By: Nick Thomas
When beginning a new healthy eating routine, one of the meals which is an automatic go-to is usually salad. While this is not a bad idea, it does need to be the right kind of “salad” for it to truly benefit the body. Salad can be a sneaky thing, especially at a restaurant. Some salads can contain just as much, if not more, calories as a big hamburger and plate full of French fries. Salad, in general, can also be incredibly lacking in nutritional value, leading to hunger returning very quickly. However, a fabulous tasting salad can have great nutritional benefit; it is all about which greens are chosen!
A salad made up mostly of the pale green iceberg lettuce will NOT cut it! Throw it out! Build a substantial salad with rich, deep greens like spinach and kale which pack a huge nutritional punch.
These greens both offer an amazing amount of fiber. However, spinach alone provides the iron the body needs to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Another major asset of spinach is the magnesium it provides. Magnesium is a mineral that helps keep things like headaches, muscle cramps, and chronic fatigue at bay. It also helps keep blood sugar levels and thyroid function normal. Finally, potassium is an unexpected component found in spinach, it aids in bone growth and may reduce high blood pressure.
Kale contains a significant amount of immune-boosting vitamin A. It also offers vitamin C and RDI which create a healthy immune system, not to mention a large amount of vitamin K which the body needs to prevent blood clotting and support bone health.
Both of these leafy greens have their own incredible benefits which not only fill the body, but provide immense nutrition for fueling the body. For women who are pregnant or those with high blood pressure, spinach will be the best choice. When suffering from a cold reach for some kale or just grab a bit of both for good measure. Kale is also to be considered as the lesser option for those on blood thinners. As always, nutrition should be tailored to each individual for these type reasons.
Finally, remember not to destroy healthy greens by piling them high with poor toppings. Keep it smart and tasty with some grilled chicken, olive oil and vinegar for dressing, and a few favorite veggies! Not in the mood for salad? Try making a smoothie and adding in a generous handful of these greens; this provides amazing health benefits without the taste.
Remember that food should fuel our body. It is not about how much you eat, it is COMPLETELY about WHAT you eat!
For more information regarding a personalized general or sports nutrition plan contact Prime Performance 423-805-0870.
By: Nick Thomas
Owner of Prime Performance Training, and Certified Sports Nutritionist