Eating just one salad a day provides even greater health benefits than previously thought, according to a study that examined salad consumption by more than 17,000 adults . The study, conducted by the UCLA School of Public Health and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, supported by The Association for Dressings & Sauces, revealed that those who eat salads and raw vegetables with salad dressing have considerably higher levels of vitamins C, E, B6, and folic acid—key nutrients in promoting a healthy immune system and reducing the risk of obesity, heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
'Eating a salad a day is a convenient way to easily improve your nutritional status,' said Dr. Lenore Arab, professor of epidemiology at UCLA School of Public Health and lead researcher of the study, titled "Salad and Raw Vegetable Consumption and Nutritional Status in the Adult US Population". 'Just one salad daily helps to satisfy the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends eating two and a half cups of vegetables each day for a 2000-calorie diet.'
According to the study, less than 50% of the US population meets the daily recommendation for vegetables necessary for healthy living. Americans do not get enough of the water-soluble vitamins of which salads are a rich source. The raw vegetables in salads also offer the added benefits of fiber for better digestion and antioxidants for boosting immunity.
Interestingly, clinical trials have shown that adding salad dressing to a salad not only adds a delicious flavor, but also increases the absorption of certain nutrients being consumed. It's not just the leafy greens and vegetables that are doing a body good, said Arab. 'Some fat can also enhance the absorption of nutrients such as lycopene and alpha- and beta-carotene.'