Right now, superfoods seem to be more ‘in vogue’ than Anna Wintour (not sure that’s technically correct, but you get the picture). To catch onto that theme, this post is about a salad I whipped up which packs plenty of the superfoods together, and is rich in essential fats, plant proteins, dietary fibre and scrumptious flavour. If Top Gear coined the term Hypercar to refer to an extremely exaggerated high-performing Supercar, then this dish is most definitely a Hyperfood salad. Read MORE to see why each one of the 10 fabulous ingredients will help nourish your body…
Salads aren’t what we think of as ‘adventurous’ unless they’re drenched in rich fatty dressing and garnished with all sorts of salty additions. But ‘purist’ salads don’t need to taste like air, and the following is proof! What’s in the mixing bowl?
1) Organic Curly Kale:
An ultra low calorie leafy base at just 76 cals for a filling 100g, are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, are a fantastic source of iron (crucial to aid liver function and promote cell regeneration), and are packed with more than you find in the equivalent weight of beef! It’s also rich in vitamin K (essential to bone health and with anti-carcinogenic properties) and vitamin C (immune health), and possesses a strong anti-inflammatory effect, weighing in with a glycemic load of just 3 (outrageously low!); it all leaves you remarkably full for something of such minute calorific impact!
2) Fresh Baby Spinach:
My favourite power-leaf packed with goodness. It’s basically an A-Z of mineral wealth: it’s an epic source of protein, contains plenty of magnesium, folate, vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6. It also contains vitamin E, zinc, dietary fibre, copper and phosphorus. And it’s full of selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids. That all means; immune boosting, bone strengthening, vision-improving, blood circulation-enhancing goodness, and much more! And all for a budget of practically 0 calories!
The nutty taste, the buttery texture, the super-high fibrous content (10g per 100g) and the decent protein content too (9g per 100g); they have plenty of iron to boost energy levels, they are low GI (which helps stabilise the blood sugar levels with the soluble fibre) and they lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. It’s best to boil these from fresh where possible (as with the Kidney and Butter beans) to maintain the vitamin levels even higher, but I didn’t get that chance on my shopping trip!
4) Butter Beans: Beans are a fantastic and filling source of high quality vegetable protein with very low saturated fat content, whilst reducing blood cholesterol by decreasing absorption in the colon (one cup = half your daily fibre requirement!). Also called Lima beans, they a fabulous buttery texture, and contain 39% of the folate RDA (helps with DNA synthesis and cell division), as well as 20% of your RDA of Vitamin B1 and 15% of Vitamin B6, along with a host of other minerals which help to metabolise the carbs, protein, and fats in the rest of this salad!
5) Kidney Beans:
The Kidney beans are a great source of cholesterol lowering fibre, both soluble and insoluble. Plenty of Vitamins A & C along with Folate help to complete the line-up.
6) Baby Cherry Tomatoes:
Packed with antioxidants, and boasting a glycaemic load of 1, these little marvels are low in salt and Saturated Fat / Cholesterol. At 18 calories per 100g, they’re also an impossibly good source of Vitamin E, Niacin, Folate, Magnesium, Copper, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Potassium.
Packed with healthy fats and a decent amount of dietary fibre too (27g per 100g), the good monounsaturated fat work wonders for skin, hair, training results and general well being. It also boosts levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, which can help to protect against damage from free radicals. You don’t need to skip fats to lose weight – the body needs them for a range of functions, and avocado is rich in what we need!
8) Fresh Figs:
In season right now, they have a luscious sweet taste and gorgeous texture that totally complements the other tastes in the salad. They’re very high in dietary fibre too, as well as being rich in Potassium (proven to help control higher blood pressure).
9) Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
It adds lubrication to the texture of the salad, along with a rich, earthy taste, but moreover, contains ‘Monounsaturated fat’, which is a “good fat.” It can lower your blood cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease. Beware, it is incredibly calorific, and all the calories come from the fats, so perhaps don’t douse your salad in it. Think drizzle rather than downpour!
Cashews add diversity of texture and taste, as well as more vegetable protein, and essential fats. I also threw in some hazelnuts to this concoction because it’s yet another diversification of flavour!
Mix all together in a big bowl and serve. Voila, Salad Days