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The Best Healthy Salad Recipes – Bernard Jensen & The Rainbow Salad

Most people by now know that what you eat on a day-to-day basis is going to have a significant influence on your health and well-being. Eat the wrong foods, and you will feel the effects of this. Eat the right foods, however, and you’ll be experiencing endless energy and improved moods, and, best of all,

Close up of a variety of salad greens

One very smart man named Bernard Jensen coined the term rainbow salad. In doing so, he’s set a guideline for one of the best things you could do to improve your health and prevent disease.

One of the fastest and easiest ways to get the nutrients you need into your day is using the rainbow salad.

Check out the video below, where I outline rainbow salad and give you a few tips on preparing your healthy salad recipes.

Let’s take a few moments to expand on this rainbow theory. What are the main colors you need to include in your salad to get the full spectrum of the rainbow?

And what are the benefits that each color has to offer?

Let’s take a closer look.

Green

Green is the first color that comes to mind when most people think of a salad. The foundation of any salad you build will have some healthy greens at the bottom. Whether you opt for spinach, kale, broccoli, collard greens, or bok choy, greens will make up the bulk of this meal.

What’s so great about greens?

Organic Spring Mix Lettuce

  •      Low in calories

First, leafy greens are a very low-calorie food. With mere calories per cup, it would be impossible to gain weight off leafy green vegetables. You’ll fill up too quickly before a significant number of calories are consumed (this does not account for any dressing you drizzle on, however!).

Leafy greens are a perfect tool in any diet plan where weight management is your key goal.

  •      Good source of chlorophyll

Green vegetables also contain a good source of chlorophyll, which means they contain a certain compound called isothiocyanates. These are responsible for promoting the generation of enzymes in the liver that remove potentially cancerous substances from our bodies. Hence, your leafy greens are excellent for keeping cancer at bay.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage are well known for their cancer-fighting properties thanks to the indoles they contain.

  •      Great for detoxification

This brings us to another big benefit that leafy greens bring – detoxification. Leafy greens like kale and spinach are excellent for helping detoxify the body and helping you get rid of built-up toxins and waste that could impact your energy level and your disease risk factor.

  •      Excellent source of potassium

If you want more potassium in your diet plan, leafy greens will provide you with more than enough. Potassium is important for ensuring that you have strong muscular contractions when exercising and keeping your blood pressure levels regulated.

Most people today take in too much sodium and not enough potassium, leading to high blood pressure levels and an increased risk of poor heart health.

  •      A powerful source of folic acid

If you’re a woman trying to get pregnant or already pregnant, leafy greens provide a key nutrient your body needs: folic acid. Folic acid is vital for preventing neural tube defects throughout the pregnancy period.

  •      A strong dose of phytochemicals

Finally, leafy greens are also very rich in phytochemicals, which help combat free radical damage from oxidation. This, in turn, can further lower your risk factor for cancer development.

Best Choices

While any green vegetable is a good choice, the healthiest varieties are kale, spinach, and cabbage. Focus on these most often, and you can feel confident you are doing your health well.

Blue/Purple

Next up on the list of colors you’ll want to include in your rainbow salad are blue and purple. This dark hue also indicates a very strong nutritional profile and helps to liven up your salad with delicious-tasting options.

Blueberry antioxidant organic superfood in a bowl concept for he

Here is the benefits blue’s have to offer.

  •      Strong anthocyanin content

The most notable benefit to including blue foods in your rainbow salad is the strong anthocyanin content that they have to offer. The darker their color is, the higher their phytochemical concentration will be.

Anthocyanins are antioxidants that help to keep your heart in top shape and can also help with the regulation of blood pressure.

As cardiovascular disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death today, these blue foods hold particular appeal.

  •      Reduced blood clot formation

Another great benefit to this color is that these foods also tend to be excellent for helping reduce clot formation. If you are especially prone to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can potentially become life-threatening if severe enough, you’ll want to be sure that you are getting in enough of these blue and purple-hued foods.

  •      Brain boosting benefits

Finally, let’s not forget the brain-boosting benefits these foods offer. Dark blue or purple colored fruits and vegetables are great for enhancing memory, reducing your risk of depression, increasing cognitive speeds, and lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Those who consume dark blue or purple foods regularly tend to have sharper minds and retain their cognition well into their later years.

