When I was a little kid, my grandfather used to say if you were to crack my head open you’d see a bunch of little wrestlers running around. That’s because I had this great affinity for professional wrestling and would spend hours watching it at my grandfather’s house because he had cable and I didn’t.
Fast forward to today and I’m still a wrestling fan, but if you were to crack my head open and look inside, chances are you’d see a large bowl of salad. That’s because my affinity for this healthy meal has slightly edged out wrestling.
That may sound a bit lame but food holds a very special place in my mind and body. I’m especially fond of salad because it can be used as a one-stop-shop to add a multitude of healthy foods to your diet.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
With this in mind, my salads are second to none when it comes to quality, flavor and nutrient value. Just ask anyone who’s been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of one.
Now I’m going to share some uber healthy toppings with you so you can make your salads shine like a light saber from the hand of Luke Skywalker himself.
Feel free to throw them in and bedazzle your friends and family at your next picnic or holiday party. These are in no particular order.
1. Dried Edamame.
I may not go as far as calling edamame a superfood, but l would definitely call it a “super” food. Why? It’s about as close to a perfectly balanced food as you can get when it comes to its ratio of protein, carbs and fat. Always remember that balance is key when you eat meals.
Dried edamame is especially good for salads because it adds a fun little crunch into lunch. Just make sure to stick with the GMO-free type. You can also find them in various flavors, such as wasabi, honey roasted and no-salt.
2. Goji Berries.
I would definitely called goji berries superfoods! These little red berries sort of resemble cranberries but are way more nutrient dense. Unlike most fruits, they are complete proteins because they have all the essential amino acids represented.
They are also high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and iron.
Another fun fact about goji berries is they are dry when you buy them. Once you throw a handful into your salad bowl and let them set for a minute, they absorb moisture and get plump. I feel this enhances the flavor but you’ll have to see for yourself.
You’ve probably heard oysters are good for your sex life right? Well, it’s not necessarily the oysters themselves. It’s more because of the nutrients they’re packing.
Zinc is known for its ability to raise testosterone and sperm levels in males. Guess what oysters are high in? If you guessed zinc, then you guessed correct!
But you can also benefit if you are female because oysters are also high in vitamin B 12, selenium, iron and another libido-boosting substance known as dopamine.
Regardless if your sex drive needs a boost or not, these slippery little mollusks will make good additions to your salad. And they taste really good too!
Are you looking for a Mexican flare? Add cilantro to your salad. From a nutrient perspective, you may not know this but cilantro is a powerful antioxidant. It also bodes well in preventing inflammation and is high in fiber, magnesium, iron and quercetin, which keeps your heart working properly.
If this not enough of a reason to add cilantro to your salad, also consider that it helps with blood sugar regulation. If you keep your blood sugar levels stable, you can help prevent weight gain.
You may think they are gross, but I think they are simply fantastic! Did you know that prunes are dried plums? I’m sure you don’t cringe when you think of plums, so don’t cringe when you think of prunes.
Instead, chop them up into small pieces and throw them into your salad. Just make sure to get dried, organic prunes with no sulfur dioxide!
Here’s why I recommend them. Unbeknownst to a lot of folk, they are uber high in antioxidants. Additionally, they contain high amounts of fiber, vitamin A, potassium and iron.
Due to the fiber content, you can also expect to get your pipes in working order if they happen to be blocked up if you know what I’m saying.
I’m not sure why more people don’t use pistachios in their salads. These green little creatures taste amazing and are one of the highest protein-containing nuts in the world. They also have a generous amount of fiber, iron, vitamin A and calcium.
I’m pretty sure you’ve had quinoa salad before, but quinoa on its own makes a terrific topping on regular salad. I suggest using it a day after you whip it up as it’s a bit more plump and flavorful.
Aside from the fact that quinoa is rich in iron and calcium, it’s also gluten free and a complete protein. This bodes well if you are vegan and need an alternative to animal protein.
9. Chia Seeds.
I can’t say enough about chia seeds. I take every opportunity I can to supplement them into my diet on a daily basis. Adding a tablespoon to a salad is like adding a few extra minutes to your life and it only takes a few seconds.
Chia seeds contain powerful antioxidants and are high in fiber, protein, iron and calcium. In similar fashion to goji berries, let them sit for a minute after you add them so them can absorb some juices from the lettuces and dressing you add.
They’ll plump up and get delicious right before your eyes.
10. Hemp Seeds.
I think I’ll end this tale with hemp seeds. These chewy little buggers boast a nutrient profile similar to chia seeds because they are high in fiber, protein and iron, but they are also high in essential fatty acids, or EFAs for short.
Essential fatty acids are the good fats that lubricate your joints, improve brain function, keep your skin healthy and help with hormone production. You can also find hemp oil and slather that across the top of your salad for a finishing touch.
Hopefully you will find this guide helpful when building your next salad. I don’t always use all of these ingredients, but I definitely always use at least some. If you have the time, I say throw them all in and make a super salad. One way or the other, your body is going to love you for it.