When it comes to the crunch...

When it comes to the crunch...

Healthy SaladThe term ‘salad’ has come a long way from being coined in an iconic phrase by William Shakespeare in his memorable writing. The term was coined to represent the rawness of youth, the intoxication of heady flavours and the innocence of herbs. It is till date, a sensual combination of fresh, succulent morsels that manages to bring back the mystery and fun in food.

Be it cake, or chicken soup or vegetable gravy that my family eats today, chances are that the recipe was handed down to me by my mother, who in turn got it from her’s, and so on.

Other than adjusting spices or measurement, these recipes leave little room for imagination. But the salad, well... it’s different.

Take the joy of putting many diverse ingredients together, the surprise and mystery of the rich taste, the rich moistness of the dressing, the flavours of the season, and you will come close to understanding the joys of salad making.

The wonderful part of this aspect of food making is that you don’t need to be a certified chef or a good cook, not even an average cook.

All you need is some imagination, some fresh seasonal vegetables, fruits, meat or fish and some tasty dressing, that is available in a myriad flavours. Put them together, toss them and then simply let the flavours overwhelm your senses.

Other than taste and simplicity, a salad offers many health benefits. It is a healthy mixture or concoction of freshness, nutrients and good health.

In an era where lives are paced too fast and pursuits of healthy eating and good health are relegated to the background, salads are one of the simplest and healthiest of foods.

By adding your choice of vegetables, you can have a nutritious and a quick meal at any time of the day.

Salads increase daily intake of good fibre, which results in better management of cholesterol and constipation.

It is also recommended for healthy weight loss, contributing to necessary nutrition, fullness and low glycemic index of the entire meal. Since salads are filling, eating one prior to the main course will reduce the number of calories you may end up consuming.

In a new study, researchers at UCLA and Louisiana State University say its fine to go ahead and indulge at the salad bar because “rabbit food” is nutritious for people too!

Comparing dietary data on more than 17,500 men and women, the study finds that the consumption of salad and raw vegetables correlates proportionately with higher concentrations of folic acid, vitamins C and E, lycopene and alpha and beta carotene in the bloodstream.

Published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the study also suggests that each serving of salad consumed correlates with a 165 per cent higher likelihood of meeting recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for Vitamin C in women and 119 per cent greater likelihood in men.

The dressing is an important part of a salad. While you can eat your salad without any dressing, adding some would not only make it taste better, but would allow for the nutrients in the salad to be absorbed better by your body.

Salads are also great conversation starters and ice breakers when you throw a party. All you need is some exotic ingredients, a delicious dip and voila, there you go!

You could also fashion it as a game with your loved one – a blindfold, a crunchy fresh salad sprinkled with mysterious stuff – some sweet, some salty or simply some spicy, and a game of sensuous tasting...

It does not matter whether you are a vegetarian, an ‘egg’etarian or a meat lover; or whether you eat it as a health food, filler, a full meal or as a game. There are salads to meet your every need.

Just rustle them up, fresh from your grocer or chilled from your fridge, add some delicious dressing, sit back and close your eyes and let the salad fill you with a simple, wholesome sense of well-being and happiness.