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Best Choices

Which blue and purple foods are best? The top-ranked choices include blueberries, grapes, eggplant (including the skin), blackberries, plums, and pomegranates.

For best results, include a variety in your salads over the week. The great thing about this color is that if you opt for darkly hued fruits, you’ll also add a nice level of natural sweetness to the salad.

Yellow/Light Green

In addition to the darker-colored foods, you’ll also want to be sure that you brighten up your rainbow salad by taking in plenty of lighter colors – yellow and light green being prime examples.

While there aren’t a lot of foods that are yellow in nature, a couple offer key benefits to know about.

Avocado On White Background

Here’s what this color has to offer.

  •      Powerful sources of lutein

The first big benefit you’ll get from yellow/green colored foods is that they’re a powerful source of lutein. Lutein is a key nutrient for eye health and preventing age-related macular degeneration.

Many people often overlook the importance of taking in this mineral. However, it can have a significant influence on eyesight later on in life.

  •      Improved skin/hair health

Second, another big benefit to this color is the foods will help enhance hair and skin health. They’ll help promote strong, healthy hair that’s less prone to breakage and gives off a shinier appearance while keeping your skin moist and supplied and less likely to experience acne or eczema.

Best Choices

The best choices to capture this category in your rainbow salad are avocados, kiwifruits, and pistachios. Pistachios are a nut often left out as most people tend to focus on almonds or walnuts in their salads. However, it’s one nut that’s very dense in nutrients and offers a slightly lower calorie content than some other nuts.

Red

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Now we come to another very important of the rainbow you’ll want to ensure you’re getting in your diet plan – red. Not only will adding bright red-colored foods to your salad make it look appetizing, but it will also offer a powerful health punch.

  •      Rich source of lycopene

The most commonly associated benefit with red-colored foods is the high level of lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body and can reduce your risk of certain cancers, including prostate and breast cancer.

For this reason, lycopene is often touted to be essential for men, as it offers a strong safeguard against prostate cancer. While it won’t make you completely immune, it can help to lower your chances significantly.

Lycopene is also an important nutrient for lowering your risk of heart heath issues.

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  •      A strong source of vitamin C

In addition to providing lycopene, the red category of foods is also a terrific source of vitamin C. Vitamin C will give you powerful immune system protection, helping strengthen your immune system and fend off health issues.

The stronger your immune system is, the better you can fight against invading bacteria or viruses.

Vitamin C may also be effective for lowering the severity and duration of the common cold or flu.

  •      A powerful dose of flavonoids

Finally, red-hued foods are also a strong source of flavonoids, which work in the body to help lower your level of inflammation. As chronic inflammation is one of the most common issues facing the population today, taking in more vitamin C can help to counteract this.

Best Choices

Excellent sources of red to add to your salad include tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, pink grapefruit, and guava.

One thing to remember with tomatoes is that the more you cook the tomato, the stronger their health benefits tend to get. While this is usually not the case for many fruits and vegetables (as cooking can cause the nutrients to leech out of the foods), it’s important to note tomatoes in particular. When tomatoes are cooked, the lycopene in the tomatoes is more easily absorbed by the body. You likely won’t be adding cooked tomatoes to your salad any time soon, but when preparing other dishes, this is an important point to note.

Orange

Moving along, the next color we come to is orange. When most people think of the color orange, they automatically go toward orange fruits. However, there are many other great sources of orange-colored foods that you should consider adding to your diet plan.

Glass Of Orange Juice And A Group Of Oranges On Dark Board

Here are the benefits that orange brings.

  •      Rich source of beta-carotene

The first nutrient that’s found in orange-hued foods is beta-carotene. This can be converted in the body to vitamin A, which is a key vitamin that is necessary for the promotion of healthy eyesight. Sufficient beta-carotene or vitamin A in your diet is necessary to fend off macular degeneration.

It’s also a necessary nutrient that can help assist with night vision.

Vitamin A will also play a role in maintaining healthy-looking skin, so that’s yet another reason to consider adding it to your day.

Finally, vitamin A is also a key nutrient involved in maintaining strong bones over the long term, as it works in conjunction with calcium as vitamin D to promote bone growth and strength.

