Some sal­ads are health­ier than oth­ers

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Flavours -

NOT ALL sal­ads are cre­ated equal. When you’re choos­ing your bowl of greens this sum­mer, you should know that three types con­tain more calo­ries, sodium and fat than you may want, one di­eti­cian says. So, if you want to eat the health­i­est sal­ads pos­si­ble, steer clear of taco sal­ads, chef sal­ads and Cae­sar sal­ads. Taco sal­ads, es­pe­cially those that come in shells, typ­i­cally have 760 calo­ries, 39 grams of fat, 10 grams of sat­u­rated fat and one gram of trans fat, ac­cord­ing to Laura Acosta, a reg­is­tered di­eti­tian at the Univer­sity of Florida’s In­sti­tute of Food and Agri­cul­tural Sciences.

“One gram doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you con­sider that or­gan­i­sa­tions like the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion rec­om­mend that even two grams of trans fat per day is too much, it helps to put it into per­spec­tive,” said Acosta. Not to be out­done, chef sal­ads are loaded with meats and cheeses. The meats are of­ten pro­cessed and con­tain ni­trite preser­va­tives that may in­crease risk for can­cer when con­sumed con­sis­tently. While cheese can be a good source of cal­cium and pro­tein, it is also high in calo­ries, sat­u­rated fat and sodium.

Last but not least, Cae­sar sal­ads can be a prob­lem be­cause most va­ri­eties of Cae­sar dress­ing are heavy, creamy and high in calo­ries. “Since Cae­sar sal­ads are usu­ally pre-dressed, you don’t have a lot of con­trol over the amount of dress­ing, and restau­rants are usu­ally pretty heavy-handed,” Acosta said in a univer­sity news re­lease. When de­cid­ing on a salad, read the de­scrip­tion or list of in­gre­di­ents, Acosta sug­gested.

“As a very gen­eral rule of thumb, house sal­ads and gar­den sal­ads tend to be fairly ba­sic -- let­tuce, toma­toes, cu­cum­bers, onions -- and good bets if you’re watch­ing your weight or calo­rie in­take,” Acosta said.

“If cut­ting calo­ries is a goal, be aware that the main source of calo­ries in many ‘house’ or ‘gar­den’-type sal­ads is go­ing to be the dress­ing, so aim for about two ta­ble­spoons of dress­ing,” she rec­om­mended. Most dress­ings have around 120 to 180 calo­ries per two ta­ble­spoons, she said, so you don’t want to use more than that. It’s also a good idea to dip your fork in the dress­ing be­fore each bite, rather than pour­ing dress­ing over the salad.

That will sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the amount of dress­ing you con­sume, she ex­plained. If cut­ting calo­ries isn’t a goal, “A sim­ple olive oil and vine­gar dress­ing, for in­stance, will have roughly the same num­ber of calo­ries as other dress­ings, but will pro­vide about 10 grams of mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat -- one of the ‘good’ fats that helps to pro­mote car­dio­vas­cu­lar health -- per ta­ble­spoon of olive oil,” Acosta said. “So, the amount of salad dress­ing may not be as im­por­tant as the type in many cases.”

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