The Best Healthy Salad Recipes – Bernard Jensen & The Rainbow Salad
One very smart man by the name of Bernard Jensen has coined the term rainbow salad. In doing so, he’s set a guideline for what could be one of the best things that you could do as far as improving your health and preventing disease goes. Most people by now know that what you eat…
One very smart man by the name of Bernard Jensen has coined the term rainbow salad. In doing so, he’s set a guideline for what could be one of the best things that you could do as far as improving your health and preventing disease goes.
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 are going to feel the effects of this. Eat the right foods however and you’ll be experiencing endless energy, improved moods, and best of all, you’ll be doing all you can to combat disease.
One of the fastest and easiest ways to get the nutrients you need into your day is through the use of the rainbow salad.
Check out the video below where I outline what the rainbow salad is and give you a few tips on how to prepare your own healthy salad recipes.
Let’s take a few moments to expand on this rainbow theory. What are the main colors that you need to be including 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.
The first color that comes to mind when most people think of a salad is green. 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 are going to make up the bulk of this meal.
What’s so great about greens?
- 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 just 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 a key goal of yours.
- Good source of chlorophyll
Green vegetables also contain a good source of chlorophyll, which is means they contain a certain compound called isothiocynates. These are responsible for promoting the generation of enzymes in the liver that remove potentially cancerous substances from our body, so 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
Which brings us to another big benefit that leafy greens bring – detoxification. Leafy greens like kale and spinach are excellent for helping with the detoxification of the body, helping you rid built up toxins and waste that could impact your energy level and your disease risk factor.
- Excellent source of potassium
If you’re looking to get more potassium in your diet plan, leafy greens will provide you with more than enough. Potassium is not only important for ensuring that you have strong muscular contractions when exercising, but also for keeping your blood pressure levels regulated.
Most people today are taking in too much sodium and not enough potassium, which is leading to high blood pressure levels and an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.
- Powerful source of folic acid
If you’re a woman who is either trying to get pregnant or who is 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.
- Strong dose of phytochemicals
Finally, leafy greens are also very rich in phytochemicals, which help to combat free radical damage that can come from oxidation. This in turn can further lower your risk-factor for cancer development.
While any green vegetable is a good choice, the healthiest varieties tend to be kale, spinach, and cabbage. Focus on these most often and you can feel confident you are doing your health well.
Next up on the list of colors that you’ll want to include in your rainbow salad are blue and purple. This dark hue indicates a very strong nutritional profile as well and helps to liven up your salad with delicious tasting options.
Here are 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 in today’s world, 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 have to 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 on a regular basis tend to have sharper minds and retain their cognition well into their later years.
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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 course of the week. The great thing about this color is if you opt for the fruits that are darkly hued, you’ll add a nice level of natural sweetness to the salad as well.
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 as well – yellow and light green being a prime example.
While there aren’t a lot of foods that are yellow in nature, there are a couple that offer key benefits to know about.
Here’s what this color has to offer.
- Powerful sources of lutein
The first big benefit that you’ll get from yellow/green colored foods is that they’re a powerful source of lutein. Lutein is a key nutrient required for eye health and for preventing age-related macular degeneration.
Many people often overlook the importance of taking in this mineral, however it’s one that 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 also keeping your skin moist, supply, and less likely to experience acne or eczema.
The best choices to capture this category in your rainbow salad are avocados, kiwifruits, as well as pistachios. Pistachios are a nut that’s 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 compared to some other nuts out there.
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 offer a powerful health punch as well.
- 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 types of cancers including prostate and breast cancer.
Lycopene is often touted to be very essential for men for this reason as it offers a strong safeguard against prostate cancer. While it won’t make you completely immune, it can help to significantly lower your chances.
Lycopene is also an important nutrient for lowering your risk of heart attacks as well.
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- Strong source of vitamin C
In addition to providing lycopene, the red category of foods is also a terrific source of vitamin C as well. Vitamin C is going to give you powerful immune system protection, helping strengthen your immune system and ability to fend off illness and disease.
The stronger your immune system is, the better ‘fight’ you’ll be able to put up against invading bacteria or viruses.
Vitamin C may also be effective for lowering the severity and duration of the common cold or flu as well.
- Powerful dose of flavonoids
Finally, red hued foods are also a very 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.
Excellent sources of red to add to your salad include tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, pink grapefruit, as well as guava.
One thing to keep in mind 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 an important point to note about tomatoes in particular. When tomatoes are cooked, the lycopene in the tomatoes are more easily absorbed by the body. You likely won’t be added cooked tomatoes to your salad any time soon, but when preparing other dishes, this is an important point to note.
Moving along, the next color we come to is orange. When most people think of the color orange, their thoughts will usually automatically go towards orange fruits. However, there are many other great sources of orange colored foods that you should consider adding to your diet plan.
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. Having sufficient beta-carotene or vitamin A in your diet is necessary if you hope to fend off macular degeneration.
It’s also a necessary nutrient that can help assist with night vision as well.
Vitamin A is also going to play a role in maintaining healthy looking skin as well, so that’s yet another reason to be considering 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.
- Powerful dose of vitamin C
Many orange colored foods are also rich in vitamin C content, 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 on a regular basis as it’s going to help improve recovery rates and allow you to bounce back faster between the workout sessions that you complete.
- Disease prevention benefits
Orange colored foods that are rich in beta-carotene may also be beneficial for preventing diseases such as cancer, especially of the lung, esophagus, as well as the stomach.
While oranges are a great choice for getting your orange color into your salads, don’t overlook other options such as carrots, mangoes, cantaloupe, as well as 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 be adding to every rainbow salad you serve.
A good mixture of these foods can provide you with the 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 as well. This will help bring balance to the meal and ensure you achieve maximum satiety benefits.
Excellent choices for 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 be of any help to your overall health.
Instead, consider preparing your own salad dressings using natural ingredients that will further enhance not only your health, but the absorption of the nutrients found in the colors you’re eating.
The fat soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E, and K) require dietary fat to be absorbed optimally, so by adding in 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 own 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.
You can also add in any of your favorite fresh herbs, which will offer added health benefits while bringing more flavor to the salad as well.
There are so many fast and easy home-made 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 good salad recipes along with a couple 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 together in a jar with a lid and then shake until well blended.
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 own rainbow salad is an excellent way to take your health to the next level while ensuring that you maintain 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.