  •      A powerful dose of vitamin C

Many orange-colored foods are also rich in vitamin C, which, as noted above, is especially important for maintaining optimal immune function.

Vitamin C is also a great nutrient for those who are engaging in regular workout sessions to take in regularly as it will help improve recovery rates and allow you to bounce back faster between the workout sessions you complete.

Orange-colored foods rich in beta-carotene may also be beneficial for preventing health issues such as cancer, especially of the lung, esophagus, and stomach.

Best Choices

While oranges are great for getting your orange color into your salads, don’t overlook other options such as carrots, mangoes, cantaloupe, and apricots. All work incredibly well added to any rainbow salad.

So there, you have a closer look at the main colors of the rainbow that you’ll want to add to every rainbow salad you serve.

A good mixture of these foods can provide you with carbohydrates and in some cases, healthy fats (when adding nuts) to the salad. You’ll also want to consider incorporating a quality protein source into the salad if serving it as a main course dish. This will help bring balance to the meal and ensure you achieve maximum satiety benefits.

Excellent protein sources in your salad include grilled chicken breast, turkey breast, shrimp, sliced hard-boiled eggs, or even thinly sliced and grilled beef if desired.

A Word On Salad Dressings

Finally, one thing that you do need to keep in mind is that while it’s great to get all of these healthy ingredients added to your rainbow salad if you go drizzling a commercial salad dressing onto that salad, you are essentially taking away from all the promising health benefits it would otherwise offer.

Most commercial salad dressings are filled with chemicals and preservatives and will not help your overall health.

Instead, consider preparing your own salad dressings using natural ingredients that will further enhance your health and the absorption of the nutrients found in the colors you’re eating.

The fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K) require dietary fat to be absorbed optimally by adding some healthy fat to your salad. You’ll ensure that you are reaping full benefits.

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Some excellent ingredients that can be used to make your salad dressings include apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar combined with a healthy oil such as olive or nut oil. To this, you can also add orange juice, lemon, or lime juice, as well as even blend up some fresh berries to give the salad dressing a sweeter taste.

Assortment of salad dressings

You can also add any of your favorite fresh herbs, which will offer added health benefits while bringing more flavor to the salad.

There are so many fast and easy homemade dressings you can whip up that there’s no reason to use a commercial variety.

To help get you started on the concept of a rainbow salad, let me share with you a few of the best salad recipes below.

You’ll find a couple of good salad recipes along with a couple of recipes for salad dressings to be used on these salads.

Tropical Chicken Salad

2, 3oz. chicken breasts, grilled and cut into bite-sized pieces

¼ cup fresh pineapple cubes

¼ cup strawberries

½ cup mango cubes

½ cup sliced red seedless grapes

1/8 cup pistachios

1 ½ tbsp. lemon juice

½ tbsp. olive oil

4 cups spinach leaves

Combine the olive oil and lemon juice. Set aside.

Cook rice according to package directions. Once finished, toss together with chicken breasts, fruit, and pistachios. Drizzle with dressing before serving.

Chicken-Mandarin Spinach Salad

2, 3 oz. grilled chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups spinach leaves

½ cup mandarin orange slices

¼ cup blueberries

½ cup finely chopped broccoli

1 tbsp. dried cranberries

1 tbsp. slivered almonds

¼ avocado, sliced

2 tbsp. vinegar

Toss ingredients together and then drizzle with one of the dressing recipes noted below.

Italian Salad Dressing

1 cup olive oil

¼ cup white wine vinegar

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 large clove garlic, pressed

2 tbsp. chopped shallots

2 tbsp. chopped red bell pepper

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. dried oregano

pepper to taste

1 tsp. pureed garlic

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid and then shake until well blended.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

¾ cup olive oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup raspberries

Mash or puree the raspberries. Combine the olive oil and vinegar in a jar with a lid, and then add salt and pepper to taste. Shake vigorously until well combined.

If you are not yet harnessing the power of salads, it’s time that you started. Creating your rainbow salad is an excellent way to take your health to the next level while maintaining your energy and body weight.

What are your favorite salad ingredients? Do you have a recipe or tip that you’d like to share? Comment below.

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