Salad Steals the Show

Salads provide key nutrients for fighting cancer and lowering heart disease risk. And many dieters cuddle up to salads to reduce calorie intake without sacrificing nourishment. But not all salads are created equal.

Many experts warn against plumping up your leafy dish with unnecessary fat and sugar — a fact not to be taken lightly. But a recent study suggests the health benefits of salads depend more on a nutritional formula than the specific ingredients.

Evidence shows that the body absorbs the antioxidant power of lycopene as well as alpha- and beta-carotenes better when they’re accompanied by a little fat. And while some ranch dressing does the trick, it lacks other substantial benefits. Instead, boost the nutritional union between fat and produce with avocado, egg, or cheese.

While Americans are accustomed to enjoying salad as an opener before the main course, other countries make salad their finale. A pre-entrée salad can control weight by filling you up ahead of time, but some studies suggest that wrapping up your meal with greens can aid digestion and nutrient absorption.

Whatever your preference, give salad a starring role on your plate; your body will applaud.

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