dimanche, novembre 22, 2009

When it comes to your health, not all salads are created equal. In fact, many takeout and restaurant salads are essentially calorie bombs disguised as health food—drenched in creamy, caloric dressings and missing key nutrients with powerful disease-fighting potential. Next time you make your own salad, here’s exactly what to include for maximum health benefits—and taste.

1. Start with dark, leafy greens
For the healthiest salad foundation, stick with a mix of spinach, arugula, and romaine. They contain a hefty amount of the B vitamin folate, which has been shown to reduce the risk of getting colorectal, ovarian and breast cancers. In one study, researchers at Vanderbilt University found that women who ate the mostly dark greens were among the least likely to get breast cancer. Apparently, folate can halt changes in DNA that trigger runaway cell growth, the main characteristic of cancer.

Add shredded carrot
If you’re already using this salad staple, good! If not, embrace your inner rabbit and make it a must-eat. In a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, women who ate just five servings of four raw carrot sticks a week had a 54 percent decrease in their risk of getting ovarian cancer, compared with women who ate them less than once a month. Carrots may also reduce your risk of kidney cancer.

Slice up some tomatoes
Not only do tomatoes add juicy flavor, their powerful lycopene—the plant chemical that gives them their color—is a major cancer enemy. German research on 165 colonoscopy patients found that those who had the lowest blood levels of lycopene had the highest rate of colorectal adenomas, a precursor to colorectal cancer. Toss a few tomatoes into your guy’s salad: They also reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
For an even healthier lunch, buy orange tomatoes. Research shows that they provide more lycopene than their red-hued relatives do.

Heap on beans
A variety of beans, like black, white, kidney, etc., will fortify your salad with craving-quenching protein and some tasty texture, which c
an help bust a “salads are boring” lunch rut. Even better, women who ate beans at least twice a week were 24 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who ate them less often, report Harvard School of Public Health researchers who analyzed data from 90,630 people. Legumes may lessen risk of breast cancer, thanks to their ability to suppress the production of enzymes that encourage tumor growth.

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