Rainbow salad: Packed with nutrients, stays crunchy, & ready to eat for the entire work week
"Rainbow salad" is a great way to prepare a nutrient dense salad that stays crunchy and ready to eat for the entire work week. Many salads get soggy after storing overnight and you're unlikely eat a soggy salad. Also when you're on the go with little time to prepare your lunch for work odds are you're not going to prepare a healthy salad. Preparing a delicious healthy batch of salad for your work week ahead of time is the best way to ensure you consume enough vegetables. Many major medical societies endorse eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and often use the term "eat the rainbow" which means to consume a wide variety of plant based foods of different colors (1). Consuming a wide variety of plant based foods will enable the individual to sample from hundreds of phytochemicals that may help to offset an increased risk of chronic diseases (1,2). Plant based foods contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and most importantly phytonutrients that help prevent chronic illnesses (1-4). Research has shown that different colors of plant based foods offer a different set of health benefits (1,3,4). Also, eating a wide variety of plant based foods can benefit your mental health (5).
Consuming a wide variety of plant based foods will enable the individual to sample from hundreds of phytochemicals that may help to offset an increased risk of chronic diseases
Your favorite dressing (avoid creamy high calorie dressings. I used a tahini dressing)
Garbanzo beans ( or your favorite white bean )
Pickled beats, chopped (removes the earthiness of the beats)
Brussels sprouts, chopped
Yellow pepper, chopped
Tomatoes (grape tomato or similar)
Watch the video for visual details, essentially place each ingredient in equal layers
First add dressing to large mason jar for the bottom layer (or similar container)
Then add your beans which should fill above the level of the dressing
Add chopped beats
Add chopped sprouts
Add chopped yellow pepper
Add shredded carrots
Add sliced tomatoes
Place in refrigerator until ready to eat (max 5 days)
When ready to eat your salad simply shake up the mason jar so the dressing mixes well and pour out your salad
What's the bottom line
Eating a wide variety of colors of plant based foods is a good way to get a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients into your diet and help protect you against chronic illness (1-4). The "rainbow salad" highlighted above is only a template for this type of approach. I encourage you to make your own salad using ingredients you enjoy. Here I will review some of the beneficial properties of each component in "rainbow salad".
Beets are rich in vitamins and minerals such as folate, manganese, potassium, iron, & vitamin C (6). Beets are also rich source of phytochemicals such as carotenoids, phenolic acids, flavonoids, betacyanins, and nitrates which have a variety of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and vascular-protective effects (6,7). Beets have been found to improve blood pressure (6-8) and improve athletic performance (6,9,10).
Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 (11-14). Also brussels sprouts are high in fiber which is great for gut health (11-14). Brussels sprouts have anti-inflammatory properties (15) likely derived from their content of phenolic compounds and flavonoids (16). Also, studies have shown that they may protect against certain cancers (17,18).
Yellow bell peppers are a good source of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, potassium, folate, vitamin E, and vitamin A (19). Yellow peppers have many phytochemicals including beta-carotenes, lycopene, and phenols (20). Research indicates that bell peppers are good for eye health (21).
Carrots are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin K, biotin, and potassium (22). Carrots have many phytonutrients including alpha & beta carotene (23), lutein (24), p
olyacetylenes (25), phenols (26), and ascorbic acid (26). Carrots have several health benefits including protection against certain cancers including breast, colon, prostate, and stomach cancers (27-30). Research has also shown that carrots are good for eye health (31).
Tomatoes are high in folate, vitamin K, potassium, and vitamin C (32). Tomatoes abundant in phytonutrients including lycopene (33) and flavonoids (1,34). Consumption of tomatoes is linked to improved vascular health (35-37) and protection against certain cancers (38-41).
Go ahead and make your own rainbow salad to help keep you on track with eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Preparing a salad ahead of time will increase your odds of being compliant with a healthy diet. Also, If you eat a wide variety of whole foods then you shouldn't have to take artificial supplements and vitamins since a variety of nutritious food provides all the vitamins and minerals your body needs and more!
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