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Yes, we are all very aware that salad is an extremely healthy meal. But what exactly do all of the ingredients in even the simplest of leafy delights do for your body and brain?
Even if you’re making the most basic salad of lettuce, tomato, onion, carrots, and cucumbers (and maybe the odd hard-boiled egg), there are plenty of significant health benefits attached. (Disclaimer: Eating salad once a day might change your life for the better—depending especially on what you’d been eating before that—but it won’t make all of the following happen for you like magic…obviously.)
1. Helps Reduce Stress
Thiamine, which can be found in iceberg lettuce, for instance, has been known to help the human body cope with daily stressors. Also known as vitamin B1, it builds up the immune system and is even referred as an “anti-stress” vitamin.
2. Helps You Sleep Better
The body makes melatonin to help put you to sleep at the proper times (surely you’ve heard of melatonin as an alternative to possibly addictive sleeping pills). Vitamin B6 aids in the creation of this hormone, and it’s found in lettuce and carrots, among other salad components.
3. May Reduce the Risk of Cancer*
Pharmaceutical companies are actually studying cucumbers (yes, cucumbers) in coming up with possible cancer treatments. Phytonutrients in the watery vegetable help our intestines turn bacteria into molecules that bind to estrogen receptors, which can help in protecting people from cancer associated with various sex-related organs (uterus, ovary, breast, even prostate).
*I put this in because, I mean, really—everything these days is either potentially cancerous or potentially helpful in fighting it.
4. Helps Prevent “Burning Feet”
Add a hard-boiled egg to your salad to get extra Riboflavin, which can get rid of that burning feet sensation often linked to people with diabetes.
5. …and “Restless Legs”
Meanwhile, restless leg (when you, say, can’t fall asleep because your legs just feel…uncomfortable) is often caused by iron deficiency, which lettuce has got covered.
6. Helps Prevent Bloating
Thank tomatoes for helping you out, here. The fruit (no vegetable, no fruit!) has got choline, which, among other great things, helps absorb fat. It also helps out with long-term inflammation, which is normally the body’s way to help heal, but can get pretty harmful when it doesn’t go away.
7. Equips with Night Vision
8. Helps Heal Infections
Starting in ancient cultures (Greek, Roman, Egyptian…), people believed in the onion’s healing powers. They’re still thought to aid in the likes of ear and toothaches. However, cooking them may rid them of many of these abilities…which is why raw in salads is the way to go (where else would you find raw onions but a salad?).
9. Promotes Heart Health
Carrots, like other root vegetables, especially those in the bright colors of orange and yellow, have a special ability to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
10. Helps Make You Sharper
Maybe not exactly, but vitamin B12 in that hard-boiled egg and the iron in the likes of lettuce both help the brain via the blood. Pumping blood is how the brain gets the oxygen it needs in order to function best, after all.
11. Helps Keep Hair, Skin, and Nails…Youthful
Biotin and the B vitamins found in nearly all of these basic salad ingredients help strengthen the above parts of the human body. It helps keep skin soft and elastic with (good) fats, while studies have “shown” its ability to increase hair volume and strength…though I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.