine is a good source of potassium, which helps reduce high blood pressure, and another heart-smart B vitamin, folic acid. It tastes good too!
Add some fresh Spinach leaves. Along with this vegetable's antioxidant contents, which include vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium-all of which help protect the heart-comes cancer-preventative properties. Researchers believe that the flavonoids found in spinach help prevent against stomach cancers, some skin cancers, some aggressive prostate cancers, and may possibly aid in reducing the growth of some breast cancers. Spinach is also believed to help prevent age-related macular degeneration. And the vitamin K in this deep green leaf helps to maintain bone health. No wonder Popeye loved his spinach!
Throw in a little Arugula for nutty flavor and good health. It adds interesting texture and flavor, and is also packed with antioxidant vitamins C, K, and A, which help boost the immune system. But, that's not all! Arugula is also a good source of iron, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K.
Spice it up with some chopped fresh Basil. This anise-flavored herb is rich in vitamin A and also contains some oils, which are believed to aid in reducing inflammation and bacteria.
And top it off with a few Broccoli florets. Since it is high in potassium broccoli helps keep your nervous system healthy and your brain function sharp. Like the green leafy vegetables in this salad, it too contains vitamins C and K. It's rich in magnesium that works with the calcium and potassium to help regulate the nervous system. And also contains glucoraphanin which is believed to help repair skin damaged from the sun.
Sprinkle shelled, roasted Sunflower seeds on top for added flavor and a little cell-building protein.
Then, shake up a healthy vinaigrette of:
1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Tbls Honey
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
Toss the desired amount into the salad and enjoy a heart-smart serving. It's guaranteed to put a spring into your step.