In autumn and winter, we most often choose fruit and vegetables in the form of preserves and frozen foods. Therefore, when summer begins and more fresh products appear in stores and stalls, it is worth betting on salads prepared on their basis. They are simple and quick to make, and at the same time, enrich our menu with dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols.
A properly balanced diet cannot lack vegetables and fruit. They are a source of ingredients that ensure the proper functioning of the body, and also reduce the risk of some diseases (including cancer, type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases). Let’s see what these ingredients are.
It is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system. The consumption of vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin C strengthens our immunity. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, which reduces the risk of colds, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. The rich sources of vitamin C include:
Summer salads are a good source of vitamin C because they are usually made from raw vegetables and fruits, which contain more of this nutrient than cooked foods.
Beta-carotene, in other words, provitamin-A, like vitamin C, belongs to the antioxidants that protect our cells against the harmful effects of free radicals. The right amount of beta-carotene in a holiday menu is also important because it protects our skin against the undesirable effects of long-term exposure to sunlight. Products rich in this valuable ingredient include, among others:
Folates occupy a special place in the diet of women planning a child and pregnant women because their deficiency increases the risk of neural tube defects. In addition, folates are necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system and circulation. Good sources of folate include:
Potassium is a mineral that plays a very important role in the holiday menu because it is responsible for the proper functioning of the water and electrolyte balance. We can find it in products such as apricots, parsley, new potatoes.
Not only are milk and fermented dairy products good sources of calcium, but also vegetables and fruit. People who follow a vegan or lactose-free diet should pay special attention to holiday salads based on vegetables and fruit rich in this element. These include, for example, green beans, kale, Brussels sprouts, savoy cabbage, Chinese cabbage, and apricots.
Summer salads are best prepared from raw vegetables and fruit. If you need to cook vegetables, you should remember that they should not be overcooked (steaming will be a good solution). Below are some ideas for delicious summer holiday salads that we will prepare in just a few minutes.
In order to increase the nutritional value of vegetable salads, it is worth adding vegetable oils (e.g. linseed oil rich in omega-3 acids), as well as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds (providing, among others, zinc and B vitamins). If we want them to be more filling, we can also add groats (e.g., unroasted buckwheat, millet), quinoa, or brown rice. In turn, an excellent complement to fruit salads will be almonds, chia seeds, nuts (e.g. hazelnuts rich in calcium and/or Italian rich in omega-3 acids), bran, as well as cereals and millet.
Before autumn comes, and the tables are filled with frozen or processed vegetables and fruit, it is worth taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the holiday period. Not only are fresh vegetables and fruits delicious, but they also help to keep your body hydrated during the holiday season. In addition, they help maintain a healthy body weight and are a source of valuable vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols.
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