The benefits of salad

Health: which salad in my basket?

The salad: diet, but not only! The salad is composed of 95% water and has only 15Kcal/100g. It’s hard to find a lighter food! But satisfying us without weighing on the scales is not its only asset. She also gives us…

– A great richness in fiber: essential to ensure good transit, detoxify the body, nourish the microbiota well (and prevent the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria), slow down the glycemic load and quickly bring satiety.

– A wealth of vitamins and minerals: in particular vitamin B9 (folic acid), essential for cell renewal, cardiovascular protection, mood and memory disorders; and vitamin C necessary for immune defences. On the mineral side, it is mainly home to calcium and iron.

– A good supply of antioxidants: in particular carotenoids and more specifically lutein and zeaxanthin, essential for eye health. But also anti-cancer phenolic compounds.

Each season has its own salad!

There are 2000 varieties of salad in the world, about 250 in France. To better enjoy their benefits, the ideal is of course to taste them in the right season. The PNNS* reminds us that three large families allow us to vary the pleasures all year round:

– Chicory, from October to February: escarole, curly red or green, chicory or chicory… appreciated for their slight bitterness

– Lettuces, from May to September: sucrine, red mullet, iceberg, batavia, oak leaves, romaine… These are the most consumed

– Small salads, from October to April: lamb’s lettuce, watercress, arugula, purslane, dandelions, sorrel, baby spinach, mesclun…

Not all salads are created equal…

Whatever it is, salad should be included with every meal. But besides seasonality, here is what you need to know to do your market well:

– The least interesting: the iceberg. This type of very white lettuce found in commercial sandwiches is the least nutritious. For example, it contains 10 times less carotenoids than curly.

– Best: All salads are good to eat. But some are higher in antioxidants (red or green curly), richer in calcium (romaine) or richer in vitamin C (lamb’s lettuce). Hence the interest of juggling different varieties. Note that small salads are particularly rich in good nutrients from all sides.

– Those subject to precautions: small salads. Bursting with benefits, they can sometimes be irritating to sensitive intestines especially to Fodmaps and cause bloating. In this family, it is better to avoid dandelion (king of detox) and prefer lamb’s lettuce, which is much softer and better tolerated.

How to properly eat your salad

To do us good on the inside, a salad must be beautiful on the outside: no yellowed or withered leaves but firm and well-coloured, a sign of the presence of very long-lived antioxidant pigments. Then remains to:

– Wash it well: strip it and let it soak for a few minutes in cold water with white vinegar. This is to remove potential traces of germs and pesticides. Ditto for the salad in a bag (practical, but not very ecological) to eliminate traces of chlorine.

– Keep it well: Wipe the leaves well, place them in a cool bowl protected with cling film.

– Season it well: lipids allow a better assimilation of nutrients. It is therefore not necessary to ban the oil from the vinaigrette. But choose it well: rapeseed oil (rich in omega-3) or olive oil (vitamin E) rather than peanut or sunflower oil, rich in omega-6 already too present in the rest of the diet. But beware, whatever its nature, 1 tablespoon of oil = 90Kcal, so no abuse!

– Taste it well: preferably as a starter because the salad then lowers the glycemic load of the meal to follow. And its satiating effect due to its high fiber content, avoids eating more than necessary.

Thanks to Dr Pierre Nys, endocrinologist-nutritionist, author of “New Anti-Diabetes GI Diet”, ed. Leduc.s. And the recommendations of the PNNS* ( )

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