Go figure, I’ve been craving salads. I’d consumed my fair share of sweets over the holidays so was thrilled to feel like I really needed to fuel up with healthy foods. Normally, I associate cravings with sweet or salty foods but as my fork dove into a bowl of fresh crunchy salad, my body was saying, “YES!”
If you listen to your body and feed it what it wants, you will feel better. Even when I was pregnant, I craved foods high in iron and Vitamin C like steak, spinach and oranges. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines recommend adults eat from five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day depending on age, gender, physical activity, and overall health.
Right now, salads are super appealing to me. Unlike the iceberg lettuce salads of my youth, salads today have all sorts of fabulous components from super healthy greens like arugula and baby kale to nuts and seeds, plus beautiful fruits like pomegranates and mandarin oranges. Better yet, and easier too, is to add protein like salmon, chicken, eggs, beans or steak for a complete meal. Check out our blog on salads for all sorts of fun salad-fixin’s ideas.
Signs your body is telling you it needs more fresh veggies.
- Bruising: You may be low in Vitamin C so eat red peppers, kale, red chili peppers, dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and tomatoes.
- Colds and coughs won’t go away: Again, Vitamin C is key to helping your immune system fight off viruses.
- Foggy Brain: Feel like you are forgetting things too easily? Occasional forgetfulness is normal, but if you are concerned about brain health, ensure that you are consuming foods rich in lutein. Research shows that this nutrient can enhance learning and memory. Lutein can be found in a variety of vegetables such as leafy greens, carrots, broccoli, corn, and tomatoes.
- Gut not right: Feed your gut healthy foods and it will be nice back. Salad veggies offer a lot of fiber, which is good for digestion, plus the healthy oils in avocado, nuts and salad dressings help everything work properly. Fiber helps to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol and can help control blood sugar. Bonus, lots of healthy fiber fills you up, aiding in weight control.
- Sallow skin: To look as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside, make sure you eat plenty of fresh veggies. The high water content and nutrients found in vegetables are good for all of your body, including your skin.
- Tiredness: Deficiency in Vitamin B can cause fatigue and anemia. Fill up with dark green veggies and starchy vegetables such as black-eyed peas, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, asparagus, and lentils to bring the zing back into your life.