Salad: Here are 5 varieties you can't do without

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Robert Maurer

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Refreshing and easy to prepare, the salads provide valuable nutrients e few calories, for the benefit of line and health.

«They allow to do the full of fiber, useful for the well-being of the intestine and to keep blood sugar (the level of sugar in the blood) under control ", explains the nutritionist Valentina Schirò, specialist in food science in Palermo. «They have the ability to make you feel full immediately and to prevent hunger pangs, which are responsible for the accumulation of extra pounds », specifies the expert.

Why they are good and how to choose them

«Radicchio, lettuce & Co. ensure lots of water and a great variety of mineral salts (including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron), essential to replenish the liquids lost with sweating and to counteract fatigue and tiredness », continues Dr. Schirò. "I am also aexcellent source of vitamins with antioxidant action, such as A and C, essential for counteracting cellular aging ».

To make sure you are full of all their virtues choose salads made in the country and organic. «They give greater guarantee of quality. At the time of purchase, however, check the freshness of the vegetables: the color of the leaves must be uniform, bright and free of spots and the consistency must be turgid », says the expert.

Better in bulk or in envelopes?

"Compared to the loose ones, the ready-made salads, washed and packaged, they preserve their vitamin and antioxidant content for longer, such as carotenoids », explains nutritionist Valentina Schirò.

On the other hand they are among the products potentially more at risk of bacterial contamination, in particular from Escherichia coli, salmonella and listeria. "To avoid risks, the advice is to wash them carefully under running water before consuming them," warns the expert.

Here you will find a small guide to discover the specific properties of the most common varieties. And the recipes to bring them to the table with taste.

Red chicory: protects the heart

It has a high content of antioxidants, more than blueberries. In particular, it is a mine of polyphenols, which thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties promote the health of blood vessels and protect the cardiovascular system.

To increase his cardioprotective effects combine red radicchio with foods that contain essential fatty acids Omega 3, such as flaxseed oil, and flavonoids, such as strawberries: these are beneficial for heart and circulation health.

The recipe: radicchio and strawberry salad (4 people)
1 head of radicchio, 3 carrots, 300 g of strawberries, 3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of linseed oil and the juice of a fresh lemon. Carefully wash the radicchio and carrots and cut them into strips. Clean the strawberries and after having cut them into small pieces add them to the radicchio and carrots. Before serving, season everything with the two oils and lemon juice.

Rocket: helps lose weight
Contains excellent percentages of Vitamin C and has an extraordinary satiating power. In addition, it is a good source of calcium, a mineral that, according to the American Journal Clinical Nutrition, promotes fat metabolism and has a calming effect on the central nervous system.

Not only that: it provides many fibers that reduce the absorption of sugars in the blood, consequently preventing sudden changes in insulin, also responsible for hunger attacks. Finally, it is an excellent ally of the intestine: it provides inulin, a prebiotic fiber that balances the intestinal bacterial hole by counteracting the proliferation of bad bacteria which, according to the latest studies, also favor weight gain.

To increase its beneficial effects on the line, consume it together with foods rich in probiotics such as yogurt: they increase the number of "good" bacteria and enhance their effectiveness.

The recipe: rocket salad and Greek yogurt (4 people) 
400 g of arugula, 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt, 2 apples, 10 nuts, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil salt.

Cut the apples into cubes. Pour them into a bowl with the chopped walnuts and rocket. Season with yogurt, extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Lettuce: counteracts swelling
It is rich in water and fibers which allow to regulate intestinal transit and promote diuresis, facilitating the elimination of toxins. Also, especially in the darker outer leaves, it contains betacaroteni e quercetin, two antioxidant substances that promote microcirculation and fight water retention.

In addition, it is a concentrate of minerals such as potassium and magnesium, which counteract the accumulation of liquids. For an enhanced anti-swelling action, combine it with foods rich in fatty acids Omega 3, like avocado, and vitamin C, like grapefruit and lemon.

The recipe: lettuce salad with avocado and pink grapefruit (4 people)
A head of lettuce, 1 avocado, 1 pink grapefruit, 1 lemon, extra virgin olive oil, salt.

In a bowl, mix the oil, a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Add the grapefruit and avocado and diced and chopped lettuce leaves. Mix well and serve.

Endive: promotes digestion
Also called "Belgian salad", it is a cultivated variety of wild chicory. It has an action moisturizing: in fact it contains 95% water. It also has many fibers solubles that promote digestion, facilitating intestinal transit.

Moreover, thanks to its bitter taste it stimulates the taste buds, thus stimulating the release of bile and digestive enzymes and promoting the health of the gastrointestinal system.

For a greater digestive action, combine it with foods with a carminative effect such as fennel that counteract the accumulation of intestinal gas, responsible for the swelling of the belly.

The recipe: endive and fennel salad (4 people)
1 head of endive, 2 fennel, 1 head of radicchio, 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds, 5 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice.

Wash and clean the vegetables. Finely slice the fennel and add them to the endive and radicchio cut into strips. Dress with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and sunflower seeds.

Valerianella: overcomes fatigue
Its name derives from the Latin "valere", "to be well and healthy". Also known as soncino, it has excellent properties remineralizzanti that counteract both physical and mental fatigue.

In fact, it provides excellent quantities of minerals such as potassium and magnesium, which help regain vitality, especially in hot weather. Plus, it's a good source of phosphorus which increases stamina and helps you be more snappy.

To enhance its action energizing combine it with oil seeds and dried fruit: thanks to the richness of vitamins, minerals and Omega 3 fatty acids it helps the body even more to deal with stress and fatigue.

The recipe: valerian salad and dried fruit (4 people)
400 g of lamb's lettuce, 4 carrots, 1 melon, 10-15 walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, sesame and sunflower seeds.

Wash the lamb's lettuce and add it to the diced melon and the peeled and julienned carrots. Drizzle with 4-5 teaspoons of oil, lemon juice, sesame and sunflower seeds to taste.

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