“This month, make it a priority to increase your consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits and treat your body to the vitamins and minerals it craves,” says The Association for Dressings and Sauces (ADS). The Atlanta-based trade association of salad dressing and sauce manufacturers and suppliers joins the Produce for Better Health Foundation in celebrating September as “Fruits and Veggies – More Matters” Month.
The American Heart Association recommends five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day to maintain optimal health and reduce the risk of many forms of cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. One deliciously simple way to get your daily five servings is with salads with salad dressings. Because of their versatility, salads and today’s wide variety of dressings are a favorite way to better your body.
We all know fruits and vegetables are good for your heart, but what many don’t know is that many favorite salad ingredients are an excellent source of fiber and the essential antioxidant beta carotene, both of which have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer. “Dark leafy greens are an excellent source of beta carotene, which may help protect from cancer and may slow aging, as well as another antioxidant, vitamin C,” says the American Dietetic Association.
In addition to fiber and beta carotene, salads with dressing contain important phytochemicals that are necessary for optimal nutrition. “A phytochemical is a natural bioactive compound found in fruits and vegetables that works together with vitamins, minerals, and fiber to benefit your health in many ways,” states 5aday.gov. “Only fruits and vegetables can supply phytochemicals and nutrients in the healthy combinations nature intended. When you eat fruits and vegetables, nutrients are easily absorbed to provide maximum health benefits.”
Here’s an easy way to add vegetables and fruits to your diet - try having just one salad with dressing a day. Salads offer tremendous health benefits and are a diet staple for anyone committed to eating healthy and maintaining a nutritional balance. As a matter of fact, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and Louisiana State University published a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association that found that those who eat salads, raw vegetables and salad dressing have considerably higher levels of vitamins C, E, B6 and folic acid, all key nutrients in promoting a healthy immune system.
To top it off, researchers from Iowa State University and Ohio State University published a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that showed eating salad vegetables with some added fat, such as full-fat salad dressings, promotes the absorption of lycopene, alpha- and beta-carotenes, all of which aid in the fight against cancer and heart disease. And most salad dressings are and have always been naturally free of trans fats. So make sure to eat a salad a day and top with your favorite dressing!
For more information about Fruits and Veggies – More Matters Month, visit Produce for Better Health Foundation at http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.com. For additional information about the research behind the health aspects of eating fresh vegetables and salad dressings, visit www.saladaday.org. You can also visit The Association for Dressings & Sauces on the web at www.dressings-sauces.org to incorporate the nutritional benefits of salads and salad dressings, and related recipes into your daily menu.